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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG Commends Supporters of Duckworth Amendment to Protect Our Troops From High-Cost Loans

Last night, on a 32-30 bipartisan vote, the House Armed Services Committee supported the Tammy Duckworth (IL) amendment to strike language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have delayed Pentagon-proposed improvements to the Military Lending Act of 2007. It's a critical victory for servicemembers, veterans and their families, although the fight to protect our troops from high-cost loans will continue.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Food

Like dominoes | Emily Scarr

The dominoes are falling. Last Monday, Pilgrim’s Pride joined Tyson, the poultry industry leader, and (Maryland's own) Perdue, to commit to reducing the use of antibiotcis to raise their chickens. Pilgrim's Pride committeed to raise 25 percent of its birds without antibiotics by the end of 2018. Pilgrim’s is the second-largest U.S. chicken producer. Their move marks what The Wall St Journal called “one of the most aggressive timetables for reducing antibiotics use laid out by a U.S. poultry company.”

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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News Release | Public Citizen, Maryland PIRG | Safe Energy

Marylanders Speak Out: State Shouldn’t Settle for Exelon’s Repackaged Bid to Take Over Pepco

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a sign of growing opposition to Exelon’s proposed takeover of Pepco, Marylanders from across the state registered their opposition (PDF) to a proposed settlement on the final day for public comment on it.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Key MoCo Committee Funds Groundbreaking Fair Elections Program

(Rockville) - The Montgomery County Council held public hearings this week on the proposed FY16 budget. Concerned citizens testified at each hearing, calling on the County Council to put $2 million into the budget to fund fair elections (Public Election Fund).

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News Release | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 105,027 Student Loan Borrowers in Maryland Set to Double on July 1

Baltimore, MD– Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 105,027 student loan borrowers in Maryland will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by Maryland PIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Maryland students’ loans by $95,469,543 million. That translates into a $909 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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News Release | Public Health, Health Care

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

Baltimore, May 23 – The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new report released today by Maryland PIRG. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

 

As the number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the Maryland PIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future.”

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Maryland Taxpayer $1,065 a Year, Maryland Small Business $3,245

April 15, Baltimore – On Tax Day, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. Maryland PIRG  released its  annual study showing the average Maryland  taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,065 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Much-Needed Legislation Would Protect Americans from Unsafe Chemicals

Led by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 29 senators today introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013. Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin are original cosponsors of the legislation to provide long overdue fixes to the nation’s broken chemical policies and limit the use of unsafe chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses.

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Blog Post | Budget, Food, Tax

MAD ABOUT THE FARM BILL | Jenny Levin

Earlier this month, the House Agricultural Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill with a 35-11 vote.  It was greatly anticipated, as the country needs a fair and common sense bill that cut wasteful spending. In years past, the Farm Bill has given out tens of billions in taxpayer dollars to large, mature agribusinesses, and subsidized commodity crops that are often processed into the junk food ingredients fueling the obesity epidemic.  Between 1995 and 2010 we gave out $260 billion in agricultural subsidies to the country’s largest farming operations. With the expiration of the present Farm Bill coming in September, Congress has an opportunity to end this wasteful corporate welfare.

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Blog Post | Budget, Food, Tax

Ending Subsidies for Big Ag in the Farm Bill | Michael Russo

Current food policy has disproportionately subsidized the largest agribusinesses, who are already profitable and don’t need taxpayer handouts. And subsidized crops have often been used to produce unhealthy food. The current scheme of agriculture subsidies, including the notorious Direct Payments program, is heavily skewed towards largest agribusinesses, with only 4% of U.S. farmers pocketing 74% of subsidy payments. Directing taxpayer dollars to these mature, profitable businesses enriches them and allows them to prosper at the expense of smaller, unsubsidized farmers, without any benefit to the taxpayers who are footing the bill. 

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Blog Post | Food, Tax

Maryland PIRG Advocate Jenny Levin on the Senate vote today to approve the 2012 Farm Bill: | Jenny Levin

Maryland PIRG is disappointed in the Senate’s approval of the 2012 Farm Bill, which will send tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to Big Ag. The Senate missed a golden opportunity to tackle the problem of wasteful agricultural subsidies, which have cost taxpayers $260 billion since 1995.  Instead, this bill recommits to taxpayer support for the largest agribusinesses. 

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Blog Post | Democracy

U.S. PIRG Democracy Advocate on summary reversal in American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock

Today the Supreme Court passed on the opportunity to revisit its disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision—which is wreaking havoc on democracy—and it has done so in a way that avoids giving the American public a much deserved explanation.

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Blog Post | Food, Tax

Senate Farm Bill Moves to Floor | Jenny Levin

The Senate is moving to vote on the farm bill, S.3240, that would continue the current system of agricultural subsidies to large, profitable, agribusiness. Taxpayers’ hard earned dollars will be handed out needlessly in the billions. And subsidies will continue for corn and soy, which is then processed into junk food ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup, accelerating the obesity epidemic in America. 

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Priority Action

We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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