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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the CFPB took a major step toward establishing a regulation restricting the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, which give companies what the CFPB's director said was a "free pass from being held accountable by their customers." Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, powerful bank interests escalated their campaign to defund and defang the bureau, because it works for consumers, not them.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Big Win: Montgomery County votes to restrict the cosmetic use of toxic lawn pesticides, protecting public health and our environment. | Emily Scarr

The Montgomery County Council just voted to restrict the cosmetic use of toxic lawn pesticides, protecting public health and our environment.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes with Estimated $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice of a proposed $20.8 billion out-of-court settlement with BP to resolve charges related to the Gulf Oil spill allows the corporation to write off $15.3 billion of the total payment as an ordinary cost of doing business tax deduction. This proposed settlement would allow BP to claim an estimated $5.35 billion as a tax windfall, significantly decreasing the public value of the agreement, and nearly offsetting the cost of the non-deductible penalty.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Why is Experian/T-Mobile Giving 15 Million Experian Breach Victims Credit Monitoring, Since Only the Credit Freeze Stops Identity Theft | Emily Scarr

How can all of the 200 million consumers with Experian credit reports trust that Experian is really protecting them?

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Consumer Protection

Maryland PIRG Demands Real Penalties for Volkswagen and Full Rebates for Customers

“VW once was a company that brought us iconic cars like the Beetle and the flower-powered microbus, but now VW is just a big cheater,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emly Scarr. “VW CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned today while claiming he committed “no wrongdoing” but VW stills needs to pay full penalties under law and grant full rebates to the customers it deceived into buying pollution-spewing cars that led to massive, undeserved profits.”

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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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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

“A Huge Step Forward for Voter Participation”

The House of Delegates today gave final approval to SB 279, which would expand early voting and allow same day voter registration at early voting centers.  If the Senate concurs with the House amendments the bill will move to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Consumer Protection

Flame Retardant Ban Passes Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland Senate yesterday passed HB 99, which bans child care products for children under 3 containing the flame-retardant chemical TCEP. The chemical is one of several flame-retardants highly criticized by health advocates for their toxic effects in laboratory studies and persistence in the household environment. The bill is sponsored by Delegate James Hubbard from Prince Georges County. House bill 99 has now passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly and is on its way to Governor O’Malley’s desk.

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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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Blog Post | Higher Ed

Statement of Rich Williams, U.S. PIRG Higher Education Advocate, on the Congressional passage of legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling:

"Congress listened to students and their families and delivered a bill that stops student loan interest rates from doubling," stated U.S. PIRG Higher Education Advocate Rich Williams. "Students already face unprecedented student loan debt and adding an additional $1,000 more would not only crunch individual borrowers, but would have further weighed down the recovering economy. We applaud Congress for coming together to pass this much-needed legislation."

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Blog Post | Democracy

Why Target is Still a Target

Two years ago, the public spoke out against the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in politics when consumers boycotted Target Corporation for controversial political spending in Minnesota’s state elections. 

When Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel used general treasury funds, money that rightfully belongs to the corporation’s shareholders, to support a group backing a candidate known for his outspoken anti-LGBT positions, it was more than a blemish on the reputation of a corporation that brands itself as progressive. That irresponsible contribution was a violation of both shareholder and public trust and, not surprisingly, it resulted in scandal and boycotts that threatened the assets of shareholders who never authorized the use of their money for political spending.

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