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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

From Deceit to Transformation

Volkswagen (VW) perpetuated a fraud on the American people, deceiving consumers into believing that they were getting the best possible combination of performance and sustainability. But VW’s promises were nothing more than lies that significantly harmed our collective health and the health of our environment. As a result of the settlements that followed this fraud, an Environmental Mitigation Trust (EMT) was set up with $2.9 billion dollars to be distributed to states to reduce transportation emissions, with $75 million coming to Massachusetts. 

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Telco, Cable Guys Assault State Broadband Privacy Efforts, Sacramento Key Battleground | Ed Mierzwinski

After the new FCC chair and Congress rolled back pending Obama-era broadband privacy rules applying to collection and use of your personal information by Internet Service Providers (generally large telephone and cable companies) the states (and some cities) moved to replace protections. AT&T, Verizon and Comcast swiftly sent lobbyists out around the nation to quash the efforts. This week, Sacramento is under siege by a phalanx of ISP lobbyists as a key California proposal, AB375 (Chau) is considered. Key Senate committee votes occur Tuesday.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

MASSPIRG Statement on Funding for Regional Transit Authorities in Massachusetts FY18 Budget

 

On July 7, the House and Senate sent a $40.2 billion budget to Governor Baker’s desk. The legislation avoids tax increases and mostly holds spending flat at state agencies for fiscal 2018. Although the regional transit authorities (RTAs), as well as advocates, had recommended funding the RTAs at $86 million, in the budget on the Governor’s desk, RTAs, which provide public transit services throughout the Commonwealth, receive only $80.4 million.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Verizon Security Breach: Steps to Take to Protect Yourself | Jeanne Foy

A security lapse at Verizon has exposed data from millions of Verizon customers - leaking names, addresses and personal identification numbers (PINs). Steps to protect your identity and account information.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Statement On CFPB's Rule Restoring Rights To Take Wrongdoers To Court

Financial wrongdoers have long used mandatory arbitration clauses buried in small-print, take-it-or-leave-it contracts to prevent consumers from banding together to have their day in court. Our statement on the CFPB's important new rule restoring consumer rights to join class actions follows.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

MASSPIRG Commends AG Maura Healey For Improved Credit Scores For 12 Million Consumers

As of July 1, the nation’s Big 3 credit bureaus remove often-inaccurate public record judgements and tax liens from credit reports. The actions are estimated to result in credit score increases of 20-40 points for 12 million consumers.

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News Release | Health Care

Our Statement on Senate Health Care Bill

Statement by Jesse Ellis O’Brien, MASSPIRG Health Care Advocate, on public release of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Statement Commending New Military Consumer Enforcement Act

Read our statement commending the introduction of the Military Consumer Enforcement Act by Sens. Jack Reed (RI), Sherrod Brown (OH) and others. These senators have the right idea-- strengthen the CFPB’s ability to protect servicemembers, veterans and their families. Why do others want to weaken the CFPB?

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Democracy

Automatic Voter Registration hearing

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Election Laws held a public hearing today to consider Automatic Voter Registration, sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Peter Kocut. MASSPIRG, along with other members of the Election Modernization Coalition---including League of Women Voters/Massachusetts, Common Cause/Massachusetts, MassVOTE, Mass Voter Table, Progressive MA and others, packed the hearing room to urge passage of the bill. 

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Result | Higher Ed

Protecting students from unfair bank fees

We helped win protections for students from unfair fees associated with campus bank accounts. The new rules, released by the U.S. Department of Education, ban some of the worst and most predatory fees that students encounter from banks.

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Reining in Wall Street

On July 21, 2010, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Senator Scott Brown voted in favor of reform after MASSPIRG presented him with a new ride to replace his iconic, old pick up truck.  A BMW is more befitting of a man with close ties to Wall Street. Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown voted for Financial Reform.

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Expanding Public Transportation

Fewer cars will clog Boston’s highways thanks to an upcoming five-mile extension of the Green Line. Our research and advocacy helped build support for the project. We also helped convince state leaders to begin study on four additional major rail expansions.

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Result | Health Care

Ending Big Pharma’s Giveaways To Doctors

Drugmakers can no longer shower doctors with free gifts, meals and trips to boost the sales of prescription drugs. That’s because we persuaded Beacon Hill leaders to crack down on Pharma’s “direct-to-doctor” marketing practices, which contribute to the spiraling cost of prescriptions.

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Keeping Dangerous Toys Off Store Shelves

Toxic chemicals, including lead and hormone-disrupting phthalates, are now banned in toys, thanks to a law we worked alongside our delegation to help pass in Congress. The same law requires regulators to test toys and infant products for safety before they hit store shelves.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Student, Education, and Consumer Groups Defend CFPB To Congress

On February 13, nearly 60 local, state and national student advocacy, professional, consumer, educational, faith and other organizations sent a letter to Congressional leaders expressing "strong support for the crucial work the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) does on behalf of student loan borrowers." The "borrower-focused" letter also urged Congress "to ensure the agency remains well-positioned to solve borrowers’ problems, which includes protecting the Bureau’s single-Director structure and its independent funding, and maintaining Director Richard Cordray until his term ends.

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Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

New report highlights public health threats from drinking water in schools.

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Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Tax

Picking Up the Tab

As a new administration takes office and the possibility of tax reform again enters the national conversation, the report highlights how it’s small domestic businesses and ordinary Americans that have to shoulder the burden of multinational tax avoidance.

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Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

MASSPIRG's 31st Annual Survey Finds Recalled Toys in Online Stores

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Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Tax

Offshore Shell Games 2016

New report shows which Fortune 500 companies stashed over $2 trillion in profits to avoid paying more than 200 billion in taxes.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Food

EPA’s Pruitt Met with Dow Prior to Favorable RulingDev GowdaKara Cook-Schultz

On March 31st, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that his agency would deny a petition to ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos from being sprayed on food. He announced this decision despite EPA scientists’ earlier findings that concluded that chlorpyrifos, which is manufactured by Dow Chemical, can harm brain development of fetuses and infants after ingesting even small amounts. The news that the EPA would continue to allow the spraying of chlorpyrifos alarmed doctors and other public health officials, but what’s even more interesting is that according to several recent Freedom of Information Act requests, Pruitt met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris at a Houston hotel just twenty days prior to making his controversial decision.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Sloppy Credit Bureaus, Sketchy Credit Doctors Slammed by Trifecta of CFPB, State AGs and Consumer Lawyers | Ed Mierzwinski

In the news this month are several successful efforts to improve credit report accuracy, compensate the victims of credit bureau malfeasance and also to bring some credit repair doctors to heel. Did it take a village? No, it took a combination of strong consumer laws, a strong CFPB, tough state attorneys general working on a bi-partisan basis and, finally, consumer attorneys engaged in private enforcement of the laws as another line of defense. For markets to work fairly, consumers need all these levels of protection.

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Blog Post | Antibiotics

Burger King Takes Action on Antibiotics, Sanderson Farms Takes a Back Seat | Matthew Wellington

Last week another major restaurant took action to protect antibiotics, and a major laggard in the meat industry received a much-needed reality check.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

PHH v. CFPB: The Latest Attack on the Consumer Bureau | Michael Landis

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 24, the full D.C. Circuit will hear oral argument in PHH v. CFPB—a case that could have a significant impact on the work of the most effective consumer protection agency that we have. Check out this blog and new short video from PIRG Litigation Director Mike Landis on why the idea of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau needs no defense, only more defenders.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

#KickTheCan: BPA still found in many grocery stores’ canned foods | Dev Gowda

We’re all told to watch out for BPA in drinking bottles and baby products. But how about BPA in the cans that contain our food? A recent study by Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reveals that the toxic chemical BPA is readily found in canned foods. BPAs are often used in the liners of canned food to keep the aluminum from interacting with the food.

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Defend the CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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