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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Establishing a Student Loan Bill of Rights | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG's Sam Gibb, called on lawmakers to support  Senate Bill 129, An Act Establishing a Student Loan Bill of Rights, filed by Senator Eric Lesser to protect student loan borrowers from unfair, predatory and deceptive practices of student lending and loan servicing companies.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

WITH MASSACHUSETTS PLEDGING TO COMPLY WITH GOALS OF PARIS AGREEMENT, NEW REPORT FINDS $75 MILLION IN VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT FUNDS COULD HELP ACCELERATE ALL ELECTRIC TRANSPORTATION REVOLUTION

A new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund finds that $75 million from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement is headed to Massachusetts to help clean up the country’s transportation system and strongly recommends using the funds to purchase electric vehicle fast charging stations for highways along with an aggressive expansion of all-electric transit buses to replace aging, dirty, diesel buses. The report finds the state could supply between 112 and 224 additional fast charging stations, and could purchase around 79 all-electric, zero-emissions buses, reducing dangerous pollution and saving money, all while accelerating market transformation to an all-electric transportation system. 

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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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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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DEBT COLLECTION ABUSES LEADING SOURCE OF SERVICEMEMBER AND VETERAN COMPLAINTS TO CFPB

Boston, MA – Debt collection abuses were the leading source (32%) of 44,000 servicemember complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to a new report release today.  Further, Congress is taking up a bill this week intended to cripple the CFPB and would place servicemembers, veterans and their families in “financial harm’s way,” thereby threatening unit preparedness.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Senate Bill Aims to Rollback Clean Car Standards

Today, Senators Blunt (R-MO), Moran (R-KS ), Young (R-IN), Stabenow (D-MI), Peters (D-MI), and McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a bill to amend vehicle standards, also known as the “Blunt Clean Cars Rollback”.

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News Release | Public Health

Statement on SC Johnson’s skin allergen disclosure announcement

“SC Johnson, the manufacturer behind popular brands like Glade, Pledge, Windex, and more has announced today that it will disclose the presence of 368 fragrance and non-fragrance potential skin allergens that may occur in its products. This is a great move for chemical transparency in consumer products."

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Media Hit | Public Health

Editorial: State regulations needed to ensure safe water in schools

It is time to get the lead out of drinking water in our schools and daycare centers.

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Result | Public Health

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the U.S.D.A. has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

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Result | Democracy

Getting Young Voters To The Polls

In 2008, for the first time in 20 years, the number of young voters going to the polls exceeded the number of voters over age 65. Our New Voters Project played a part in making it happen in Massachusetts, helping more than 10,000 students register to vote on Massachusetts college campuses.

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Result | Budget

Making Beacon Hill More Transparent

Where are your tax dollars being spent, exactly? Our 2008 report “Transparency.gov 2.0” made the case for bringing the state budget online, to boost accountability and efficiency in government spending.

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Result | Tax

Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

No longer will a few powerful corporations get away with exploiting tax loopholes, thanks to a tax fairness bill we worked to pass in 2008. The new law will keep more than $400 million from being funneled to out-of-state subsidiaries each year.

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Locking Out Identity Thieves

In the wake of failures in data security on the part of data dealers and credit card companies, we worked to convince the Legislature to pass one of the nation’s strongest laws to prevent identity theft in 2007.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Predatory Loans & Predatory Loan Complaints

This is the seventh in a series of reports that review complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this report, we explore consumer complaints about predatory loans, categorized in the database as payday loans, installment loans, and auto title loans.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Getting Personal with Chemicals

We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. However, chemicals of concern are routinely found in many of our day-to-day personal care products, ranging from Dial bar soap to Suave kids’ shampoo, according to Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group Education Fund's investigation of common consumer products.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2016

 

State governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Public accountability helps ensure that state funds are spent as wisely as possible.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

CarMax Endangers Lives in Massachusetts

CarMax, the nation's largest retailer of used cars, is selling recalled vehicles with dangerous and potentially lethal safety defects to Massachusetts car buyers. Those unsafe vehicles are hazardous not only to the people who buy them, but to the cars’ passengers and everyone else who shares the roads and adjacent areas, including sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. 

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Report | For Immediate Release | Tax

SETTLING FOR A LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY?

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

TIPS TO STAY SECURE ONLINE | Jeanne Foy

Staying vigilant online in the face of growing cyberattacks.  

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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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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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