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A History Of Action In The Public Interest: The 1980's
1981: MASSPIRG's persistent advocacy led Massachusetts lawmakers to override a gubernatorial veto in 1981 and make the Bottle Bill law. The Bottle Bill has proven to be among the most effective recycling laws in the nation.
1981: In 1981, NYPIRG's Straphangers Campaign won the first of several five-year multi-billion-dollar programs to rebuild the state's mass transit infrastructure. The campaign has since won fare discounts, subsidies to keep fares affordable, and more.
1982: ConnPIRG wins the nation's first new-car Lemon Law. Since then, the program has returned $30 million in refunds and car replacements to consumers. More importantly, versions of the Lemon Law have been replicated in every state.
1983: Minnesota PIRG spearheads passage of the Minnesota Acid Deposition Act, the nation's first acid rain legislation and a model for 1990 federal Clean Air Act provisions.
1984: Jesse Jackson speaks at the state PIRGs' National Student Conference on Voter Registration. The campaign that grew out of the conference registered 750,000 new student voters in its first year.
1983: Montana PIRG successfully advocates for a first-in-the-nation law limiting PAC contributions to state legislative campaigns in Montana.
1983: MoPIRG persuades the Missouri Public Utilities Commission to stop a $500 million rate hike that would have reimbursed Union Electric for spending on an unbuilt nuclear power plant.
Balanced Media Coverage
1984: A U.S. PIRG-backed coalition helps stop the FCC from abolishing the Fairness Doctrine, which guarantees that radio and TV stations broadcasting on publicly owned airwaves provide balanced coverage of issues of public importance.
Toxic Waste Cleanup
1986: U.S. PIRG helps win reauthorization of the federal toxics waste cleanup Superfund law, strengthening the program and adding a requirement that industries publicly report emissions of major pollutants into the environment.
Safe Drinking Water
1986: U.S. PIRG helps win a new Safe Drinking Water Act.
1987: Following successful efforts by MASSPIRG, NYPIRG and others to enact state laws limiting the amount of time banks could hold deposited checks, Congress passes similar legislation at the federal level.
Truth In Lending
1988: U.S. PIRG helps win a law that requires strict "truth in lending" fee disclosures in credit card and home equity loan solicitations.
1989: Following OSPIRG's lead, the state PIRGs release the first national version of the annual "Trouble in Toyland" reports, winning more than 110 recalls and enforcement actions by 2002.
1989: VPIRG wins legislation protecting the ozone layer by banning many uses of ozone-depleting CFCs in Vermont, one year before federal Clean Air Act amendments address the problem nationally.
Tools & Resources
MASSPIRG Education Fund
How to stay informed about product recalls
Consumer Protections on New and Used Cars
How to Find Help for Consumer Problems
Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s FutureMASSPIRG Education Fund
MASSPIRG grades the state legislators on key public interest issues
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