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News Release | Democracy

Howard County Council Passes Resolution for Citizens’ Election Fund

Ellicott City – The Howard County Council took a big step forward today towards establishing a small donor incentive program for county elections. The Council voted 4-1 to pass a resolution to amend the County Charter to establish a citizens’ election fund. Now, Howard County voters will vote to authorize the fund through a ballot initiative in November.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

What is payday lending? | Kathryn Lee

We are a leading member of Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition that was instrumental in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by Congress in 2010. The CFPB is currently working on a rule to reign in the payday lending industry. We, along with AFR, are working to make sure the rule is a strong one. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Lowering your APR might be easier than you think | Kathryn Lee

Many Americans are walking around with a balance on their credit card because of high interest rates, or annual percentage rate (APR) charges for unpaid balances. It's best to pay off your balance in full but if you don't or can't, a higher APR makes your debit grow faster. What most people don’t realize is this APR can be negotiated to a lower rate.

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Blog Post | Higher Ed

HB1015: Should Maryland refinance student loans? | Emily Scarr

The rising cost of college increasingly puts a higher education out of reach for many Marylanders, and the need to increase access to educational financing continues to be a salient issue in public policy. This bill will set up a state study of the viability of a state student loan refinancing body, which may have the potential to make college more affordable for Maryland students.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation and others | Public Health

Two Out of Three Food Cans Tested Have Toxic BPA in Lining

“As a mother of five and someone who was raised on canned food, the thought that there could be toxic chemicals in the linings of some well-known canned foods is alarming,” said Delegate Angela Angel, representing District 25 in Prince George’s County. “Our food should provide nourishment, not harm.”

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

TODAY SUPREME COURT RULED FOR ANOTHER FLOOD OF BIG MONEY

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. FEC to strike down overall, or aggregate, contribution limits to candidates and political committees. Maryland PIRG research found that this ruling could bring $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from fewer than 2,800 elite donors through the 2020 election cycle.

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News Release | Tax

Victory for Taxpayers and Consumers as Justice Dept. Denies Toyota $1.2 Billion Write-Off in Criminal Probe Settlement

Today, the Justice Department acted in the best interests of taxpayers and consumers, by denying Toyota a hidden $420 million tax benefit on its settlement for misleading consumers about dangerous car malfunctions. One line of text in the settlement made the difference: “Toyota agrees that it will not file a claim, assert, or apply for a tax deduction or tax credit.”

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Food

Baltimore Consumers Call on Safeway to Label GMOs, On Anniversary of Whole Foods Labeling Commitment

Baltimore, March 8 – Consumers and health advocates launched a campaign calling on Safeway to label its store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.  

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Report: Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Children’s Products

 

Baltimore, MD – Makers of children’s products have reported widespread use of hazardous chemicals under the landmark Washington state 2008 Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA). “What’s on Your List? Toxic Chemicals in Your Shopping Cart,” reveals the prevalence of chemicals that can cause cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental problems in products readily available for purchase at many of the country’s largest retailers.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: University Campuses Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy, according to a new report released today. The report, titled, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” was released by Maryland PIRG Foundation.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Democracy

The Wealth Primary

Despite the recent corruption scandals in Washington DC, the most significant problem with money in politics is that large contributions, which only a fraction of the American public can afford to make, unduly influence who runs for office and who wins elections in the United States.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Health Care

Paying the Price

Millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans struggle to afford the medicines they need, even forgoing medically necessary drugs when prices are out of reach.

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Transit Oriented Development

Maryland could strengthen its efforts to control sprawl and provide a high quality of life for the state's residents by encouraging more transit-oriented development near rail stations.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

Rail Transit Works

With Funding Areas, the Rural and Community Legacy Program, brownfield cleanup - Maryland has made a concerted effort to control sprawl. One tool that the state could make better use of is developing transportation alternatives.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Testimony in support of SB463 HB701 - Use of Antimicrobial Drugs in Agriculture | Emily Scarr

Maryland PIRG supports the passage of SB 463. Maryland PIRG staff have been working with the public health community, small farmers, and restaurant owners to address the public health problem of antibiotic resistance by calling on agriculture to stop the overuse of antibiotics on animals raised for meat.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

As NY Brings Credit Bureaus To Heel, CFPB Arbitration Study Paves Way Toward New Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

Two big consumer stories so far this week offer hope to consumers victimized by credit bureau errors and, more generally, by an inability to take credit bureaus, credit card companies, banks or payday lenders to court when harmed. On Monday, New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman signed a groundbreaking agreement with the Big Three credit bureaus, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. Then today, the CFPB released a report finding that consumer legal rights are infringed by small-print forced arbitration clauses in credit card and other contracts.  The CFPB will hold a webcast public hearing at 11am Eastern time today (Tuesday) to discuss the report's findings and next steps.

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Blog Post | Public Health

YES for SB200 - Ban on microbeads in personal care products | Emily Scarr

Please encourage your senator to vote YES on SB200 as passed by committee to ban microbeads in Maryland.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Is Anyone Protecting Your Privacy Or Wallet? Turbotax? Anthem? Apple? The Government? | Ed Mierzwinski

As if recent privacy breaches at the online tax preparer Turbotax and the health insurer Anthem weren't enough, it turns out that low-tech hacks can trick the vaunted Apple Pay system into giving up cash to thieves, too. Meanwhile, while the administration's blueprint for a Privacy Bill of Rights in 2012 was excellent, its new legislative draft from the Department of Commerce could have been written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is some good news on privacy, though.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Student Testimony on HB982 - SB684 - Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container and Litter Reduction Program | Emily Scarr

Maryland PIRG Student supports the “Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container and Litter Reduction Program” (HB 982). Maryland PIRG Student Chapters is a statewide, student directed, student funded public interest advocacy organization.

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DEFEND THE CFPB

Tell your representative 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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