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Blog Post | Public Health

HOUSE LEGISLATORS CONSIDER BILL PROMOTING NON-TOXIC CLEANERS IN DAYCARE CENTERS | Juliana Bilowich

Baby on carpetWhen Maryland passed legislation promoting green cleaning in public schools, we were in good company: 11 other states passed similar measures to protect our school kids. Unfortunately, our youngest and most vulnerable children are still lacking chemical protections.

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Blog Post | Public Health

188 Pill Bottles in Annapolis | Emily Scarr

Time is running out for legislators to pass a bill to keep antibiotics working. On Tuesday, we lead a group to Annapolis to educate legislators about this important bill.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

We oppose latest effort to weaken CFPB, other bank regulators | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Financial Services Committee holds its latest cattle-call markup of a package of industry-backed bills designed to weaken consumer, taxpayer, depositor and investor protections. We've signed a letter opposing the so-called TAILOR (Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk) Act, which piles redundant requirements onto the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulators to do what they already do by existing law--treat small banks and credit unions differently than mega-banks. Also, the PIRG-backed Americans for Financial Reform sent up a letter opposing the TAILOR Act and 6 more of the 10 bills on the agenda because they are designed to weaken consumer, taxpayer, depositor and investor protections.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Committees Consider Bills to Stop the Routine Low Dose Use of Antibiotics on Animals that Are Not Sick | Emily Scarr

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine. In order to protect these lifesaving drugs for future generations we must stop the outdated routine use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick which is contributing to the growing threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Supporting victims of security breaches with free access to security freezes. | Ed Mierzwinski

Maryland PIRG is pleased to support the proposal, SB0665/HB0782, from Senator Lee and Delegate Waldstreicher and other Senators and Delegates, at the request of Attorney General Frosh, to provide victims of security breaches with free access to credit report security freezes.

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Media Hit | Tax

Slightly Brighter Sunlight

Maryland is gradually improving its scoring when it comes to being transparent to the public, having moved from a C to a B- in a recently released report card from the Maryland PIRG Foundation.

That grade could get better: Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law this week legislation that may shine a little more light into the dark and dusty corners of state spending.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Tax

Poll: Public Wants Federal Agencies to Disclose and Restrict Corporate Tax Write Offs for Out-of-Court Settlements

A new poll shows that Americans want federal agencies to better disclose information about out-of-court settlements with corporations and to restrict companies from writing off these payments as tax deductions.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Maryland Taxpayer $1,259 a Year, MD Small Business $4,118

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws. Maryland PIRG released a new study which revealed that the average Maryland taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,259 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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Media Hit | Tax

State lawmakers hope new law improves spending transparency score

Some lawmakers hope legislation passed this year will move Maryland out of the middle of the pack when it comes to government spending transparency.

The fifth annual report on government spending transparency released last week by Maryland PIRG Foundation gave the Old Line State a B-, up from a C last year.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Report: Spirit Is Most Complained-About Airline

The report, “The Unfriendly Skies: Five Years of Airline Passenger Complaints to the DOT” analyzes complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division about major U.S. airlines from 2009-2013. The report found that most complaints are about delayed or canceled flights, which were the top complaint category each year and have trended upward overall.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

By passing the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008, Congress not only expanded the agency’s budget, it also gave the CPSC more tools to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable and speed recalls, moved toward banning toxic lead and phthalates except in trace amounts, and greatly improved import surveillance.

The recall of 45 million toys and other children’s products in 2007 and continued recalls in 2008 reminded Americans that no government agency tests toys before they are put on the shelves.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget, Financial Reform, Transportation

Greasing the Wheels

In the wake of the Minnesota I-35 bridge collapse there was enormous public outcry and recognition of the need to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Americans expected public officials to respond to the tragedy with a large scale effort to address the nearly 73,000 structurally deficient bridges in this country. The findings in this report suggest that did not happen.

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Report | Maryland PIRG | Health Care

The $3 Trillion Question

Without health care reform, the United States is projected to spend over $40 trillion on health care in the next decade.  Experts estimate that thirty percent of that spending – up to $12 trillion dollars – will be wasted on ineffective care, pointless red tape, and counterproductive treatments that can actually harm patients. 

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Report | Good Jobs First | Budget

Show Us the Stimulus

Every state government now has a website reporting on its role in implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the $787 billion federal stimulus bill that is shoring up state finances, reinforcing the social safety net and funding job‐creating infrastructure and energy‐efficiency projects. Yet there are wide differences in the quality and quantity of the information the websites offer.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Health Care

The Small Business Dilemma

When it comes to health care, American small business owners are getting a raw deal. While the current insurance marketplace offers some options to larger employers, it too often leaves small business owners on the outside looking in.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Who flipped the antibiotics script? | Emily Scarr

Large industrial farms routinely give antibiotics to healthy animals, and Big Ag and Big Pharma have no intention of ending this practice.

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Blog Post | Public Health

"Closer to Customers" | Emily Scarr

Steve Easterbrook, the President and CEO of McDonald's, last week put out a 23 minute video talking about changes afoot with the fast food giant. He bluntly said, "Our recent performance has been poor."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Event 5/11 re new book on black box decisionmaking & consumers | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED TO CONFIRM CFPB Speaker. We are hosting an event Monday, 5/11, from 9am-noon ET to discuss a new book, The Black Box Society, with author Frank Pasquale. Click Keep Reading to RSVP to attend in person or to watch the livestream. While credit bureaus have long functioned as black box gatekeepers to opportunity, panelists will discuss the growing use of more and more, even less transparent black boxes to categorize consumers in the digital economy.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Food

Like dominoes | Emily Scarr

The dominoes are falling. Last Monday, Pilgrim’s Pride joined Tyson, the poultry industry leader, and (Maryland's own) Perdue, to commit to reducing the use of antibiotcis to raise their chickens. Pilgrim's Pride committeed to raise 25 percent of its birds without antibiotics by the end of 2018. Pilgrim’s is the second-largest U.S. chicken producer. Their move marks what The Wall St Journal called “one of the most aggressive timetables for reducing antibiotics use laid out by a U.S. poultry company.”

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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Priority Action

We're calling on big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Tell KFC to stop serving meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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