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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2014

Among the toys surveyed this year, we found numerous choking hazards and five toys with concentrations of toxics exceeding federal standards. In addition to reporting on potentially hazardous products found in stores in 2014, this installment of the report describes the potential hazards in toys and children’s products.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous and Toxic Toys on Store Shelves

On Tuesday, December2nd, we're releasing Maryland PIRG’s 29h annual Trouble in Toyland report and list of dangerous toys. The report finds that despite improvements from recent product reforms, there are still dangerous toys on store shelves that pose a safety hazard. This year our report highlights potentially hazardous toys like toxic toys and choking hazards.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG and Demos | Democracy

Congressional Races Dominated by Big Money

In Maryland’s just-concluded congressional elections, bigger wallets gave mega-donors an outsized voice, according to new information released today by Maryland PIRG and Demos (report attached below).  The analysis found that in Maryland, candidates got 85 percent of their contributions from individuals from donors giving $200 or more – and nationally, 84% of individual contributions came from these larger donors.  Larger donors also played a central role in contributions to PACs, Super PACs, and party committees – when their fundraising is included with that of candidates, seven out of every ten dollars in individual contributions came from donors giving $200 or more.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation and Demos | Democracy

The Dominance of Big Money in the 2014 Congressional Elections

In 2014, large donors accounted for the vast majority of all individual federal election contributions this cycle, just as they have in previous elections. Seven of every 10 individual contribution dollars to the federal candidates, parties, PACs and Super PACs that were active in the 2013-2014 election cycle came from donors who gave $200 or more. Candidates alone got 84 percent of their individual contributions from large donors.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Democracy

Outside electoral spending gives megadonors an outsized voice

As the dust begins to clear on this year’s midterms, it is clear that deep-pocketed donors played an outsized role in funding our elections.  According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, as of reporting on Election Day, spending from Super PACs, c(4)s, and other outside groups reached $553 million, 80% higher than similar spending in the 2010 midterm elections.  And this spending is disproportionately from megadonors – in fact, according to campaign reporting to date, just 17 donors to Super PACs spent as much as the at least 793,000 small donors to Congressional candidates.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection, Safe Energy

EmPOWER Maryland Saves Ratepayers $140m Annually

EmPOWER Maryland, the energy efficiency program passed in 2008, is saving Maryland ratepayers $140 million on electricity costs every year, according to a new report by Maryland PIRG.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Solid Waste


Bethesda, MD: On Sunday, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church and Maryland PIRG hosted a litter cleanup of Rock Creek with more than 30 volunteers. They were joined by Joanna Guy, Maryland PIRG Program Associate, Charlotte Brewer, the Environmental Chair at Cedar Lane, and VIP guest Christina Denny, Miss Maryland 2013. The Cedar Lane Church has been hosting the bi-annual Rock Creek cleanup for over 10 years. This year, the Church was thrilled to host the event to demonstrate the problem of recyclable bottle litter and support of Maryland PIRG’s Don’t Trash Maryland Campaign, which is working to increase recycling and reduce litter by passing a Maryland bottle bill.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students

Thousands of American students are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes about private student loans.

Sallie Mae, the student lending giant, generated the most private student loan complaints nationally, and ranked first or tied for first in every single state. Student loan borrowers in the U.S. carry $24,803 on average in total student loan debt.

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News Release | Tax

JPMorgan Shouldn’t Get Tax Break for “London Whale” Settlement

“On Wednesday, reports emerged that JPMorgan Chase will agree to admit to wrongdoing and pay a $100 million penalty for improper market manipulation that led to a multibillion dollar trading loss. Yet unless the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) explicitly forbids it, the bank could write off the settlement as a tax deduction, forcing taxpayers to shoulder some of the cost of JPMorgan’s admitted reckless behavior.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Health Care

Health Care in Crisis

Our health care system is in crisis.  Without swift action, that crisis could threaten every Maryland family’s health and finances.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

Economic Stimulus for the 21st Century or Roads to Nowhere?

President-elect Obama has declared that the next recovery plan must do more than just pump money into the economy. It will also create the infrastructure that America needs for the 21st century.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Powering Maryland's Future

Marylanders count on a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity, available at a reasonable cost. Yet, the future of our electricity system is in doubt.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

squandering the stimulus

America’s dependence on oil has become increasingly painful. Two thirds of oil in the United States goes to transportation, with the largest share consumed by cars and trucks. As the rising price of gasoline makes driving more expensive, Americans have sought alternatives by driving a little less and riding public transportation more.

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Toxic Baby Furniture

Furnishings containing formaldehyde – a toxic chemical linked with allergies, asthma, and cancer – can contaminate indoor air within Maryland homes. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to harm.

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Blog Post | Budget

Testimony on Corporate Taxation | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Research Group supports the passage of SB 248, Imposing an alternative minimum assessment on corporations doing business in the State; providing for the computation of the alternative minimum assessment as a percentage of a corporation's gross receipts or gross profits, based on an election made by the corporation; limiting the assessment to $5,000,000 for any corporation and to $20,000,000 for affiliated groups of corporations; providing for credits against the corporate income tax under specified circumstances; applying the Act to tax years after 2011; etc.

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Blog Post | Safe Energy

Testimony on Offshore Wind | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of HB 237, altering the Maryland renewable energy portfolio standard program to include a specified amount of energy derived from offshore wind energy

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Blog Post | Food

Testimony in Favor of Arsenic Prohibition in Commercial Feed | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of SB 207, prohibiting a person from using, selling, or distributing specified commercial feed intended for use as poultry feed that contains roxarsone or any other additive that contains arsenic.

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Blog Post | Democracy

Testimony on Electronic Signatures in Voter Registration | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of HB 173, authorizing an applicant registering to vote at a voter registration agency to consent to the use of an electronic copy of the applicant's signature that is on file with the voter registration agency as the applicant's signature for the application being submitted; and requiring a voter registration agency to transmit an electronic copy of the signature of specified applicants for voter registration to the State Board within 5 days.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Testimony on Recycling – Apartment Buildings and Condominiums | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of HB 1, requiring owners or managers of apartment buildings or condominiums that contain 10 or more units to provide residents with the opportunity for recycling on or before October 1, 2013.

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