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News Release | MASSPIRG | Democracy

House Passes Critical Public Records Reform Bill

The Massachusetts House voted unanimously in support of H.4333, a much needed overhaul of the Commonwealth's public records law, which has not been updated since 1973. The bill strengthens state and local government transparency and accountability, and promotes citizen participation.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Escalates Drive Toward Protections, Study Finds CFPB Enforcement Works | Ed Mierzwinski

This month the CFPB issued its proposed rule prohibiting class action bans in small-print mandatory arbitration clauses; in June it is expected to release its high-cost small dollar lending (payday and auto title loan) proposed rule. Meanwhile, as CFPB's industry opponents hide behind astroturf front groups and Congressional opponents use backdoor attacks, a law professor has released a major report finding that "from its inception [in 2011] through 2015 the agency had a 122-and-0 track record in its publicly announced enforcement actions" and that 93% (over $10.5 billion) of funds recovered for consumers have been for deceptive practices -- "[f]ar from a novel legal theory."

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Blog Post | Transportation

Why Is Our Infrastructure So Terrible? | Sean Doyle

America is facing a $1.4 trillion infrastructure funding crisis. This isn't some distant problem; it's already having a real effect on everyday Americans.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Good Things Come to Those On Bikes | Sean Doyle

Pull the bike out of the closet, pump up those tires, and dust off the helmet because it's Bike to Work Week!

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Study Shows Big Donors Dominated Competitive 2014 Congressional Races

A new report documenting the dominance of big money in the November 2014 Congressional elections was released today by a host of public interest organizations calling for reform.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation for Massachusetts Releases The Next MassDOT

The Next MassDOT: A Transportation Vision for the Baker Administration, a new publication from Transportation for Massachusetts, providesrecommendations for strengthening the state’s transportation network.

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Media Hit | Food

Antibiotic resistance the bigger threat

In the past 38 years, there have been two Ebola-related deaths in the U.S., but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year.

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News Release | Financial Reform

LOOKING BACK AT 2014: YEAR OF STOCKING STUFFERS FOR CRIMINAL CORPORATIONS

This was the year that billion-dollar settlements paid by corporations to atone for wrongdoing became normal -- and so many of those deals gave the corporations huge tax write offs at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Financial Reform

Statement of MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz Opposing “CRomnibus” Appropriations "Rider" to Repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

We join others, including Americans for Financial Reform and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in condemning this backdoor, backroom appropriations "rider" to weaken the Wall Street reform law's protections for taxpayers and Main Street from the risky derivatives swaps that led to the 2008 financial collapse and recession.

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Report | 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. When discussing the high cost of prescription drugs, politicians often focus on the financial burden carried by senior citizens.

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The Failure Of Cable Deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 restructured the entire telecommunications industry and left virtually all cable subscribers without protection from unrestricted rate hikes.

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Who's Watching The Watchdogs?

Conflicts of interest and lack of independent funding have doomed both the national and state level accounting oversight systems in the United States. The state accounting boards and the network of overlapping, mostly self-regulatory federal accounting overseers act as classic regulators, serving management instead of serving investors and taxpayers.

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Deflate Your Rate

At the end of the year 2000, U.S. households were accruing interest on $574 billion of revolving credit card debt, or debt carried over to the next month rather than paid off entirely.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumers Seeing Benefits of Credit CARD Act Protections | Deirdre Cummings

The MASSPIRG-backed Credit CARD Act improved consumer disclosures, protected college students and young people from unfair marketing and also banned the worst tricks used by credit card companies. In particular, it made it much harder to trick or force consumers into paying late fees, and so, as the story explains:
"Customers are also happier when it comes to both annual fees and penalty fees charged by credit card companies. When it comes to penalty fees, “One of the reasons the score is getting better is because fewer customers are having their late fees increased,” says Jim Miller, senior director of J.D. Power’s banking practice."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Before You Fly, Know the Fees | Deirdre Cummings

Planning on flying out of Logan any time soon? Check out this great survey by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs of all the extra fees each airline charges consumers – including fees to reschedule flight, baggage fees, seat assignment fees, pet fees and others.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Big Win For Updated Bottle Bill in Senate | Janet Domenitz

In the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, the Massachusetts Senate earned a gold medal tonight when they passed the Updated Bottle Bill.  Senate President Therese Murray,  longtime sponsor Senator Cynthia Creem, amendment author Senator Robert Hedlund, and the whole Senate is to be congratulated for passing the update, which is overwhelmingly popular with the public, small businesses, cities and towns, and a majority of state legislators. For 14 years, the bill has been stalled in various committees. Getting the Updated Bottle Bill through the Senate has now completely shifted the momentum toward victory.

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Blog Post | Health Care

Governor was wrong to weaken health cost law | Deirdre Cummings

"Letting the restaurant, hospitality and convention industries set health care policy makes about as much sense as asking a pig to calculate the orbits of Jupiter’s moons.”
The Quincy Patriot-Ledger just put out a fantastic editorial on the recently passed law allowing drug reps to wine and dine physicians and other medical professionals.

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Blog Post | Health Care

At Stake: What’s on the Line for Health Care Consumers in the Pending Supreme Court Case | Deirdre Cummings

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have far reaching impacts on consumers. The law is already working to improve the quality of care and reduce costs, with millions of Americans experiencing concrete improvements in their coverage. Further improvements are slated to go into effect in 2014 – including a ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and the opening of competitive state health insurance marketplaces called “exchanges” aimed at giving consumers better choices for coverage, two reforms already working successfully here in Massachusetts.

While much of the national health care reforms were modeled after reforms already adopted  in Massachusetts, we still benefit from from some of the national reforms.  In this issue brief, we highlight the number of people the ACA has helped so far and the costs already saved to illustrate what’s at stake for Massachusetts consumers in the pending Supreme Court case.

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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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