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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

Open Safe California: Is the state effectively containing the novel coronavirus?

COVID Exit Strategy (www.covidexitstrategy.org), a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks states should reach before reopening their economies. As of the week ending on June 26th, only six states were meeting these metrics, earning a “Green” rating. Currently, California is failing half of the benchmarks, and is rated “Red” by COVID Exit Strategy.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Superspreading events pose outsized risk of COVID-19 transmission | Abe Scarr

Public health experts are starting to draw actionable lessons about the nature of how COVID-19 spreads. In addition to maintaining best practices –physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing – it’s best to avoid extended, crowded indoor gatherings.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Consumer advice: Ask for help with your bills before an emergency

This coming Monday, June 1, will mark the third full month that bills are due since COVID-19 was declared a national state of emergency in March. To help Americans manage their finances, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has published an updated guide with tips on what to do about paying bills during the crisis.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: Consumer complaints about COVID-19 fraud near 50,000

Consumer complaints to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the coronavirus approached 50,000 on Tuesday. U.S. PIRG Education Fund has documented the actions taken by the FTC and 14 other federal agencies in response to coronavirus scams.

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News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19

Health pros call for transparent, central coordination from Trump administration

CALPIRG along with U.S.PIRG, the federation of State PIRGs, Get Us PPE, Doctors for America, Physicians for Social Responsibility and several other health groups, along with nearly 300 medical professionals, including over a hundred from California, sent a letter to the Trump Administration on Friday calling for central coordination of the medical supply chain and comprehensive testing infrastructure. More than two months into the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, health professionals say they still lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Americans need stronger consumer protections during COVID-19 crisis

U.S. PIRG Education Fund has released a report with the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action. The report makes recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to upgrade its consumer complaint tool, including the public consumer complaint database, so COVID19-related complaints can be handled more quickly and tracked better.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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News Release | CALPIRG Students | Solid Waste

University of California, Berkeley, leads the way with country’s strongest single-use plastic ban

BERKELEY, Calif. — The University of California, Berkeley has committed to eliminating all non-essential single-use plastic with viable alternatives by 2030. CALPIRG's student chapter on campus played a significant role in advocating for the new policy. 

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: CALPIRG supports Gov. Newsom’s call for more comprehensive COVID-19 testing

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today laid out key steps necessary for our state to return to something similar to normal life in the future. Step one, he said, toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic is the “ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

What are Californians Fixing?

According to our review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone,” nearly 8 million unique users from California went onto their website, www.ifixit.com, to look up how to repair something in 2018.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Electric Buses in America

AMERICA’S BUS NETWORK plays a crucial role in the lives of millions of people, providing transportation for those who cannot or do not wish to drive, and carrying up to half of all American children to and from school every day. The majority of America’s buses, however, are still powered by polluting fossil fuels such as diesel that pose a serious risk to public health and contribute to global warming. This report profiles six communities' experiences adopting electric buses, including Twin Rivers, California.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Highway Boondoggles 5

Year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and key transportation priorities. Our 5th annual Highway Boondoggles report features the proposed High Desert Freeway east of Los Angeles. This $8 billion project would lead to more driving and more pollution, along with sprawling desert development.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get The Lead Out

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country. As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.  Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively remove the lead pipes and plumbing at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine

To explore how much Roundup we’re drinking, U.S. PIRG tested beer and wine for glyphosate/Roundup. As we’ve confirmed in this study, Roundup is found in beer and wine. This confirms past studies on the topic, which found that glyphosate is found in almost all adult beverages. For example, in 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even in independent beers. After that study was released, German brewers managed to severely limit the amount of glyphosate used in brewing, and saw marked improvement in a 2017 follow-up study.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Worried about taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here's something that can help. | Claudia Deeg

In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. If you’ve been impacted by the economic ramifications of the outbreak, you may qualify for free tax filing software.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

The worst possible option for paying your bills | Claudia Deeg

Living in California, I’m currently spending 56% of my income on rent. Most financial advisers say you shouldn’t spend more than 30%. Apparently this qualifies me as “severely cost-burdened,” according to the California Budget & Policy Center.

However, I’m extremely lucky that I’ve kept my job so far since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When rent was due on April 1st, I could pay it. Sadly, many others couldn’t.

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Blog Post

What Actions are California Cities Taking to Reduce the Use of Monsanto's Roundup? | Emily Rusch

With more and more suits against Monsanto lining up, communities are pushing back against the use of Roundup and associated glyphosate-based herbicides. One by one, cities are passing restrictions on Roundup, and finding alternative, healthier ways to maintain operations. 

We spoke to city officials to find out how restrictions on Roundup are implemented in their community. Although the change can come with challenges, these cities show that every community has the capacity to reduce its usage of dangerous pesticides in some shape or form. 

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Blog Post | Democracy

CALPIRG's New Voters Project Helped Turn Out Youth Vote | Emily Rusch

CALPIRG Education Fund’s New Voters Project ensured that thousands of newly eligible young voters registered to vote, received non-partisan information about what was on their ballot, and cast a ballot by Election Day. In total, our team helped register more than 6,000 students to vote and made more than 500,000 Get out the Vote contacts. Here are our highlights, lowlights, and recommendations for future elections.

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Blog Post | Safe Energy

#EEDay2018 - States Can Lead | Abe Scarr

The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use in the first place. Whether you care about improving air quality, fending off the worst impacts of global warming, or simply saving money, energy efficiency and conservation are critical.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

COVID Exit Strategy (www.covidexitstrategy.org), a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards containing COVID-19. On July 10th, as the epidemic worsened, the group added a new color to their grading scale, indicating states with uncontrolled spread of the virus. California is one of 20 states currently in this category – our state is not meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks for reopening, and the situation is getting worse. 

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

COVID Exit Strategy (www.covidexitstrategy.org), a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards containing COVID-19. On July 10th, as the epidemic worsened, the group added a new color to their grading scale, indicating states with uncontrolled spread of the virus. California is one of 18 states currently in this category – our state is not meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks for reopening, and the situation is getting worse. Accordingly, CALPIRG supports the governor’s decision to close businesses and return to lockdown until things can get under control. 

Blog Post

U.S. PIRG is calling on municipal, state and federal policymakers to mandate face masks in all indoor public spaces, as well as in outdoor locations where it’s hard for people to socially distance six feet apart.

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

SACRAMENTO- As California schools consider best practices for reopening in the fall, they must address the fact that too many have found unacceptable levels of lead in their drinking water. CALPIRG Education Fund released an updated interactive map with results reported from schools. More than 2,100 school drinking water fountains tested positive for lead at 1,300 schools in the state over the past three years, according to a new analysis by CALPIRG Education Fund.

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

“From early on in this pandemic, it’s been clear that we must listen to public health experts or suffer dire consequences,” said Emily Rusch, Executive Director of CALPIRG Education Fund.  “What we are seeing right now in our state is that while we’re doing some things right, we must act more comprehensively to protect the health and welfare of our citizens and beat this virus.”

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