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News Release | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget

NEW REPORT: Florida Receives "A" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Florida received an “A” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the sixth annual report of its kind by the Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Adds Consumer Stories to Public Complaint Database | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the CFPB took a step to make its excellent public database of consumer complaints even better, by adding complaint narratives (stories), but only with the consumer's consent. It's a step we've long urged. It will enrich our research into the marketplace, help consumers make choices and help good-actor firms avoid bad practices by others.

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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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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Credit Bureaus’ Deal to Improve Accuracy ‘Huge’ for Consumers

(Bloomberg) -- Buying homes, getting jobs and borrowing money will be easier after an agreement by the three biggest U.S. consumer credit reporting services with New York.[...] “It’s a sea change in the way the credit bureaus treat complaints,” said [U.S. PIRG's Ed] Mierzwinski. “The credit bureaus have been run by computers for years now. They’re going to have to hire more people and actually verify that what a creditor said is true.”

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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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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

New Report Shows That Safer Technologies can Eliminate Chemical Hazards at Pulp and Paper Mills

Pulp and paper mills that use chlorine or chlorine dioxide to whiten paper needlessly endanger more than 5.7 million people, according to a new report released today by Florida PIRG.

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

Students Rally to Rescue Net Radio from Crippling Copyright Royalties

Today Students urged Congress to repeal stringent copyright royalty rates that could force Internet radio stations out of business and reduce opportunities for diverse musicians to promote their music, in a petition delivered by a coalition of media public interest groups the Florida Public Interest Research Group (Florida PIRG) and SaveNetRadio.

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

AT&T Merger Concessions Send Strong Message to Congress: Protect Internet Freedom

Late Thursday night AT&T officials filed a letter of commitment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declaring their intent to follow Net Neutrality provisions and to offer unbundled and discounted DSL service in return for the approval of their $85 billion dollar merger with Bell South. 

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

Florida PIRG Applauds Governor Crist for Veto on Double Rent Bill

Last night, Governor Crist vetoed HB 1277, a bill that would have allowed landlords to impose harsh new penalty fees on renters who break their leases. Statement from Brad Ashwell, Consumer Advocate for Florida PIRG:

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Democracy

House Takes Next Step Toward Lobby Reform

The adoption of a wide range of disclosure measures will increase the transparency of the actions of Washington lobbyists.   Especially important is the approval of the Van Hollen bundling amendment requiring that lobbyists who raise funds for lawmakers disclose their fundraising activities.

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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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