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Automatic voter registration has boosted Illinois’ statewide voter roll | Keegan Hollyer

There have been multiple challenges to automatic voter registration implementation in Illinois and there are still opportunities to significantly improve AVR implementation. Even with those challenges, we wanted to measure the law’s effectiveness at Secretary of State facilities since implementation began in the summer of 2018. Our analysis shows that voter registration applications at Secretary of State facilities have increased markedly, by 37 percent, which translates to an additional 111,000 voter applications every year. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

National Consumer Protection Week 2022 | Teresa Murray

Every day during the first week of March, PIRG is providing consumer protection tips and tools to help Americans address some of the most common consumer issues.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

As its failing pipe replacement program puts Chicagoans in debt, Peoples Gas on track for record profits

The Peoples Gas pipe replacement program once again ended the year behind schedule and over budget according to a year-end report released Monday. Peoples Gas charged its residential customers nearly $157, on average, for the program in 2021. That has contributed to widespread home heating affordability challenges in Chicago. Despite this, Peoples Gas is on track to make record profits in 2021, surpassing the previous record set in 2020.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Statement: Consumer, environmental advocates welcome Coca-Cola’s commitment to reuse

ATLANTA--- The Coca-Cola Co., the world’s top plastic polluter according to a recent Global Brand Audit, announced on Thursday a new commitment to use refillable or returnable glass or plastic bottles – or refillable containers at fountains and dispensers – for at least 25% of global beverage sales across its entire brand portfolio by 2030.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

36th annual Trouble in Toyland report exposes risks of counterfeit and other dangerous toys

Even though legitimate toymakers deserve kudos for making many of their products safer over the years, too often, Americans end up buying dangerous toys for children for the holidays. Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report shows that many of those toys are counterfeit or recalled products, but still make their way into consumers’ shopping carts.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Onions identified as cause of nationwide Salmonella outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday evening that a nationwide Salmonella outbreak stems at least in part from whole onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed in this country by ProSource Inc.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Consumer guide: tips to help consumers avoid cars damaged by flood water

The current shortage of used cars on the market -- and correlated increased prices -- could make consumers more desperate and vulnerable to falling for a bad deal.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Antibiotics

PIRG Education Fund urges McDonald’s to meet commitment to reduce antibiotic use in beef supply

 PIRG Education Fund is calling on McDonald’s, the single largest purchaser of beef in the United States, to fulfill its commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. 

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Statement: New congressional report paints scary picture of toxic metals in baby food

A congressional report released Wednesday found the problem of toxic heavy metals in baby food is even worse than many suspected.

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles 5

America's aging roads and bridges need fixing. Our car-dependent transportation system is dangerous, harms our communities, and is the nation’s leading source of global warming pollution.

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Report | Illinois PIRG 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 | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Small Donors A Small Factor In Chicago Mayoral Race

As we approach ten years since Citizens United v. FEC, the growing dominance of a small group of big donors in Illinois elections is undeniable. From City Council to Governor, political campaigns are increasingly fueled by a small number of donors who make contributions far larger than average voters can afford.

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Food

How Safe Is Our Food?

Americans rely on a vast network of farms and businesses to provide safe food daily. But in recent years, a string of high-profile recalls ranging from romaine lettuce to millions of pounds of beef to Ritz and Goldfish crackers has called into question the system developed to ensure safe food reaches people’s plates. 

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

For over 30 years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has conducted an annual survey of toys to look for safety problems. This research has led to more than 150 toy recalls and other regulatory actions over the years. Our work has also helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and well-being of children. This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passing, which strengthened protections against dangerous consumer products. 

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Blog Post

We need to set our priorities straight | Danielle Melgar

The EPA has banned chlorpyrifos from our food. It doesn’t belong where Americans golf either.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Resources I used to prepare my advance directive | Mike Litt

Advance directives are legal instructions that include a living will (different from a regular will) and a health care proxy. In them, you state what treatments you do or don’t want at the end of your life and who you want making health care decisions for you if you can’t. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

How to spot fake online reviews | Hannah Rhodes

With the overwhelming number of reviews found both on website listings and social media, we pulled together the best tips to spot fake reviews when shopping online.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

What I decided to do after shopping for long-term care insurance | Mike Litt

Before listening to In Case You Get Hit By a Bus, I didn’t know about insurance that covers the costs of long-term care, such as home health care or nursing home care, for people who need assistance with daily living activities. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How I’m supercharging my savings with socially responsible investing (SRI) | Mike Litt

Getting my finances in order has been a work in progress over several years, starting with tackling credit card debt, paying off my car loan and then building an emergency fund. 

After clearing those hurdles, I set more defined financial goals and plans in motion this year, including automatic deposits into new investment accounts.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

goans paid 43% more to heat their homes this past winter compared to the year before, a result of surging gas prices and the expensive Peoples Gas pipe replacement program, according to a new report released on Friday. While higher gas prices played the largest role in the year-over-year spike in bills, the pipe replacement program has been slowly raising home heating bills for years. For example, over the first three months of 2022, the average Peoples Gas customer paid just under $40 for the pipe replacement program through a surcharge on bills. Over the same period in 2018, average customers paid $16 for the surcharge.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

After decades of danger and more than 200 infant deaths, President Joe Biden signed the  Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law on Monday.

News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

The auto insurance industry is attempting to block the publication of data documenting its windfall profits in Illinois during the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the risks associated with driving plummeted but auto insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk. In a letter sent last week to the Illinois Department of Insurance, three auto insurance associations challenged the Department’s March  call for information documenting insurer profits, losses, and refunds given to consumers between 2019 and 2021. Consumer advocates estimate that auto insurers overcharged Illinois drivers by about $900 million in 2020.

Blog Post

Today U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC launched a campaign to urge Columbia Sportswear to eliminate toxic PFAS in their products and supply chain by 2024. The campaign will engage everyday consumers through a petition drive and mobilize the public impacted by PFAS contamination.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC

 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on outdoor gear and apparel brand Columbia Sportswear to phase out the use of PFAS in its products and supply chains. Last month, the company received low marks in a scorecard report released by the advocacy groups. The report found that Columbia Sportswear has failed to adopt policies that ban PFAS chemicals or provide up-to-date, publicly available information on any ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals from their products.

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

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