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Our 2020 Legislative Agenda
A Zero Waste Economy
California should aim to be a zero-waste economy, in which less is consumed, all products are built to last and are easy to reuse and repair, and all materials are reused, recycled and composted in a continuous cycle. This system will protect public health and the environment, conserve natural resources and landscapes, and address the mounting crisis of global warming.
● We support the Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act to dramatically reduce single-use packaging and food ware products over the next ten years. (SB 54 by Sen. Allen, AB 1080 by Asm. Gonzalez).
● California should adopt “right to repair” reforms, which remove barriers to repair in order to reduce waste and save consumers money.
Get Lead and Other Toxins Out of Drinking Water
No Californian should be exposed to lead or other known toxic chemicals in their drinking water. In 2017 the legislature required local water districts to test some drinking water outlets for lead at every school. The results are in and more than 1,600 school drinking water fountains tested positive for lead.
● California should require schools to prevent lead contamination, down to 1 part per billion, at every tap used for cooking or drinking.
● California should prevent the proliferation of “forever chemicals” (PFAS) in our drinking water
Ban Toxic Chemicals in Personal Care Products
The products we put on our bodies should be safe. But when most of us shampoo our hair, wash our hands, moisturize our skin, or get ready for a night on the town, we’re unknowingly dousing our bodies with dozens of toxic chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer.
● California should protect public health by banning a set of known toxic chemicals in cosmetics, like lead, mercury, and formaldehyde.
End the Nicotine Trap
The U.S. Surgeon General has declared e-cigarette use, commonly known as vaping, among young people an epidemic due to its popularity and health risks. One in 5 high schoolers reported vaping in 2018, a nearly 80 percent increase in one year. An entire generation is at risk of nicotine addiction, and millions of kids are already hooked on nicotine with serious implications for their health and future.
● California should end the nicotine trap by banning the sale of all flavored nicotine products, including mint and menthol (SB 793 by Sen. Hill).
High-Value Health Care
The United States spends nearly double what other wealthy countries spend on health care, and yet underperforms on many populations’ health outcomes. Experts point to extraordinarily high prices, for hospital and provider services, pharmaceuticals and devices, as well as high administrative costs. CALPIRG supports proposals to reduce or eliminate price gouging in the marketplace and increase the quality and efficiency of care.
● California should create an Office of Health Care Affordability to figure out ways to measurably lower overall health care prices.
● California should end price gouging in emergency services by setting reasonable limits on what providers can charge (AB 1611 by Asm. Chiu).
● California should continue to promote transparency and competition, and prevent price gouging, in the prescription drug marketplace.
California’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels for transportation puts our health and safety at risk. CALPIRG supports proposals that reduce the need to drive, electrify buses and electrify cars — so the easiest, cheapest and most pleasant ways to travel are also the cleanest and healthiest.
● We support investments in complete streets that are safe for pedestrians and bikes, in addition to cars. We also support investment in public transportation options, and encourage development only near transit options.
● We are also calling for 50% of our trucks to be electric by 2030 and 100% of our buses to be electric, including school buses, by 2030.
● We support efforts to require and provide funding for free transit passes for youth.
Personal Data Security and Control
Consumers should be able to buy products without concern about hidden fees, scams, safety risks, or privacy violations. Massive data breaches at Equifax and Marriott underscored how vulnerable our data is to hackers, and the Cambridge Analytica debacle demonstrated that the collection and use of our personal data online can easily lead to misuse.
● We support policies to strengthen and defend the California Consumer Privacy Act (2018), to give consumers more control over their own data and keep consumer data secure from identity thieves. In particular, the legislature should expand the law to restrict companies from collecting, sharing, or reselling consumer data they often don’t even need to collect in the first place.
Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights
3.7 million Californians currently hold student debts with average balances of more than $35,000. Unlike mortgages or credit cards, there is no industry-wide framework to regulate the student loan industry at the federal level, so California should do more to protect our own consumers.
● We support AB 376 by Asm. Stone to ban certain student loan servicing practices that take unreasonable advantage of borrowers’ confusion over loan repayment options and create minimum servicing standards related to application of payments, paperwork retention and specialized staff training.
Modernize our Elections
In 2020 California is continuing to work to give eligible citizens more ways to register and vote, including implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act in more counties, and Election Day conditional voter registration. The legislature should allocate to elections administrators the necessary funding to do outreach to voters about these changes and to run our elections smoothly and securely.
CALPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, results-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, protects public health and fosters responsive, democratic government. For more information about CALPIRG’s 2020 Legislative Agenda, to request our support for a bill, or to ask questions about our position on a specific issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to working with you. — Emily Rusch, CALPIRG Executive Director
Your donation supports CALPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.