Consumer Protection Updates

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

Health professionals tell Governor Abbott it’s time to shut down, start over and do it right

TexPIRG is calling on Governor Greg Abbott to hit the reset button on the state’s response to containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to rage throughout the state. More than 1,300 health professionals nationwide, including more than fifty from Texas, have now signed an open letter to Governor Abbot and other decision makers urging them to shut down, start over, and do it right this time to contain COVID-19 and save lives.

“It’s too late for the more than 10,000 Texans who have already lost their lives, but not for thousands more if we take action now,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG state director. “We reopened too quickly without hitting key benchmarks, and now we’re facing the consequences. Half measures aren’t cutting it, let’s shut down, start over, and do it right this time.”

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

TexPIRG statement on Gov. Abbott’s reopening announcement

AUSTIN -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he is slowing the reopening of non-essential businesses because the positivity rate of COVID-19 infection across the state is still too high. 

In response, TexPIRG Director Bay Scoggin released the following statement:

“For almost a month now, we’ve been calling on Governor Abbott to Shut down, start over, and do it right. Fifty health professionals from Texas have joined our call, along with more than 1,000 nationwide. We’re pleased to see the governor at least acknowledge that we’re not where we should be. But he is wearing rose-colored glasses if he thinks the virus will fade away deep in the heart of Texas without taking much bolder steps to contain it. 

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

TexPIRG Statement: Gov. Abbott extends early voting for November election

Gov. Greg Abbott has extended in-person early voting for this fall’s presidential election by one week, starting on Tuesday, October 13. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, large public gatherings, like those often seen at polling places, create opportunities for the virus to spread. Expanding early voting opportunities is one way that states can reduce crowding at the polls on Election Day.

Many states have expanded vote-by-mail opportunities in response to the pandemic. Texas still requires that voters have an approved excuse to get a mail-in ballot, and COVID-19 is not among the approved excuses.

In response, TexPIRG Director Bay Scoggin made the following statement:

“Governor Abbott kicked a field goal when what we needed was a touchdown. The governor’s decision to extend early voting is good for the health of Texans and the health of our democracy, but it doesn't go far enough to limit the dangerous choice between our constitutional right to vote and our health."

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

TexPIRG Statement on Gov. Abbott slowing down the state’s reopening

Gov. Greg Abbott halted the process of reopening Texas on Thursday amid a record-setting spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. In addition, the governor told four large counties across the state not to allow elective surgeries, to keep from overwhelming hospitals. 

In response, TexPIRG Director Bay Scoggin released the following statement:

“When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Governor Abbott’s announcement today is a recognition that we moved too quickly to reopen, and while tough to hear, is absolutely the right decision. Stopping further reopenings is a good first step, and the only choice if we want to get ourselves out of this hole.

News Release | TexPIRG | Consumer Protection

New Data Suggests Coronavirus Windfall for Texas Auto Insurance Companies

Six leading consumer advocacy groups joined together today, calling on the Texas Department of Insurance to take action to ensure Texas families are not charged excessive automobile insurance during the COVID-19 crisis. Texas Appleseed, TexPIRG, and Texas Watch encouraged the department to conduct a comprehensive review of auto rates and use existing statutory authority to disapprove any rates found to be excessive. 

Texas Appleseed released a new policy report entitled COVID-19 Pandemic Should Not Be Profit Boon for Texas Auto Insurers detailing how many auto carriers have fallen short on refunds and credits as Texans continue to drive less during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

TexPIRG Statement on Bexar County Mask Order

AUSTIN-- Governor Abbott allowed counties to require masks today after Bexar county Judge put an order in place. The following can be attributed to Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director.

“Wearing masks is the best thing we can do to mitigate the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also the best way we can reopen our economy safely, so it’s great to see the leadership from Judge Wolff bear fruit for more than just San Antonio.”

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

Gov. Abbott’s decision puts Texans at risk

Today, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that hair salons and gyms could reopen assuming they follow guidelines set forth in the announcement. The following can be attributed to Bay Scoggin, Director of consumer and public health group TexPIRG:

“Look, I need a haircut as much as the next guy, but it’s not worth putting tens of thousands of lives at stake. We know what we need to do to be ready to reopen-- the Governor’s own advisers have laid it out for him--and we’re not there yet."

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

With record number of COVID-19 deaths, public health group calls on Gov. Abbott to reinstate statewide shelter in place

As Texas recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day on Thursday (50, up from 42 deaths the day before), the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) warned Gov. Abbott that it is too soon to lift the shelter in place order, an action which could cost lives. 

TexPIRG Director Bay Scoggin released the following statement:

“We’re all wondering when, if ever, things may start to feel normal. But now is not the time to pull back on the public health measures that are keeping us safe.

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

New analysis: Most fake COVID-19 products claim antiviral, immune-boosting properties 

Desperate for a cure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many Americans are turning to the internet for answers. What they’re finding, however, is a minefield of dubious products posted by unscrupulous sellers. False claims are tricking worried people into paying for fake solutions that give them a false sense of security. The federal government hasn’t approved any product that prevents or treats COVID-19.

While myriad fake COVID-related products exist online, a new analysis from TexPIRG Education Fund found that the most common were for products using claims of antiviral or immune-boosting properties. The group looked at 34 warning letters issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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