Updates

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).

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

How to refund concert tickets, prevent ID theft during COVID-19

AUSTIN-- In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, American consumers are experiencing numerous public health and financial challenges, including virus-related scams, fake products promising cures and price gouging. To help address concerns as they arise, TexPIRG Education Fund is publishing new tip guides each week to help people navigate this crisis.

CAMPO approves $633 million funding diversion for highway boondoggle

By | Lauren Banister
Transportation Associate

On Monday, April 20th, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) voted to divert funding from approved mobility improvement projects to fill a $633 million funding gap in the I-35 reconstruction project.  Lauren Banister, TexPIRG Transportation Associate, offered testimony at the meeting.

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

How to save money and make safer online purchases during COVID-19

In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, American consumers are experiencing numerous public health and financial challenges, including virus-related scams, fake products promising cures and price gouging. To help address concerns as they arise, TexPIRG Education Fund is publishing new tip guides each week to help consumers navigate this crisis.

News Release | TexPIRG | COVID-19

TexPIRG Statement on Judge Sulak's Ruling for Expanded Absentee Ballots

Today, Judge Tim Solak said he would issue a temporary injunction expanding who can qualify for an absentee ballot in upcoming Texas elections.

The following can be attributed to Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director. 

"No one should have to choose between their safety and their right to vote. We're pleased to see that Judge Sulak has said he will expand vote-by-mail eligibility to make it safer for Texans to participate in the upcoming elections. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, we encourage the Governor and our legislators to follow the court's lead and create a plan to ensure every Texan can vote safely in November."

What does the stimulus check mean to you?

By | Lauren Banister
Transportation Associate

This week marks the first week that people will start seeing the $1,200 stimulus check in their bank accounts as a result of the CARES Act passed last month. This made me wonder -- now that people are starting to see this financial stimulus in their bank accounts, how do they plan to use it?

Adjusting to new traditions during coronavirus

By | Lauren Banister
Transportation Associate

Associate Lauren Banister talks about her experience adjusting to the new normal during Passover.

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

9 Texas legislators demand Amazon, other online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

A bipartisan group of nine Texas legislators are calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Together, 346 legislators representing 45 states, joined TexPIRG Education Fund in sending a letter Tuesday urging Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis. Less than two weeks ago, 33 attorneys general sent a similar letter to the same companies.

“We believe you have an ethical obligation and patriotic duty to help your fellow citizens in this time of need by doing everything in your power to stop price gouging in real-time,” the letter reads, in part.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the cost of critical health supplies has spiked dramatically on online platforms. An analysis last month from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that existing monitoring on Amazon’s platform was not preventing significant price hikes. In particular, the cost of most hand sanitizers and masks rose at least 50 percent higher than the 90-day average. Since then, more than 335,000 Americans have signed PIRG’s petition calling on Amazon to protect consumers from price gouging.

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