Consumer Federation of California
|Consumer Federation of California|
Recent CFC legislative issues include: protecting consumers' medical privacy and financial privacy, reforming accounting industry practices, enabling patients to sue HMOs for denial of care, holding homebuilders accountable for construction defects, prohibiting manufacturers from keeping secret vital safety information about defective products, removing toxic chemicals from California furniture, enacting cell phone users' rights and fighting to prevent the deregulation of telecommunications in California for VOIP and IP-enabled phones, strengthening food safety laws, and calling on state lawmakers to crack down on for-profit, private colleges that hoodwink students into programs that promise career advancement, yet deliver worthless diplomas and pile on debt that can lead to financial ruin.
CFC serves the public in several ways:
Advocating for laws that ensure consumer protection Advising elected officials on laws concerning consumers Directing consumer complaints to the appropriate government agency or non-profit
CFC members choose delegates to a governing convention biyearly. The governing convention adopts policies and elects Officers and a Policy Board. The President and Policy Board govern the CFC, while day to day operations are lead by the Executive Director, whom is chosen by the Policy Board.
Position on 2012 Ballot Measure Propositions
CFC Supports Proposition 30: Restores Education Funding
Provides $8.5 billion a year in funding to public schools, public colleges and universities and public safety programs. Raises personal income taxes for seven years on individuals earning over $250,000 per year and couples earning over $500,000 per year filing joint returns. Temporary ¼% sales tax increase for four years. Without this initiative, K-12 education, community colleges, CSU and UC face devastating cuts. While the recession has squeezed middle class incomes, the concentration of wealth at the very top has increased. Prop 30 asks the top 2% of income earners to pay a bit more to keep schools and colleges open.
CFC Opposes Proposition 32: Exempts Super PACs from Campaign Finance Limits
Funded by billionaires, Proposition 32 deceptively claims the measure will rein in campaign contributions from both unions and corporations. In truth, the one-sided measure will strangle union members from joining together to contribute to campaigns, but it does nothing to stop the flow of money from the wealthy. Proposition 32 exempts secretive Super PACs and corporate front groups from raising unlimited amounts of money to support their candidates and defeat their opposition. The result: even more politicians owned by the big business, cutting education, carving out corporate tax loopholes, and catering to polluters.
CFC Opposes Proposition 33: Raises Auto Insurance Costs on Good Drivers
Funded by Mercury Insurance's billionaire Chairman George Joseph, Prop 33 is nearly an identical replay of Mercury's unsuccessful 2010 initiative, Prop 17, that was aimed at raising auto insurance costs on millions of drivers. Prop 33 would allow insurance companies to charge higher rates to customers with perfect driving records if they have not purchased auto insurance at some point in the past five years. Drivers must pay this unfair penalty even if they did not own a car or need insurance at the time. It discriminates against people who have been ill, unemployed, students entering the workforce, or those who are eco-friendly by taking public or other transportation, and then need car insurance to drive again.
CFC Opposes Proposition 38: Tax Hike on Working Poor and Middle Class
Funded by a billionaire, Prop 38 would raise taxes on low and moderate income Californians to fund early childhood and K-12 education. Perhaps well-intended, Prop 38 fails the test of tax fairness. It punishes poor Californians who are struggling to survive by permanently raising taxes on taxable incomes as low as $7,316 a year. The measure provides no funding for community colleges and public universities. It stands in sharp contrast to Prop 30, which targets the top 2% of income earners for a temporary tax hike to fund K-12 schools and public higher education.
CFC Supported Bills in 2012
SB 1208 (Leno) is sponsored by CFC and would require publicly traded corporations to disclose the retirement compensation of the company’s five most highly compensated retirees.
SB 491 (Evans), co-sponsored by CFC, would have provided access to class arbitrations to settle consumer contract disputes. The bill was introduced to clarify California’s ability to regulate unconscionable contract terms within the limits of a US Supreme Court decision in AT&T v. Concepcion.
SB 1170 (Leno) would regulate providers of annuity products to elderly veterans, eliminating predatory marketing practices that have steered veterans into unsafe investments at exorbitant fees.
SB 956 (Lieu) would require Buy Here Pay Here dealerships to obtain a California Finance Lenders license from the Department of Corporations.
SB 890 (Leno) would require that debt buyers have essential information about a debt before they try to collect it or bring a lawsuit, and share that information with the consumer on request.
SB 1538 (Simitian) would provide a notification requirement ensuring a woman is aware of her breast density so she can make informed decisions about her healthcare.
AB 2296 (Block) would require for-profit colleges to report accurate job placement success rates and average salaries earned by graduates.
AB 2006 (Perez) would authorize state-chartered credit unions to provide financial services to Californians who do not have bank accounts.
AB 1447 (Feuer) would prohibit a car dealer from forcing the buyer to pay in person and require that Buy Here Pay Here dealers issue warranties on each car.
AB 1534 (Wieckowski) would require Buy Here Pay Here dealerships to display on the vehicle the fair market value of the vehicle.
AB 1830 (V.M. Pérez) would enable the CPUC to provide mobile home park residents with safeguards against unreasonable water service rates.
AB 2149 (Butler) would create a statewide policy against non-cooperation in settlement agreements in any cases alleging a violation of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.
AB 40 (Yamada) would help ensure abuse involving the elderly and dependent adults is properly handled by mandating the cases be reported to both the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman and local law enforcement.
AB 1648 (Brownley) would increase transparency in campaigns and elections, requiring disclosure of political advertisement donors.