CALPIRG 2019 Legislative Agenda

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. Here are CALPIRG's 2019 legislative priorities.



Public Health 

Get The Lead Out Of Drinking Water 

No Californian should be exposed to lead or other known toxic chemicals in their drinking water. 

  • Last session the legislature required local water districts to test some drinking water outlets for lead at every school by summer 2019. California should expand testing to every school drinking water tap, require schools to take action to get the lead out, down to 1 part per billion, and help schools secure funding for lead remediation efforts. 
  • Ensure all Californians have access to safe, clean drinking water by establishing an ambitious new fund to clean up and prevent water contamination. 

Stop Antibiotic Overuse 

The World Health Organization warns that unless we take aggressive action to stop the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, we could be facing a post-antibiotic era in which common infections once again kill. 70 percent of medically-important antibiotics are sold for use on livestock, not people. A groundbreaking 2015 California law prohibited the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals starting in 2018, but so far data is weak on whether companies are truly following the law. 

  • Work with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to ensure that livestock farmers are following the new law eliminating unnecessary, routine uses of antibiotics.

Consumer Protection

High Value Health Care 

The United States spends nearly double what other wealthy countries spend on health care, and yet underperforms on many population health outcomes. Experts point to extraordinarily high prices, including hospital and provider prices, pharmaceuticals and devices, and administrative costs. We don’t use more health care, we just pay more for our health care. CALPIRG supports proposals to reduce or eliminate price gouging in the marketplace and increase the quality and efficiency of care. 

  • Protect consumers from unjustifiably high medical bills for emergency room visits and other services where experts agree price gouging may be occurring now 
  • Strengthen and expand California’s health insurance rate review policies so that state regulators can identify and reduce unnecessarily high health insurance rates 
  • Allocate the resources needed to implement Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order to save money on prescription drugs 

Personal Data Security And Control 

Consumers should be able to buy products on the marketplace 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 be misused. 

  • Strengthen and defend the California Consumer Privacy Act (2018), to give consumers more control over their own data and keep it secure from identity thieves. 
  • Expand upon the “Internet of Things” laws passed last year to give consumers assurance that as Internet-connected devices infiltrate our homes, recordings and data about our intimate daily lives does not end up in the hands of hackers.

A Healthy, More Liveable California 

21st Century Transportation 

California’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels put our health and safety at risk. The growth of cleaner technologies in California benefits both our environment and our economy. CALPIRG is working to increase clean, efficient transportation, including:

  • Direct the Air Resources Board to figure out how California should move towards 100 percent zero emission cars by 2040.
  • Incentivize school districts to purchase electric school buses as they replace polluting, diesel school buses. 

Connecting Housing To Transportation Choices

As our state’s population continues to grow, and the climate crisis grows more urgent by the day, Californians need affordable housing choices close to job centers and transportation options that improve our quality of life and allow Californians to drive less.
• Support legislation, including SB 50 by Senator Scott Wiener, to allow for more housing to be built near public transportation hubs and job centers.

Move Us Closer To Zero Waste

Californians throw away 6 pounds of trash every day, equivalent to almost 2200 pounds every year, roughly the weight of a subcompact car. It is up to all of us to find ways to use less, recycle and compost more, and responsibly dispose of our trash.

  • Ban the use of polystyrene in food takeout containers.
  • Adopt “right to repair” policies to allow consumers more options to fix their own stuff and reduce waste. 

Modernize the Vote

Increase Voter Participation 

California has enacted a number of reforms in recent years designed to remove needless barriers to voting and modernize our systems. The legislature should closely study lessons learned in the 2018 election and make improvements before 2020.

  • Expand the number of vote centers and/or conditional voter registration sites available for voters to both register and vote up to and on Election Day

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