TexPIRG 2024 program agenda

TexPIRG is an advocate for consumers, advancing solutions to problems that affect our health, our safety, and the quality of our lives.  This year we’re continuing our efforts to reduce the cost of health care, make the electric grid more reliable, stop wasteful highway expansion projects, defend consumers and more. 


Texas state capitol building
Pexels user Ruben Reyes | Public Domain

High Value Health Care

Male doctor speaking to a female patient in a hospital bed

Photo by National Cancer Institute | Unsplash.com

We live in a state with some of the best hospitals, doctors and medical technology in the world. But the simple truth is that Texans pay too much for health care, and get too little in return. Health care markets are highly consolidated, creating monopoly pricing without any demonstrated increases in quality. Texans pay two to three times as much as people in other countries for the same medicines. In addition, patients are unable to find prices before services are provided, further solidifying the power health systems have over patients. TexPIRG supports:

  • Creating a $100 out-of-pocket cap on the price of ambulance rides 
  • The Lower Costs, More Transparency Act (H.R.5378) and other federal legislation which would codify, strengthen, and expand agency rules requiring hospitals to post their prices and begin to institute site-neutral payments for Medicare services so providers charge the same price for the same service, regardless of location.
  • Eliminating unjustified charges like “facility fees” in doctor’s offices
  • Lowering the cost of prescription drugs by fighting patent abuse

Fix the Grid

Photo by Varistor60 | CC-BY-SA-4.0

Three years after Texas was struck by widespread blackouts, Texas’ electric grid remains vulnerable to extreme weather. Lightly regulated gas and pipeline companies refuse to invest in sufficient weatherization measures and often charge exorbitant prices. Too many of our homes and businesses are poorly insulated and use outdated, inefficient appliances and heating and cooling systems, putting enormous strain on the grid when we can afford it least. And because there are few ties between ERCOT and the national grid, we can import very little power when we need it. TexPIRG supports: 

Highway Boondoggles

Photo by austrini | CC-BY-2.0

Year after year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) proposes billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and key transportation priorities. TexPIRG is working to:

New Voters Project

Photo by Staff | TPIN

Our democracy works best when we all participate and everyone weighs in on who gets elected. We believe that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. TexPIRG’s campus program is working to register hundreds of students at UT Austin and other campuses to vote. 

Right to Repair

Six right to repair advocates holding signs that say "Let us fix our stuff," "Right to Repair," and "Farmers for Right to Repair."

Photo by Willie Cade | TPIN

When our stuff breaks, it means more cost to consumers, and also means more waste. Americans dispose of 416,000 cell phones per day, and only 15 to 20 percent of electronic waste is recycled. Manufacturer-imposed repair restrictions force farmers to rely on their dealership for many fixes of tractors and other equipment—even ones they could perform themselves with the proper information, tools, and software access. The goal of our Right to Repair campaign is to give every consumer, farmer and small business access to the parts, tools and service information they need to repair products so we can keep things in use and reduce waste. TexPIRG supports:

Consumer Protection

Photo by Staff | TPIN

We work to get dangerous products off store shelves, end exploitative practices and ensure a level playing field in the marketplace. TexPIRG supports:

  • The Federal Communications Commission taking more action to stop robocalls
  • The Comprehensive CREDIT Act, which is the gold standard for making credit bureaus more accountable to consumers, and will make it easier to fix mistakes on credit reports, restore credit and get free credit scores.
  • Protections for consumer’s data privacy

Get the Lead Out

Photo by Amanda Mills, USCDCP | Public Domain

Medical experts estimate that more than 24 million American kids are at risk of losing IQ points due to lead exposure. Our research finds many of these kids will be exposed to lead in their schools’ drinking water. TexPIRG is working to:

  • Get Texas school districts to ensure clean water for students
  • Get Texas water utilities to remove all lead service lines within ten years

End the Nicotine Trap

Vaping nicotine

Photo by Aleksandr Yu | Shutterstock.com

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. TexPIRG is calling on the:

  • FDA to protect public health by prohibiting the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, and other flavored tobacco products, and pulling e-cigarettes not yet reviewed off the market until they undergo the required public health review.

Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics

Photo by Fred Lehmann | Pixabay.com

Livestock producers are routinely giving antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster or help them survive crowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions. Overusing these drugs—in humans or animals—breeds bacteria resistant to the antibiotics, threatening the future effectiveness of these medicines, and putting our health at risk. TexPIRG is working to:

Zero Waste Future

Texas has a waste problem. Every day, we extract natural resources to produce goods that are used — often just for a few minutes — before they are thrown into landfills or incinerators or left to litter our communities and the environment. We need to move toward a zero waste future, which is why TexPIRG is working to reduce consumption, ensure products are built to last, and push for policies that ensure all materials are reused, recycled or composted in a continuous cycle. TexPIRG supports:

  • Texas cities boosting recycling and composting programs
  • The Texas Legislature passing a producer responsibility law, where manufacturers would be held financially responsible for the waste they create and would be required to support the collection, disposal, and cleanup of those products.