California’s Tax Hike Makes The State’s Gas Prices The Highest In The Nation

By Larry Mantle, AIR TALK - KPCC 89.3FM SOCAL PUBLIC RADIO

July 1, 2019

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment: https://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2019/07/01/64644/california-s-tax…

California’s nation-leading gas prices are set to climb even higher Monday, when the state gas tax increases another 5.6 cents a gallon. 

California Lawmakers Move To Implement Newsom’s Utility Wildfire Plan

By J.D. Morris, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

June 28, 2019

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-lawmakers-propo…

Three Assembly members have introduced legislative language that would enact Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to address the wildfire crisis enveloping California’s electric utilities, setting off a political scramble to act quickly on one of the state’s most urgent and complicated problems.

Is Facebook Listening To Me? Why Those Ads Appear After You Talk About Things

By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY

June 27, 2019

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2019/06/27/does-faceboo…

My editor, Michelle, was at a birthday party for her son's friend recently, when the mom mentioned a company she liked called Joymode. Minutes later, an ad for Joymode appeared on Michelle’s Facebook news feed. 

Advocates Push FTC Crackdown On Secret Consumer Scores

By Harper Neidig, THE HILL

June 25, 2019

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/450084-advocates-push-ftc-crackdo…

Consumer advocates are pushing regulators to investigate what they paint as a shadowy online practice where retailers use consumer information collected by data brokers to decide how much to charge individual customers or the quality of service they’ll offer.

‘Dark Patterns’ Are Steering Many Internet Users Into Making Bad Decisions

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

June 25, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-dark-patterns-co…

Even if you’ve never heard the phrase “dark patterns,” you’re almost certainly familiar with them. They’re the sneaky ways online companies trick you into agreeing to stuff you’d normally never assent to.

FTC Said To Investigate YouTube Over Child Privacy Concerns

By Sophia Morris, LAW360

June 21, 2019

https://www.law360.com/consumerprotection/articles/1171401/ftc-said-to-…

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass, has welcomed the possibility of a Federal Trade Commission investigation into potential child privacy violations by YouTube, following media reports that the agency is looking into the streaming site's data collection practices.

California Wildfire Fund Would Put Aside $21 Billion for Damage Claims

By Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

June 21, 2019

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/business/energy-environment/newsom-c…

With the effects of climate change intensifying, California is under ever-greater siege from wildfires, often caused by the equipment that brings power to homes. One of the state’s utilities is already in bankruptcy largely because of the resulting liability claims.

In Policy Switch, Spectrum and AT&T Say If You Cancel Early, They’re Keeping Your Cash

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 23, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-cable-bills-2019…

The most-hated businesses in the country, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, are pay-TV companies and internet service providers, which frequently are one and the same.

Op-Ed: California’s Gas Prices Are ‘Pure Highway Robbery.’ Let’s Get Our Money Back

Op-Ed Commentary to the SACRAMENTO BEE by Jamie Court - President, Consumer Watchdog

May 21, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article230618564.html

Californians now pay an extra $1.17 per gallon at the gas pump more than other Americans. Three to four dimes per gallon may be attributed to higher taxes, carbon credits and environmental issues.

California Commissioner to Hold Hearing on Auto Insurance Groups And Premiums

By Staff Reporters, INSURANCE JOURNAL

May 14, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/05/14/526374.htm

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara plans to hold an investigatory hearing into how insurers’ use of occupational, educational, and other groups for setting automobile insurance rates affects insurance premiums for lower-income Californians.

The hearing is set for Sept. 17 at the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles.

Mercury Insurance must pay $27.5 million in fines, Calif. appeals court rules

By Bob Egelko, THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

May 7, 2019

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Mercury-Insurance-must-pay…

A state appeals court reinstated $27.5 million in state penalties against Mercury Insurance Co. on Tuesday for charging illegal broker fees in more than 180,000 transactions with auto insurance customers from 1999 to 2004.

Appellate Court Upholds $27M Penalty for Mercury Insurance

By Staff Reports, MYNEWSLA.COM

May 7, 2019

https://mynewsla.com/crime/2019/05/07/appellate-court-upholds-27m-penal…

Fourth District Court of Appeal justices Tuesday overturned an Orange County Superior Court judge’s ruling striking down $27 million in penalties imposed by former Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones against Mercury Insurance for broker fees he found were improperly added to rates.

Oil Groups Boost Spending As Newsom Takes Office, Locals Restrict Drilling

By Debra Kahn, POLITICO PRO

May 2, 2019

Several oil groups are ramping up their spending this year in California, including a $1 million ad campaign aimed at state and local restrictions on the industry, according to new state filings.

The heavy political spending comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom begins to flesh out his energy policies and local governments pass measures to curtail oil and gas drilling.

PG&E Says S.E.C. Is Investigating Its Wildfire Disclosures

By Ivan Penn, THE NEW YORK TIMES

May 2, 2019

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/02/business/energy-environment/pge-sec-…

LOS ANGELES — The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into Pacific Gas and Electric’s accounting for its losses related to three years of wildfires in Northern California, the utility reported to shareholders Thursday.

Specialty Status of HIV Medications Debated at Sixth Circuit

By Kevin Koeninger, COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

May 1, 2019

https://www.courthousenews.com/specialty-status-of-hiv-medications-deba…

CINCINNATI (CN) – An attorney representing a class of HIV-positive patients insured by BlueCross BlueShield argued before a Sixth Circuit panel Wednesday that the insurer’s designation of their prescriptions as specialty medications violates federal disability laws.

CA Insurance Commissioner Rejects Petition To Have Insurers Disclose Fossil Fuel Business

By Lyle Adriano, INSURANCE BUSINESS AMERICA

April 25, 2019

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/ca-insurance…

California insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara recently rejected a petition from over 60 public interest groups to have insurance companies operating in the state to disclose their fossil fuel business.