CONSUMER CATCH-UP: 'Pricing discrimination' bill up for vote, half of college students experience food and housing insecurity, and most seniors will not be able to afford basic expenses by 2029

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California State Senate to vote on bill banning gender-discriminatory pricing for goods and services

A bill tackling "pricing discrimination" is up for a vote at the Capitol on Tuesday.

SB 320, introduced by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) amends the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995. That act banned businesses from charging different prices for similar services, such as dry cleaning or hair styling, on the basis of gender. SB 320 is focused on products, reading, "This bill would also prohibit a business establishment from discriminating against a person because of a person's gender with respect to the price charged for goods of a substantially similar or like kind."

Half of college students food, housing insecure

Basic needs such as housing and food are difficult to obtain for about half of college students, according to a new study.

The Hope Center for College Community and Justice at Temple University in Philadelphia conducted its annual #RealCollege survey, the country's largest assessment of basic needs security among students. The survey captured data on 86,000 students and 123 colleges.

The study found that 45 percent of college students were "food insecure" in the 30 days prior the survey. According to the Hope Center, "food insecurity" is "the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, or the ability to acquire such food in a socially acceptable manner. The most extreme form is often accompanied by physiological sensations of hunger." The majority of food insecure students stated that they worried they would run out of food before they got money to buy more, or that they couldn't afford to eat balanced meals.

56 percent of college students were "housing insecure" in the previous year, meaning they were not able to pay for rent or utilities, or had to move frequently. 17 percent were homeless.

The study also found that students attending two-year colleges had higher rates of insecurity than those attending four-year college. Many factors contributed to these high rates of insecurity, including the high cost of college, housing, and food, plus stagnant wages for students who work.

Most seniors will be unable to afford basic living expenses in 2029

More than half of middle-income seniors will not be able to pay for basic living expenses in the next ten years, according to Health Affairs.

The new study looks at those who will be ages 75 and over in 2029, earning between $25,001 and $74,298. With the rising costs of healthcare and housing, researchers estimated that while most seniors in that range will have annual financial resources of $60,000, the average cost of assisted living will be $62,000 - out of range for most.

Middle-income seniors are a group often overlooked, say the study's authors. "The low-income cohort has been taken care of by tax subsidies, while the high-income cohort is largely self-sufficient. But the middle-income seniors have been ignored," said Beth Burnham Mace, chief economist at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care.

The study's authors noted that medical technology is prolonging human life, but also increasing the number of years seniors may need medical care or assisted living. Changing societal factors such as lower birth rates and the increase of adult children who live far away from their parents also contribute to seniors' growing reliance on paid care.

Written by Simone Chavoor

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