H.R. 4694/S. 2631, the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act, would strengthen federal standards for lead-contaminated dust or soil. This is a big deal, because a lot of federal housing still has lead paint in it, even though we've known for decades that any amount of lead a child takes in causes brain damage, and our regulations haven't kept up with the science. The Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act would add an "elevated blood lead level" standard to the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, and would update the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act to require HUD to conduct a proper lead paint risk assessment before letting a family with a child under 6 into federally-supported housing -- and a "visual inspection" of a property won't be assessment enough. And the bill would also end the exemption that "zero-bedroom housing" currently gets from lead paint standards. So CREDO helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act, and thus also support tougher lead-paint standards and healthier children.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is, as we speak, putting the finishing touches on rules that would limit the damage payday lenders could do to debtors -- which, as we know, generally involves gigantic fees and automatic loan roll-overs that keep working families in debt. Naturally, the payday lending industry is doing its damndest to fight new rules concerning payday and car title loans, among others, but really, this should be easy -- it's not often that our government helps good Americans defend themselves from unscrupulous lenders who aim to put them in a cycle of debt they can only escape with extreme difficulty. And any Congressdope who defends payday lenders (cough Debbie Wasserman-Schultz cough) should crumble before negative attack ads excoriating them as, oh, I don't know, objectively pro-greed. Or objectively pro-debt. Or objectively pro-financial predator. Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell the CFPB to enact the most vigorous possible curbs to payday lending abuses.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your Congressfolk to support S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, then the Friends Committee on National Legislation still helps you do that. (Note: you'll be telling your House Rep to support two bills that, taken together, do basically all the same things that the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would do.) Why do I keep tugging your elbow about a bill that flatly doesn't do everything we'd like a sentencing reform bill to do? Because the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act does represent progress -- it does provide relief from the mandatory minimums that make our judges less effective, that treat low-level drug offenders as if they're, oh, I don't know, banksters or something. And what did we learn from Nixon Administration official John Ehrlichmann? That the "war on drugs" has always been a lie, that our government knew it was a lie, and that our government invented it to discredit anti-war and civil rights protestors. So of course we should encourage our government to move in a more positive direction.