The Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed updating the Lead Safe Housing Rule (for the first time in 17 years), and is now taking public comments on Sierra Club helps you tell the Department of Housing and Urban Development to issue the most vigorous new Lead Safe Housing Rule possible. HUD's proposal would reduce the allowable level of lead in publicly-assisted homes and apartments to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (or CDC), and would automatically reduce that level further if the CDC recommended doing so. All this is important, since there is no safe level of lead, and since lead causes (among other things) behavior and learning problems in children. Our government banned lead paint in 1978, of course, but that doesn't mean lead paint still doesn't lurk in a lot of old houses -- think of areas like basements, generally the last to be repainted. (Remember: if you've already left a public comment about the Lead Safe Housing Rule -- at regulations.gov, for example -- don't sign this petition as well. Doing that muddies the data.)
Meanwhile, Section 1201 of the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 criminalizes the breaking or circumventing of digital locks, so as to prevent people from pirating VHS tapes and DVDs. Trouble with that is that these digital locks have expanded well beyond these media -- they now show up in appliances that use software, such as cellphones and refrigerators, and these locks make it a lot harder to tinker with them, repair them, or improve them. They also make it harder for security researchers to test whether or not hackers can break into them, which is something you'd want to know about before it happened. But now the U.S. Copyright Office is taking public comments on whether it should recommend to Congress that it create permanent exemptions to DMCA Section 1201 -- exemptions that could include smartphones, computer software, and technologies that assist disabled folks. So the Electronic Frontier Foundation helps you tell the Copyright Office that copyright law shouldn't "punish research and repair," as EFF puts it (and it's a good way of putting it).