Pretty big news...
Senate Passes Braley Plain Language Act
Bill to Simplify Public Documents Receives Unanimous Consent
Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley announced today the US Senate passed
the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (H.R. 946) late Monday night. The bill
requires the federal government to write documents, such as tax returns,
federal college aid applications, and Veterans Administration forms in
simple easy-to-understand language. Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) had
placed a hold on the bill for months, but recently agreed to lift it after
Braley met with him personally.
"The Plain Writing Act requires a simple change to business-as-usual
that’ll make a big difference for anyone who’s ever filled out a tax
return or received a government document," said Representative Braley.
"This bill shows what bipartisanship can accomplish when we put aside our
differences and work together for the common good. Writing government
documents in plain language will increase government accountability and
will save Americans time and money. Plain, straightforward language makes
it easy for taxpayers to understand what the federal government is doing
and what services it is offering."
In June, Braley met with Bennett to discuss the bill’s merits and try to
alleviate any of Bennett’s concerns. After making minor changes, Bennett
lifted his hold and the bill passed last night by unanimous consent. The
amended Senate version will now go back to the House for final passage.
The Plain Writing Act requires the federal government to write new
publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents in a “clear,
concise, well-organized” manner that follows the best practices of plain
Braley introduced the Plain Language Act in February 2009. The bill
passed the House by a widely bipartisan margin of 386-33.
Examples of Plain Language in Use: Before and After
Here are three before-and-after examples of how plain language was applied
to federal documents to make them easier to understand. For more
examples, see http://www.plainlanguage.gov
a href="http://www.plainlanguage.gov/" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(28, 81, 168);">http://www.plainlanguage.gov/>.
Example #1: Medicare Fraud Letter (click link)http://www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/before_after/medicarefraudltr...
Example #2: FDA drug warning label (click link)http://www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/before_after/overctrdrug.pdf
Example #3: IRS form (click links)