Houses passes bill; Senate vote the next hurdle
Washington, DC – As part of Sunshine Week, the House today passed Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D-Iowa) Plain Language Act (HR 946), which will require the federal government to write new documents in simple, easy-to-understand language. The bill passed the House by a widely bipartisan margin of 386-33. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
“There is no reason why the federal government can’t write these forms and other public documents in a way we can all understand,” Braley said. “Plain, straightforward language makes it easy for taxpayers to understand what the federal government is doing and what services it is offering.
“This bill shows what bipartisanship can accomplish when we put aside our differences and work together for the common good.”
The Plain Language Act requires the federal government to write all new publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents in a “clear, concise, well-organized” manner that follows the best practices of plain language writing. The Senate must now act.
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, seehttp://www.facebook.com/l/dd236;www.plainlanguage.gov.
Example #1: Medicare Fraud Letter (click link)
Example #2: FDA drug warning label (click link)
Example #3: IRS form (click links)