House and Senate committees are currently reviewing two bills that call for federal agencies to use simpler, clearer language in public documents. Both H.R. 946, the “Plain Language Act of 2009” and S. 574, the “Plain Writing Act of 2009” have been proposed in order . . .
As reported by the Center for Plain Language, this is the second go-around for these bills, which were introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) in the House and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) in the Senate. The previous attempt to pass similar legislation in 2008 led to its passage in the House, but the Senate version did not make it out of committee for a vote. If passed, the legislation would require federal agencies to ensure that their public documents in print and electronic form are written using language that can be understood by their intended audiences — that is, the general public.
So what is “plain language,” and what does it mean for you?