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Plain Writing – required by law!

On Monday, September 27th, the US Senate took an important step toward ensuring that government publications, forms, and documents are written in a way that everyone can understand by passing the Plain Writing Act of 2010. 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 language writing.

According to OMBwatch.org, the bill will require agencies to:

  • Designate a coordinator to oversee its efforts to use plain language
  • Better train employees to follow plain language guidelines to be provided by the Office of Management and Budget
  • Report to Congress on compliance

This bill was a long time in the making—6 years and 3 Congresses! The champions of the bill were Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), but the Center for Plain Language and the Plain Language Action Information Network (PLAIN) provided the leadership and commitment needed to get the bill introduced and passed.  CommunicateHealth would like to thank the Center and PLAIN for their tireless efforts in making this bill a reality. This is one important step towards providing all Americans with what they deserve – information from their government that is easy to understand and use.

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