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Bill directing agencies to use 'plain' language advances

By Ed O'Keefe

By Joe Davidson, The Post's Federal Diary columnist:

Uncle Sam can make things so convoluted that Congress has approved a bill requiring him to be plainspoken.

The legislation, which passed the House and Senate this week, directs agencies to train employees on how to write plainly and appoints a "plain writing" official to oversee implementation of the measure.

Plain writing is defined as "writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience."

That's going to require a huge change in practice for many agencies.

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), the bill's sponsor, said that "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."

Leave your plainspoken thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 30, 2010; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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Impossible. Government is about diffusing responsibility to avoid accountability.

Good luck though.

Posted by: Over-n-Out | October 1, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

The governing bodies need to ensure that the governed can understand clearly and without doubt the laws, regulations and rules with which they're required to comply. We deserve that much consideration and if it takes a federal law to accomplish that, then so be it. Get rid of the legalese that allows government to so easily manipulate words and phrases in order to hide, by-pass or otherwise fool the public.

Posted by: Lilycat11 | October 1, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

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