The Center for Plain Language educates Congress, businesses and interested people about:

  • Why plain language is important–especially from government
  • How plain language saves time and money

Why should the government use plain language?

People need to understand what their government is doing. Democracy can’t work if they don’t. When federal agencies publish regulations and guidance in legalese, people can’t

  • Fill out forms or report data correctly
  • Access benefits that they need and are entitled too
  • Follow the law

When people or businesses don’t follow laws correctly, federal agencies need to follow up, figure out why and fix things. We believe that the follow-up-and-fix efforts cost time and money unnecessarily. If laws and regulations are written in plain language, people can understand and follow them confidently and correctly the first time.

During the previous Congress, the Plain Regulations Act (HR 1557/S807) was sponsored by former Representative Bruce Braley. If had become law, the Plain Regulations Act would have required agencies to write all new and substantially revised federal regulations in plain language.

Because we have moved into a new Congress, we will have to find someone to reintroduce a Plain Regulations Act. Any unfinished actions die at the end of a Congress.

There will be new players, so the wording of the Act is unlikely to be the same as the one introduced in the previous Congress. The Center will be talking to Members of Congress to educate them about the need for plain language regulations and hopefully we can identify new sponsors. If you have a Member you think might be supportive, please let us know. We’ll keep you posted as matters develop.