Tag Archives: Bruce Braley
USDA Gets an “A;” VA Gets an “F” on First Plain Writing Act Report Card Released Today by the Center for Plain Language
Rep. Braley and the Center for Plain Language Release Report Card Grades at Telephone News Briefing
Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture received an “A” and the Veterans’ Administration received an “F” on the first Plain Writing Act Report Card released today by the Center for Plain Language, a nonprofit organization dedicated to clear communication in government, business, non-profits, and universities. (more…)
How well are federal agencies adhering to the Plain Writing Act? The Center for Plain Language is issuing a “report card” grading several federal agencies on how well they are implementing the Act. The results will be released at a telephone news briefing on Thursday, July 19, 12 noon, featuring Rep. Bruce Braley (IA), the main sponsor of the Act, and Annetta L. Cheek, PhD, chair of the Center for Plain Language, the nonprofit organization grading the federal agencies.
Washington Post, April 8, 2012
Center for Plain Language chair Annetta Cheek spoke with reporter Lisa Rein about progress in implementing the Plain Writing Act.
“Federal agencies must report their progress this week in complying with the Plain Writing Act, a new decree that government officials communicate more conversationally with the public.
Speaking plainly, they ain’t there yet.
When the Plain Writing Act of 2010 was passed, regulations were not included as part of the Act. That is, the federal government now has to write information that explain benefits and services in plain language, but regulations were omitted. But Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who sponsored the PWA, is back at it. He has introduced Plain Regulations Act (H.R. 3786), to require that regulations be written in plain language.
Why is this another important law?
Small businesses, in particular, waste millions of dollars hiring attorneys or trying to figure out themselves how to comply with regulations they don’t understand. Such overly complex and incomprehensible rules add to an inability to comply.
Braley wants to change that. As he says:
“Whether you like or loathe government regulations, I think everyone can agree that when ne exists it should be written as clearly as possible. Sadly, gobbledygook dominates the regulations issued by government agencies, making it almost impossible for small businesses to understand the rules of the road.
“The Plain Regulations Act would simplify rules, saving small businesses time and freeing up money that can be better used investing in growing the business and creating jobs.
“Simplifying regulations won’t eliminate the costs of compliance, but it will reduce them. And it’s an easy way to save small businesses money that can quickly attract bipartisan support.”
If you’re not convinced, imagine figuring out what this regulation from the construction industry means:
“On or after July 6, 2010, all renovations must be performed in accordance with the work practice standards in §745.85 and the associated recordkeeping requirements in §745.86(b)(1) and (b)(6) in target housing or child-occupied facilities, unless the renovation qualifies for the exception identified in §745.82(a)” with the sub-exception that “emergency renovations are not exempt from the cleaning requirements of §745.85(a)(5), which must be performed by certified renovators or individuals trained in accordance with §745.90(b)(2), the cleaning verification requirements of §745.85(b), which must be performed by certified renovators, and the recordkeeping requirements of §745.86(b)(6) and (b)(7).”
That gave me a headache.
Watch for opportunities to comment on the new bill. Be ready to write/phone/email your Congress people. Share this news with all small businesses. And let Rep. Braley know you appreciate all his efforts on our behalf.
(January 4, 2011) Congressman Bruce Braley (Iowa) sent a letter to Republican leaders encouraging a change to their proposed Rules of the House. Congressman Braley asked them to add a provision that would require Committees to post a Plain Language section-by-section summary of all bills on their public websites 72 hours before a bill is considered on the House Floor.
“This Plain Language requirement will give Iowans, and all Americans, a better understanding of what Congress is working on,” said Braley. “Taxpayers have a right to see, in plain, straightforward language, how the federal government is spending their money and to hold legislators accountable.”
Last year, Congressman Braley introduced the Plain Writing Act (H.R. 946), which was signed into law on October 13, 2010 with overwhelming bipartisan support.
- Contact your representatives and let them know you support this rule
Center for Plain Language Announces that President Obama Has Signed the Plain Writing of Act of 2010
For Release: October 14, 2010
Contact: Sheri Singer
Act requires federal government to write documents in simple language
Silver Spring, MD – As a long-time advocate for plain writing, the Center for Plain Language (www.centerforplainlanguage.org) is delighted to announce that President Obama has signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The bill requires the federal government to write documents, such as tax returns, federal college aid applications, and Veterans Administration forms in simple language. The Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March and the Senate in September.
“This is a triumphant moment for all those who support plain language use,” said Annetta Cheek, PhD, Chair, Board of Directors, the Center for Plain Language. “The Act defines plain writing as writing that the audience can understand and use because it is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices of plain writing.”
The Center is grateful to Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) and Senator Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii) for their leadership in getting the Act passed.
“The Plain Writing Act requires a simple change to business-as-usual that’ll make a big difference for anyone who’s ever filled out a tax return or received a government document,” said Representative Braley. “This bill shows what bipartisanship can accomplish when we put aside our differences and work together for the common good. 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.”
The Act improves the effectiveness and accountability of Federal government by promoting clear government communication that the public can understand and use.
“Americans lose time and money because government instructions, forms, and other documents are too complicated,” said Senator Akaka. “The Plain Writing Act requires agencies to write documents which are clear, well organized, and understandable, leading to fewer customer service questions and increased compliance, making the government more efficient.”
The Center for Plain Language is a nonprofit organization comprised of individuals who encourage the use of clear, concise language in business and government.
“With so many new laws and regulations coming out of Washington, this Act is vital to making government serve the American people. It is a huge step forward,” said John Spotila, Chief Executive Officer of R3i Solutions, a Center board member and former Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “Working together from start to finish will continue to be the key to our success.”
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Example #1: Medicare Fraud Letter: http://www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/before_after/medicarefraudltr.cfm
Example #2: FDA drug warning label: http://www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/before_after/overctrdrug.pdf
Example #3: IRS form
About the Center for Plain Language
The Center for Plain Language has long supported the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The D.C.-based Center is a nonprofit organization that wants government and business documents to be clear and understandable. The Center supports those who use plain language, trains those who should use plain language, and urges people to demand plain language in all the documents they receive, read, and use.
The Center for Plain Language, long-time advocate for plain writing, applauds the U.S. Senate for passing the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The bill requires the federal government to write documents, such as tax returns, federal college aid applications, and Veterans Administration forms in simple language. The Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2010. The amended Senate bill goes back to the House for final approval. (more…)
Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is on a mission. A bill to deliver loans to small business across the country, passed by the House, includes a requirement that all the public documents be written in plain language.
Here’s Representative Braley speaking on the floor of the House: (more…)