Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced the Plain Writing Act of 2009 yesterday. The bill will require the federal government to write public documents more clearly. Agencies would have to write new or substantially revised documents that are issued to the public in way that is clear, well organized, and understandable.
Senator Akaka said: “The American people and businesses waste time and money because government instructions, forms, and other documents are too complicated. This is a common sense measure to address that problem.
“The new Administration shows an appreciation for transparency and accountability. The American people need to be able to understand what government documents say in order to hold the federal government accountable.“
By requiring agencies to write in plain language, the legislation’s goal is to make the government more transparent and more efficient, allowing agencies to spend less time answering customer service questions and obtain better compliance.
Senators George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Delaware), Carl Levin (D-Michigan), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), and Jon Tester (D-Montana) are cosponsors of the legislation. Representative Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 946.
Senator Akaka is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.