Friday, May 11, 2012
Rep. Bruce Braley has proposed the Plain Regulations Act, which would require federal agencies to use plain language in all new and substantially revised proposed and final regulations. In the May 2012 issue of the Michigan Bar Journal, Dr. Annetta Cheek, a veteran plain English advocate, counters arguments against the proposal—arguments that one often hears in any discussion of plain English proposals:
Criticism 1: A law requiring regulations
to be written in plain language would
be used to slow down or derail the
regulatory process by those who oppose
government’s role in regulating.
Criticism 2: It’s impossible to measure
compliance with the plain-language
requirement. Measurement will further
tie up the regulatory process.
Criticism 3: Plain language is imprecise.
Criticism 4: It’s too hard to write
regulations in plain language.
Senators Claire McCaskill, Tom Coburn, and Susan Collins have introduced a similar bill in the Senate.