Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Plain Language in Government Communications

The Law Librarian Blog included a posting on a number of new articles on LLRX.  One that caught my eye was on pending federal legislation that would require the use of plain language in government documents.  Click here to read that blog entry.

The proposed legislation is the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2008 (H.R. 3548, S. 2291).

What struck me most about this effort to mandate the use of plain language in government documents is that seemed so familiar--from ten years ago. 

On June 1, 1998, President William Clinton sent a memorandum to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies requiring the use of plain language in government writing.  This memorandum was published at 63 Fed. Reg. 31,885 (1998). 

I liked the order so much that I included a copy of it in my own book (Introduction to Legal English, published by the International Law Institute).  [I happen to have a copy of that here with me in Mexico right now, where I am teaching an introductory course on U.S. law at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.]

The battle for plain language in government documents obviously continues.

Here are the other new articles from LLRX, as listed by our helpful friends at the Law Librarian Blog.  (Really, what WOULD we do without librarians!)

  • The Art of Written Persuasion: The Rise of Written Persuasion, by Troy Simpson
  • The Government Domain: Plain Language in Government Communications, by Peggy Garvin
  • Keeping Up with Class Actions: Reports, Legal Sites and Blogs of Note, by Scott Russell
  • A Little Grafting of Second Life into a Legal Research Class, by Rob Hudson
  • CongressLine: Running for Congress, by Paul Jenks
  • LLRX Book Review by Heather A. Phillips - A Guide to HIPAA Security and the Law, by Heather A. Phillips
  • Conrad Jacoby's E-Discovery Update: Attorneys, Experts, and E-Discovery Competence, by Conrad J. Jacoby
  • FOIA Facts - My Proposal: FOIA Litigation Reporting Requirements, by Scott A. Hodes
  • Burney's Legal Tech Reviews - Gadgets for Legal Pros: Ergotech "Convertible" Monitor Arm and Canary Wireless Digital Hotspotter, by Brett Burney
  • Commentary: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007

Click here for a link to the Law Librarian Blog, which will take you to links to each of the articles listed above.

Hat tip to the Law Librarian Blog.



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