Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 becomes law.

Our good buddy Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian blog reports that the Plain Writing Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday, October 13.  The law, 111th  Congress (2009-2010) H.R. 946, requires all federal executive agencies to:  

(A) designate 1 or more senior officials within the agency to oversee the agency implementation of this Act; 

(B) communicate the requirements of the Act to the employees of the agency;

(C) train employees of the agency in plain writing;

(D) establish a process for overseeing the ongoing compliance of the agency with the requirements of this Act; [and]

(E) create and maintain a plain writing section of the agency's website as required under paragraph (2) that is accessible from the homepage of the agency's website.

You can read the full text here.


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Public Law 111-274, the Plain Writing Act of 2010, probably adds another layer of bureaucracy to government. But at least this time it is for the purpose of simplifying rather than complicating. We hope, however, that there will not be so much simplifying of the language as to leave us with too little information. The problem with much of what government writes is not so much that it is unclear as that it is unnecessary, unconstitutional, unrealistic, disincentivizing, deceptive, and dishonest. But perhaps if it is written more clearly, at least we'll be better able to see just how bad not only are its words but also are the laws upon which it is based. I administer the Honest Government blogs (at and have been pushing Federal agencies to use editing software to write their documents (see

Posted by: Irwin Berent | Nov 30, 2010 4:40:39 PM

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