Plain Writing legislative history:  

   Comparisons of Bill Versions
   Legislative History
   Media's Response: Blogs, etc.
   Historical Bibliography

Government use of plain language editing software:  

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Plain Writing Legislation: A Comparison of Bills

About | House Plain Language Bills, 2007-2010 | Senate Plain Language Bills, 2007-2010 |
  S 2291, Version #1 S 574, Version #1 S574, Version #2 

A Project of the Plain Writing Association


Senate bill 2291 (S. 2291)
110th Congress
Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007
Version #1, Introduced november 1, 2007
Click here to go directly to the bill (below).

Background

In the 110th Congress, shortly after the first plain language bill (short title, "Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007") had been introduced in the House, a similar bill—Senate Bill 2291 (S. 2291)—with same title was introduced in the Senate. The bill (shown below as Version #1) would die in the Senate, without amendment.

In the next term, the 111th Congress, similar legislation was introduced as S. 574, now entitled "Plain Writing Act of 2009." That bill would have one more version, but a House bill introduced with the same title would ultimately win passage by both houses of Congress as the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Public Law No. 111-274; 124 Stat 2861).

About Version #1

Version #1 (below) represents the (sole) version of Senate Bill 2291 (S. 2291) as it was originally introduced in the Senate by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) on november 1, 2007, and referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT), Chairman). On April 10, 2008, the committee ordered it reported favorably, without any amendment, to the full Senate, which was done on July 10, 2008, at which time the bill was placed on the Senate Calendar, under General Orders, Calendar No. 869. The bill died in the Senate, as no further action was taken on it.

(For a history of the legislative process by which the various plain language bills struggled through Congress and ultimately resulted in passage of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, see the Legislative History project of the Plain Writing Association by clicking here. The project also gives more details about the amendments made to the various versions.)

NOTE

     For purposes of this project, the Version #1 is the introduced version and any susequently reported versions, provided that they added no amendments. Version #2 is the amended version of Version #1; and so on. Thus, Version #3 would be an amended version of Version #2; and Version #4 would be an amended version of Version #3. In short, as long as a version of a bill does not change (for example, from the time it's introduced to the time it's reported out of a committee), it is treated as a single version.

     Each bill shown has indications of what material is different from the previous bill shown. Red with overstrike is what was in previous one but not in current one; green is what is in current but not in the previous one. These proofreading-like marks provide an excellent sense of the thinking that went into the process of revision and markup from one version to the next; this is not meant to suggest, however, that the actual revision necessarily utilized only the immediately preceding version.

      Sources of original versions include GovTrack.us and Thomas.LOC.gov


Scroll down to the bill (farther below).
P.W.A. PROJECTS

Plain Writing Association / Plain Writing Act / 
plain English star Plain Writing Legislation: A Comparison of Bills
      — This Project of the Plain Writing Association uses proofreading marks and side-by-side comparisons to show how the various versions of the major plain writing bills of the last few years evolved into the Plain Writing Act of 2010. (MORE)

Plain Writing Association / Plain Writing Act / 
plain English star Plain Writing Legislative History
      — This Project of the Plain Writing Association presents a legislative history of the passage of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, documenting the process by which failed plain-writing legislation in the 110th and 111th Congresses ultimately led to the Act. (MORE)

Plain Writing Association / Plain Writing Act / 
plain English star Government Use of Plain Language Editing Software
      — This Project of the Plain Writing Association is a separate website (writersupercenter.com/stylewriterforgovernment) which advocates the use of the ground-breaking plain-English editing software known as StyleWriter Software to assist government in writing more clearly and concisely, in compliance with the Plain Writing Act. (MORE)

Plain Writing Association / Plain Writing Act / 
plain English star The Media's Response to Plain Writing Legislative Efforts
      — This ongoing Project of the Plain Writing Association attempts to document the media's response to the legislative efforts leading to the Plain Writing Act of 2010.  Focusing mainly on the period from 2007 to 2010, the Project, arranged chronologically, presents links to articles and posts in blogs, newspapers, and other periodicals. (MORE)

Plain Writing Association / Plain Writing Act / 
plain English star A Historical Bibliography of the Plain Language Movement
      — This ongoing Project of the Plain Writing Association presents links to articles that cover the main categories of the history of the plain language movement within American government. (MORE)

A BILL

To enhance citizen access to Government information and services by establishing plain language as the standard style of Government documents issued to the public, and for other purposes.

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
       This Act may be cited as the ‘Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007’.
SEC. 2. PURPOSE.
       The purpose of this Act is to improve the effectiveness and accountability of Federal agencies to the public by promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
       In this Act:
     (1) AGENCY.—The term ‘agency’ means an Executive agency, as defined under section 105 of title 5, United States Code.
     (2) COVERED DOCUMENT.—The term ‘covered document’—
     (A) means any document (other than a regulation) issued by an agency to the public that—
     (i) provides information about any Federal Government requirement or program; or
  
   Bill Comparisons
S. 2291, 110th Congress
(FIRST PLAIN LANG. BILL IN SENATE;
ULTIMATELY FAILED)

(Only) Version #1
11/1/2007


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            Next bill shows markups           
comparing it with
this bill.

red with strike-through = deleted
green = newly added

   Legislative History
   Media's Response
   Use of Editing Software
     (ii) is relevant to obtaining any Federal Government benefit or service; and
     (B) includes a letter, publication, form, notice, or instruction.
     (3) PLAIN LANGUAGE.—The term ‘plain language’ means language that the intended audience can readily understand and use because that language is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices of plain language writing.
SEC. 4. RESPONSIBILITIES OF FEDERAL AGENCIES.
       (a) REQUIREMENT TO USE PLAIN LANGUAGE IN NEW DOCUMENTS.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, each agency shall use plain language in any covered document of the agency issued or substantially revised after the date of enactment of this Act.
       (b) GUIDANCE.
     (1) IN GENERAL.
     (A) DEVELOPMENT.—Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Office of Management and Budget shall develop guidance on implementing the requirements of subsection (a).
     (B) ISSUANCE.—The Office of Management and Budget shall issue the guidance developed under subpargraph (A) to agencies as a circular.
     (2) INTERIM GUIDANCE.—Before the issuance of guidance under paragraph (1), agencies may follow the guidance of —
     (A) the Plain English Handbook published by the Securities and Exchange Commission;
  
   Bill Comparisons
S. 2291, 110th Congress
(FIRST PLAIN LANG. BILL IN SENATE;
ULTIMATELY FAILED)

(Only) Version #1
11/1/2007


Switch to:
Previous (earlier ver. of this bill)
or
Next (subsequent bill)
(switch to House bill of app. same date)

            Next bill shows markups           
comparing it with
this bill.

red with strike-through = deleted
green = newly added

   Legislative History
   Media's Response
   Use of Editing Software
     (B) the plain language guidelines developed by the Plain Language Action and Information Network; or
     (C) guidance provided by the head of the agency that is consistent with the guidelines referred to under subparagraph (B).
SEC. 5. REPORTS TO CONGRESS.
       (a) INITIAL REPORT.—Not later than six months after the date of enactment of this Act, the head of each agency shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives a report that describes how the agency intends to meet the following objectives:
     (1) Communicating the requirements of this Act to agency employees.
     (2) Training agency employees to write in plain language.
     (3) Meeting the requirement under section 4(a).
     (4) Ensuring ongoing compliance with the requirements of this Act.
     (5) Designating a senior official to be responsible for implementing the requirements of this Act.
       (b) ANNUAL AND OTHER REPORTS.
     (1) AGENCY REPORTS.
     (A) IN GENERAL.—The head of each agency shall submit reports on compliance with this Act to the Office of Management and Budget.
  
   Bill Comparisons
S. 2291, 110th Congress
(FIRST PLAIN LANG. BILL IN SENATE;
ULTIMATELY FAILED)

(Only) Version #1
11/1/2007


Switch to:
Previous (earlier ver. of this bill)
or
Next (subsequent bill)
(switch to House bill of app. same date)

            Next bill shows markups           
comparing it with
this bill.

red with strike-through = deleted
green = newly added

   Legislative History
   Media's Response
   Use of Editing Software
     (B) SUBMISSION DATES.—The Office of Management and Budget shall notify each agency of the date each report under subparagraph (A) is required for submission to enable the Office of Management and Budget to meet the requirements of paragraph (2).
     (2) REPORTS TO CONGRESS.—The Office of Management and Budget shall review agency reports submitted under paragraph (1) using the guidance issued under section 4(b)(1)(B) and submit a report on the progress of agencies to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of Representatives—
     (A) annually for the first 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act; and
     (B) once every 3 years thereafter.



Plain Writing Legislation: A Comparison of Bills

About | House Plain Language Bills, 2007-2010 | Senate Plain Language Bills, 2007-2010 |
  S 2291, Version #1 S 574, Version #1 S574, Version #2 

A Project of the Plain Writing Association

Copyright © 2010-2011 Plain Writing Association