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McCaskill aims to require ‘plain English’ for federal regulations
McCaskill aims to require ‘plain English’ for federal regulations

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 23, 2012) — In her ongoing fight for stronger accountability and transparency in government, U.S Senator Claire McCaskill is aiming to shine more sunlight on public documents by making them available “in plain English.”

McCaskill today introduced the bipartisan Plain Writing Act for Regulations to require authors of federal regulations to use language that is clear, concise, well-organized and follows best practices appropriate to the subject or audience. McCaskill’s bill is cosponsored by Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and supported by the National Small Business Association and the Center for American Progress.

“Any time we make it easier for folks to access and understand government information that’s a good thing,” McCaskill said. “Accountability in government shouldn’t require folks to have to navigate the weeds of bureaucracy in order to get the most basic information. This bill is a simple way to lose the jargon and shine more sunlight on our democracy, as well as better hold government officials accountable.”

McCaskill’s legislation is an expansion of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which McCaskill cosponsored.  This bill directs federal agencies to write publically available documents in a more accessible manner. The bill strikes a balance between plain language and scientific accuracy, and would require agencies to implement writing standards within twelve months of the legislation’s enactment.

McCaskill recently honored Sunshine Week by expanding her efforts to bring about stronger accountability in government, including using the week to continue to fight for her plan for “cleaning up Congress.”  Her plan included a call to her colleagues to commit to a specific step, such as returning a set percentage of their allotted budgets, and establishing an independent watchdog to root out waste within the Senate.


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