20 Oct 2010 Obama Signs “Plain Writing Act of 2010” into Law
On October 14, President Obama signed H.R. 946, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (the “Act”) into law. The Act requires all government agencies, including the IRS, to draft “covered” public documents in “plain writing.”
“Covered” documents include documents that – (i) are necessary for obtaining any Federal Government benefit or service or filing taxes; (ii) provide information about any Federal Government benefit or service; or (iii) explain to the public how to comply with a requirement the Federal Government administers or enforces. Further, the definition of “covered document” explicitly includes letters, publications, forms, notices, and instructions, but explicitly excludes “regulations.” Lawmakers defined “plain writing” as language that “is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience.” The Act requires compliance by government agencies within 1 year of enactment.
While the Act was approved by a vast majority in the House and Senate, there is some concern that implementation of the Act will be too difficult, causing it to become virtually unenforceable. However, pushing public access to simple, understandable versions of government documents clearly furthers a laudable cause.Disclaimer: This blog and website are public sources of general information concerning our firm and its lawyers, as well as the information presented. They are intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and up-to-date as of the date posted. This blog and website are not intended to be, and are not, sources of legal opinion or advice. The materials, information, and communications on this blog and website do not apply to any particular person, entity, or situation, and do not apply to you or to your specific situation. You will need to consult with an attorney and/or other appropriate professional about your specific situation. Thank you.