The passage of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which calls on the agencies of the executive branch of the Federal government to write in plain language, was the direct result of primarily two bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives—and their companion bills introduced in the U.S. Senate—between 2007 and 2010.
The first set of bills, both introduced in the first (2007) session of the 110th Congress, were House Bill 3548 (H.R. 3548) and the companion Senate Bill 2291 (S. 2291). Both failed in their respective houses: the House bill stalled in the Senate after a House committee's amendment was approved and the bill was placed on the Senate Calendar; the Senate bill also made it out of its committee but went no farther than being placed on the full Senate's Calendar.
In 2009, modified versions of the two bills were introduced in the respective houses of the 111th Congress. The Senate bill (S. 574) again went no farther than the Senate Calendar, but the House bill (H.R. 946) triumphed, ultimately being signed by President Obama on October 13, 2010, and thus becoming law: Public Law No. 111-274; 124 Stat 2861.
The legislative history of those four bills is the subject of this history, which presents here a historical time-line along with legislative documents and videos of committee hearings, floor debates, and floor proceedings.
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 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)
Government Use of Plain Language Editing Software
This Project of the Plain Writing Association is a separate website (StyleWriterForGovernment.com) 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)
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)
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)
PLAIN ENGLISH SOFTWARE
StyleWriter For Government Website
Through our StyleWriterForGovernment.com website, PWA distributes plain-writing editing software to governments, businesses, organizations, and individuals. (MORE)
StyleWriter Editing Software
Working within MS Word, StyleWriter Editing Software converts any
kinds of written documents (reports, correspondence, contracts,
regulations, essays, etc.) into clear, concise, plain English... as
you write. StyleWriter
identifies and corrects more than 35,000 patterns of writing styles
and problems. (See DEMO)
...StyleWriter Software is currently used in the offices of numerous federal agencies, such as the FDA, EPA, and FAA, as well as within 100s of businesses, organizations, and universities worldwide — and by 1000s of individuals.
StyleWriter is helping to
change the culture of careless, unclear, and confusing writing. And
in the process, it is helping to save countless hours of work and
millions of dollars otherwise lost answering confused client
inquiries and complaints, clearing up foul-ups caused by
miscommunications, and repeating misunderstood requests.
Electronic Writing Course
We now have at our StyleWriterForGovernment website an Electronic Writing Course that can be used in conjunction with, or separate from, the StyleWriter Software. It's a thorough self-directed course in writing that provides employees with all they need to know to be proficient editors of their work and to make the most effective use of StyleWriter Software. (DETAILS)