House approves Braley's "plain language" bill

Last month I posted about the “plain language” bill that Congressman Bruce Braley (D, IA-01) shepherded out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Des Moines Register’s Jane Norman reports that the House approved the bill on April 14 by a vote of 376-1:

“Some find it unusual that this plain language bill was introduced by someone who practiced law for 20 years before going to Congress,” [Braley] said. But he added that clear language has been a passion of his since 1983, when the Iowa Supreme Court adopted plain language requirements for jury instructions.

The bill would apply to many complex government documents that citizens now find tough to understand, including letters from Social Security, Medicare or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Braley told reporters that he worked closely with Rep. William Sali, an Idaho Republican, on the bill, and that Sali was the one who proposed amending it to make it clear that Internal Revenue Service documents will be included.

Norman wrote that a similar bill in the U.S. Senate has already been voted out of committee.

I should note that while Sali can be a real jerk at times, it’s good that he was able to work with Braley and help bring the GOP along on this sensible government reform.

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