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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Braley gets "plain language" bill out of committee

Freshman representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) has already gotten a bill out of committee in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Braley’s bill mandating “plain language” in government documents was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee just before the House adjourned for its spring recess.

Braley wants the government to write documents in “plain language” rather than bureaucratese. Next, there will be consideration on the House floor.

It sounds like a good idea. I don’t know how a law like this would be enforced, but maybe there are precedents at the state level I haven’t heard about. Anyone know the answer?

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New Obama Ad Touts Reform Efforts

On Iowa’s airwaves you’ll start seeing a new TV ad titled “Take It Back” touting reform efforts his campaign has taken to get rid of the influence of Washington lobbyists and PACs by not accepting donations from them to his campaign as well as highlight his work in the Senate on ethics reform efforts.  For some reason, I can’t find a version of the ad that I can embed here on Bleeding Heartland, but you can view the ad by clicking here.

It is a good ad that follows on the same theme/guidelines established in his first two biographical ads that went up on the air in Iowa, as in they help to keep telling the “Barack Obama story.”

What interests me about this ad is the highlighting of ethics and campaign finance issues as the primary focus in what is Obama’s first true issue ad in Iowa.  Will the issues really resonate with Iowans at this point?  I’m not sure.

Ethics and government reform were major Democratic campaign platforms in 2006 and were even considered to be one of the deciding issues in 2006 (right behind the catch-all issue of Iraq).  But now with House passing really comprehensive lobbying reform legislation (that will likely be passed in the Senate as is and sent to the President’s desk) it seems like Democrats are already taking big efforts to fully push through reform.

Maybe I’m just naive or way to focused on other issues like Iraq but to me the clean campaign Obama is running just makes logical sense and should be what all the campaigns are doing, and then other issues should become the real focus.

Either way, it is just a TV ad, and a good one.

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