WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that guidance, instructions, and other public information published by the federal government is written in plain language. The bill updates existing laws to expand the types of information agencies must publish publicly in plain writing.
“The last thing Michiganders and Americans who are seeking assistance from the federal government need is to be confused by vague and complicated information,” said Senator Peters. “By ensuring that material written by the federal government is easy to understand – this bipartisan bill will make sure agencies can rebuild trust in government by effectively communicating with taxpayers.”
The Clear and Concise Content Act updates the Plain Writing Act of 2010 to expand the types of information agencies must publish publicly in plain writing. The bill creates a broad definition of “covered content” to ensure nearly all information, guidance, instructions, and other material public information are drafted in plain writing. The bill requires new data reporting requirements to ensure information published by federal agencies improves taxpayers’ experience when they are interacting with the government. The bill also requires that all new and existing agency websites meet covered content requirements within one year. Finally, the legislation makes clear that Congress and the Office of Management and Budget will increase public accountability to ensure agencies create documents, forms, webpages, and other materials that are plainly written.
The legislation builds on Peters’ efforts to ensure government is working effectively for all Americans. He recently convened a hearing on how the federal government can more effectively provide access to critical services and benefits for people across the country. Peters’ bipartisan bill to save taxpayer dollars by ensuring federal property assets are disaster resilient has advanced in the Senate. As a part of the American Rescue Plan, Peters secured $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund to modernize federal government systems that deliver critical services, like unemployment insurance, to Americans. Peters’ provision to help save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals was signed into law last Congress. A law written by Peters to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act has saved taxpayers more than $450 million since 2016.