(Presentation) How to support the Plain Regulations Act (HR 1557 S 807)

806 views

Published on

How to support the Plain Language Act (HR 1557 and Senate 807)

There is currently a bill in Congress that would require government agencies to write regulations in Plain English. Today its just a bill (Remember your SchoolHouse Rock?) and we need your help to nudge congress to make it a law.

This presentation describes the bill, how you would benefit and what you can do to help this bill become a law.

There is an easy to print handout that you can also download with instructions for how to help and sample text for any letters you.

Note that it is tailored for Arizona (where I vote), so you will need to replace my Congressmen with yours, when you write your letters ...

Please feel free to download the presentation and use it to educate others. There will be a handout (also for AZ) right with sample letters posted here too.

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
806
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

(Presentation) How to support the Plain Regulations Act (HR 1557 S 807)

  1. 1. the Plain Regulations Act of 2013 and why you should care
  2. 2. Before we start think about the groups you belong to … • Employer or Business • Alumni group(s) • Church/Synagogue/Temple/…. • Professional Association(s) • Political Interest
  3. 3. Plain language is … Communication designed and written so that the audience can o Find what they need o Understand what they find o Know what to do next
  4. 4. Plain language is not … o Shortened or dumbed down o Simplified to the point of ambiguity o Easy to write
  5. 5. Plain language is a bi-partisan issue 80s 90s 00s Today Reagan Social Security makes Plain Language a priority for public notices. Lawyers, particularly Joe Kimble, start to get involved. Bush (43) Federal departments include the mandate to use plain language in their strategic plans. Thomson sponsors the Plain Language Forum PLAIN intra-agency council Carter Government regulations should be “cost-effective and easy-to- understand by those who were required to comply with them.” Clinton Government employees required to use Plain Language. No Gobbldeygook Awards SEC publishes the Plain English Handbook Nixon The Federal Register should be written in “Layman’s Terms” Obama Plain Writing Act passed in 2010 Plain Regulations Act is in committee on the hill 70s
  6. 6. Plain language in action Before This is a multipurpose passenger vehicle which will handle and maneuver differently from an ordinary passenger car, in driving conditions which may occur on streets and highways and off road. As with other vehicles of this type, if you make sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers, the vehicle may roll over or may go out of control and crash. You should read driving guidelines and instructions in the Owner’s Manual, and WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS AT ALL TIMES. Avoid extreme maneuvers and excessive speed. Always buckle up. See Owner’s Manual for Further Information. After This improvement was recognized In the NoGobbledyGook Awards
  7. 7. Warren Buffett Introduction to SEC Plain English Handbook (1998) Write with a specific person in mind. When writing the Berkshire Hathaway annual report, I picture my sisters, highly intelligent, but not experts in accounting or finance. They will understand plain English, but jargon may puzzle them. My goal is to give the information I would wish to receive if our positions were reversed. Plain language is a business issue.
  8. 8. What does the Act do? It will force agencies to write new and substantially revised federal regulations in plain language. Other provisions require agencies to take administrative actions, like training their staff. Most of those requirements are already part of an existing law, the Plain Writing Act (2010).
  9. 9. What will it do for you? Help you understand what our elected officials are really doing in Washington, DC.
  10. 10. What will it do for you? Save time and money.
  11. 11. It costs money when regulations are hard to understand. Lawyer Small Business Owners need to pay interpreters to figure out which laws apply to them and how to comply. Accountant Government employees spend time checking for misunderstandings and errors. More people make more mistakes. repeat Benefits Specialist
  12. 12. Why are we talking about it now? The Plain Regulations Act is in committee. HR 1557 To ensure the clarity of regulations to improve the effectiveness of Federal regulatory programs while decreasing burdens on the regulated public. Introduced by: Braley Referred to: Government Oversight and Reform S 807 To require that Federal regulations use plain writing that is clear, concise, and well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience. Introduced by: McCaskill Referred to: Homeland & Oversight Governmental Affairs Links to Schoolhouse Rock “I’m just a bill” in case you want a refresher of how this works… or a song in your head all afternoon.
  13. 13. How you can help … Write letters to your Congressmen saying 1. Plain language helps … Individuals citizens by reducing the administrative burden when you do business with the government. Organizations and businesses by making it easier (and less expensive!) to understand and comply with the laws. People in America understand what our elected officials are really doing in Washington. 2. Plain language saves money 3. Please co-sponsor the bill 5 August 2013 Dear Senator McCain, I’m writing to you as an Arizona voter to urge you to co-sponsor Senate Bill 807, the Plain Regulations Act. Insisting that Congress and Agency staff write regulations in plain language will reduce the administrative burdesn and save taxpayers money. …
  14. 14. Sample letter. Of course, your own words are better…. Dear I’m writing to urge you to co-sponsor [HR 1557 or Senate, S 807] Plain Regulations Act. Requiring the government to communicate clearly will reduce citizen and agency administrative burdens and save taxpayer money. People think that the public never really sees the language of regulations. But, when Federal employees create documents to help the public understand laws and regulations, they often quote the regulatory language directly. The language of some laws is so complicated, federal employees are afraid that by paraphrasing, they will misinterpret the rule themselves. As a result, language intended for lawyers trickles down into documents used by the American public. In addition, poorly written regulations cost taxpayers (me!) money: Citizens need lawyers, accountants and other technical experts to understand and comply with federal regulations. When regulatory language is hard to understand, people make more mistakes trying to comply. When people make mistakes, federal staffers have to spend more time processing documents. Documents may end up being processed, rejected, resubmitted and processed again due to simple misunderstandings. If, instead, regulations were written in plain language, people would know what to do and how to do it confidently the first time. Everyone will save time and money. Everyone will feel better about their government. Finally, as a citizen, I have a right to understand what my government is doing. If you wrote regulations in plain language, I would understand more. Plain language is an important, bi-partisan issue that will help everyone. Please co-sponsor this effort to get the government to communicate clearly to citizens. Sincerely, Sincerely, CC: Your Senators Your Representatives Claire McCaskill, Sponsor, Senate Bill 801 (c/o Elizabeth_Herman@mccaskill.senate.gov) Bruce Braley, Sponsor, HR 1557 (c/o Robert.Goldsmith@mail.house.gov) Annetta Cheek, Chair, Center for Plain Language (aclplain@gmail.com) Who should be CC-d? 1. Your Senators and Representatives 2. Keep McCaskill, Braley and Cheek on the list Download this letter here: http://www.slideshare.net /kstraub/handout-how- you-can-support-the- plain-regulations-act Find your Conggressmen’s addresses here: Your Senators’ Addresses: www.senate.gov/senators / Your Representatives’ Addresses: http://www.house.gov/re presentatives/
  15. 15. Send your “as a voter & tax payer” letters to o Your Senators (Addresses: www.senate.gov/senators/) o Your Representatives (Addresses: http://www.house.gov/representatives/) o McCaskill’s staffer: Elizabeth_Herman@mccaskill.senate.gov o Braley’s staffer: Robert.Goldsmith@mail.house.gov o Annetta Cheek, Chair, Center for Plain Language: letters@gmail.com Send these the old fashioned way, … on paper, in an envelope with a stamp. Send these via post or email. Hint: To cc: a handwritten your letter, take a picture of it with your smart phone or iPad and email the picture. Send electronic copies to:
  16. 16. Dear (Insert the name of your congressman), I’m writing to urge you to co-sponsor the Plain Regulations Act (S 807 or HR 1557). As (---A business owner, the Secretary for, ….describe your roles in any businesses or organizational leadership roles you have--) , I am affected by many different federal regulations (--complex tax roles, challenging new health care requirements, describe regulations that apply to you-- ) Regulations written in plain language would decrease my burden in two ways: 1. I would understand the laws and how to comply. While I may not agree with all the regulations that affect me, I want to follow the law. Some regulations are so complicated that I’m never confident that I am in compliance. Regulations in plain language would help feel confident I’m doing the things I need to. 1. It would cost my organization less to comply. Complying with the regulations is a major burden on my business. In many cases, I have to use accountants, benefits coordinators, attorneys, and others to help me comply with my federal obligations. I urge you to co-sponsor the Plain Language Act so that I can understand the laws that apply to my organization and to comply efficiently. The act will make Federal regulatory programs more effective while decreasing burdens on the regulated public. Sincerely, CC: Darrell Issa, Chair. House Committee on Oversight Your Representatives on the House Committee for Oversight Tom Carper, Chair, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Your Senators on the Homeland and Government Affairs Committee Claire McCaskill, Sponsor, Senate Bill 807 (c/o Elizabeth_Herman@mccaskill.senate.gov) Bruce Braley, Sponsor, HR 1557 (c/o Robert.Goldsmith@mail.house.gov) Annetta Cheek, Chair, Center for Plain Language (aclplain@gmail.com) Sample business letter. Of course, your own words are better…. Download this letter here: http://www.slideshare.net/kst raub/handout-how-you-can- support-the-plain-regulations- act Find your Congressmen’s addresses here: Your Senators’ Addresses: www.senate.gov/senators/) Your Representatives’ Addresses: http://www.house.gov/repre sentatives/
  17. 17. Send your “as business owner or organization leader” letters to o Your Senators (Addresses: www.senate.gov/senators/) o Your Representatives (Addresses: http://www.house.gov/representatives/) o Darell Issa, Chair House Committee on Oversight (Address next slide) o Tom Carper, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs (Address next slide) o Senators and Reps from your state who sit on either committee o McCaskill’s staffer: Elizabeth_Herman@mccaskill.senate.gov o Braley’s staffer: Robert.Goldsmith@mail.house.gov o Annetta Cheek: alcplain@gmail.com Board Chair, Center for Plain Language CC your letters to: Send these the old fashioned way, … on paper, in an envelope with a stamp. Send these via post or email. Hint: To cc: a handwritten your letter, take a picture of it with your smart phone or iPad and email the picture.
  18. 18. Committee Chair Addresses John McCain (R, AZ) Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs 241 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-0303 Paul Gossar (R, AZ) House Oversight Committee 504 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
 Darrell Issa, Chair House Committee on Oversight 2347 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Tom Carper, Chair Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee 513 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 If you don’t vote in AZ, replace these guys with yours that are on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (Senate) or the House Oversight Committee..
  19. 19. Please remember to send electronic copies of your letters to … o McCaskill’s staffer: Elizabeth_Herman@mccaskill.senate.gov o Braley’s staffer: Robert.Goldsmith@mail.house.gov o Annetta Cheek: alcplain@gmail.com Board Chair, Center for Plain Language Hint: If you handwrite your letter, take a picture of it with your smart phone or iPad and email the picture.
  20. 20. Want to learn or do more? Read an article about writing legislation in plain English http://www.michbar.org/journal/pdf/pdf4article2016.pdf Visit http://centerforplainlanguage.org/resources/plain-regulations-act/ Downloadable sample letters: o From individual - http://centerforplainlanguage.org/letter-from-individual/ o From businesses - http://centerforplainlanguage.org/letter-from-business- person/ If you have questions or want more information, email Annetta Cheek, the Chair of the Center for Plain Language – alcplain@gmail.com
  21. 21. Introduction to SEC Plain English Handbook (1998) Write with a specific person in mind. When writing the Berkshire Hathaway annual report, I picture my sisters, highly intelligent, but not experts in accounting or finance. They will understand plain English, but jargon may puzzle them. My goal is to give the information I would wish to receive if our positions were reversed. Buffet on plain language…
  22. 22. Committee memberships and DC addresses for AZ Congressmen
  23. 23. House Oversight Committee (113th Congress) Arizona AZ-1 Paul Gosar California CA-49 Darrell Issa, Chairman CA-12 Jackie Speier Washington, DC CA-29 Tony Cardenas Florida D.C. Eleanor Holmes Norton Georgia FL-06 Ron DeSantis FL-07 John L. Mica GA-07 Rob Woodall Illinois GA-09 Doug Collins IL-7 Danny K. Davis Kentucky IL-8 Tammy Duckworth Maryland MD-7 Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member Massachusetts KY-04 Thomas Massie MA-6 John Tierney Michigan MA-9 Stephen Lynch MI-11 Kerry Bentivolio MI-3 Justin Amash Montana MI-7 Tim Walberg North Carolina MO-1 Wm. Lacy Clay NC-10 Patrick T. McHenry New Mexico NC-11 Mark Meadows Nevada NM-1 Michelle Lujan Grisham New York NV-4 Steve Horsford Ohio NY-14 Carolyn Maloney OH-03 Michael Turner Oklahoma OH-04 Jim Jordan Pennsylvania OK-5 James Lankford PA-17 Matt Cartwright South Carolina PA-7 Pat Meehan Tennessee SC-4 Trey Gowdy TN-02 John J. Duncan TN-4 Scott DesJarlais Texas TN-5 Jim Cooper Utah TX-27 Blake Farenthold Virginia UT-03 Jason Chaffetz Vermont VA-11 Gerald Connolly Washington VT Peter Welch Wisconsin WA-04 Doc Hastings Wyoming WI-2 Mark Pocan WY Cynthia Lummis
  24. 24. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (113th Congress) Alaska Mark Begich Arkansas Mark L. Pryor Arizona John McCain Delaware Thomas R. Carper Kentucky Rand Paul Louisiana Mary L. Landrieu Michigan Carl Levin Missouri Claire McCaskill Montana Jon Tester North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte New Jersey Jeff Chiesa Ohio Rob Portman Oklahoma Tom Coburn Wisconsin Ron Johnson Tammy Baldwin Wyoming Michael B. Enzi
  25. 25. Washington addresses for Arizona elected officials Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (District 1) 330 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0301 Ron Barber (District 2) 1029 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0302 Raul M. Grijalva (District 3) 1511 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0303 Senators Jeff Flake 368 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-0305 John McCain 241 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-0303 Representatives (cont.) Paul A. Gosar (District 4) 504 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0304 Matt Salmon (District 5) 2349 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0305 David Schweikert (District 6) 1205 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0306 Ed Pastorn(District 7) 2465 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0307 Trent Franks (District 8) 2435 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0308 Kyrsten Sinema (District 9) 1237 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0309
  26. 26. Prepared by Kath Straub, PhD Board member Principal & Founder (Small business owner)
  27. 27. PS. If you need to get this song out of your head, now try this one …

×