Plain Regulations Act Introduced

April 25, 2013

stk318013rknLast week, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced the Plain Regulations Act of 2013 with the goal of simplifying federal regulations and reducing costs to small businesses. According to a 2010 study from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy, it costs small businesses with less than 20 employees more than $10,500 per employee to comply with federal regulations. When compared to their larger counterparts, it costs small firms over $2,800 (or approximately 36 percent) more for each employee.

This bill would require plain writing in all new and substantially revised proposed and final regulations issued by a federal agency. In the bill, plain language is defined as language that is clear, concise, well-organized, minimizes cross references, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience. The predecessor to the Plain Regulations Act was the NSBA-supported Plain Writing Act of 2010, also introduced by Rep. Braley, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in October 2010. The Plain Writing Act required the government to write publications, forms, and documents in clear and concise language. The Plain Regulations Act essentially would extend the requirements of the Plain Writing Act to federal regulations.