'Plain English' bill advances in Senate

Measure would require government documents to be clear, concise and free of jargon.

A bill intended to banish bureaucratic language from government letters, forms, brochures and other public documents was cleared Wednesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, would require that government documents be written in plain English, defined by the measure as that which "is clear, concise, well organized, and follows the best practices in language writing."

After passing the House 376-1 last year, a similar bill was on the verge of clearing the Senate in September when Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, placed a hold on the measure. Bennett said he was concerned about its possible effects on the Federal Election Commission.