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File #: 2015-1769    Version:
Type: Resolution Status: Passed Finally
File created: 6/22/2015 In control: Committee on Finance and Law
On agenda: 6/23/2015 Final action: 7/21/2015
Enactment date: 7/21/2015 Enactment #: 497
Effective date: 7/30/2015    
Title: Resolution calling on the City of Pittsburgh to adopt the Principles of Plain Language, and a Graphic Standard
Sponsors: Natalia Rudiak
Resolution calling on the City of Pittsburgh to adopt the Principles of Plain Language, and a Graphic Standard
WHEREAS, government documents are often written in a way that is confusing and unclear, and

WHEREAS, clearly written documents aid transparency, public participation, and collaboration by enabling the public to fully understand the law, announcements, and procedures; and

WHEREAS, newspapers typically write at an 8th grade level to increase readability and understanding of complex issues; and

WHEREAS, the federal government enacted the Plain Writing Act of 2010 which requires all Federal agencies to use "Plain Language" in their written communications with the public; and

WHEREAS, Plain Language legislation will increase the public's participation in the democratic process by opening the doors to a better understanding of the laws, announcements, and procedures being made by City government; and

WHEREAS, a uniform organizational identity will make City documents more easily recognizable and readable.


"Plain Language" means writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience. Best practices include:

1) being clear and concise, including only important and directly relevant information
2) using simple language, written for an 8th grade audience
3) defining the purpose of the document and the application or submission process
4) understanding and writing for the audience, taking into consideration their needs and presumed knowledge about the topic
5) using the active voice
6) keeping sentences and paragraphs short
7) organizing material in a logical order
8) designing the document with headings, space, and bulleted lists, and other features to make information easy to find
9) making any submission process clear, intuitive, and as easy as possible, with the option to submit documents through online forms


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