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Plain language law off to a spotty start

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An effort to make the government write so people can understand what they're reading is off to a spotty start.

A year after an anti-gobbledygook law took effect, federal agencies are still churning out plenty of incomprehensible English. So says the Center for Plain Language, which released a "report card" Thursday grading agencies on their progress - or lack of it.

The Agriculture Department got top marks among the dozen agencies checked: an A for meeting the law's basic requirements and a B for taking supporting actions such as training staff to write clearly. Faring the worst, Veterans Affairs flunked on both counts.

The Plain Writing Act required agencies to start using clear language in October in documents that provide information to the public. But there's no penalty for noncompliance.



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