U.S. government regulations are for everyone. The content they contain should therefore be as simple and clear as possible. First, we recommend that you follow the Federal Register Document Writing Manual. In this way, the eRegulations platform is able to enhance the Federal Register data and present it in a more contextual and human-readable format to your audience. We recommend that you do not refer to specific formatting details in your policy (for example, “see text in italics/underlined/bold in paragraph (b)”), as the final representation may not display them the same in all versions of your rule, and instead focus on the semantic structure. By focusing on semantic structure rather than typographic formatting and limiting the rule to headings, paragraphs, images, and tables, you ensure that the rule appears consistent across printed, federalregister.gov, and electronic regulations. We lose readers` trust and understanding when we write in a long and confusing “government language.” We also reduce compliance and create more phone calls and inquiries to agency staff when readers can`t understand the rules or legal guidelines at first reading. “Readable regulations help the public quickly find requirements and understand them easily. They increase compliance, strengthen enforcement, and reduce errors, frustration, phone calls, and distrust of government.
Everyone benefits. – Part II Making Regulations Readable, Federal Register Document Writing Manual The eRegulations platform focuses on the structure of regulations, Federal Register notices, etc. We know how to divide documents into separate pages, link sections, show historical changes to a regulation over time, etc., because we understand the structure of documents. Using and adding a formatting layer to meaningful headings and subheadings makes it easier for users to analyze and organize the rule for the e-regulatory platform. eRegulations uses XML data from the Federal Register to display the rules and regulations published by your agency. Although this Act does not apply directly to regulations, there are three Orders in Council (E.O. 12866, E.O. 12988 and E.O. 13563) that encourage the use of plain language in regulations.
And the benefits of applying plain language to regulatory texts (as they change over time) can be measured by compliance with industry regulations and the time agency staff spend responding to inquiries. eRegulations is an open source platform that makes it easy to find, read and understand regulations. We process government regulations and rules digitally to present their integrated structure in a clean, readable form, including how it changes over time. Here is an example of a change that is difficult to analyze: “Insert a new fifth sentence in § 478.72 that reads: “At first glance, this may seem like a simple instruction, but what does it really mean? It could be, “Insert this sentence and move everything down,” or could it mean “replace the fifth sentence”? It could also mean “Add a new sentence at the end of the paragraph.” Displaying the full revised paragraph adds context both for the computer analyzing your policies and for your readers viewing the printed rule. Section: Determination of Program and Function Rules [main level of navigation in electronic regulations.] The Federal Register Handbook states, “Present this information in language the reader can easily understand, with descriptive titles to highlight and organize topics.” Here`s a good example of how this can work, and look at the eRegulations platform: Federal Register notices don`t have as defined a structure as regulations. However, a good, easy-to-analyze preamble in a notice of proposed rules should follow the above recommendations for structure and heading. Also note that the “idealized” rule (and the printed rule) consists of headings, paragraphs, images, and tables. Bulleted lists, nested paragraphs, highlighted text (and similar typographic formatting details), different types of indents, and more. have limited support.
The purpose of the e-Regulation Comparison Tool is to show how regulations have evolved over time or will change in the future. We are able to automate this process by following the guidelines set out by the Federal Register in its manual. However, computers have a harder time understanding certain commands than humans. By following the recommendations below, you`ll save development time for your eRegulations instance and give readers more context about the changes you want to make.