What is the Plain Language Standard?
Oregon law requires all state agencies to prepare public communications in language that is as clear and simple as possible (ORS 183.750). This includes publications, forms and instructions, licenses, agency notices, and administrative rules. HB 2702 specifies an additional standard for written documents. A document meets the plain language standard if it, whenever possible:
- Uses everyday words that convey meanings clearly and directly
- Uses the present tense and the active voice
- Uses short, simple sentences
- Defines only those words that cannot be properly explained or qualified in the text
- Uses type of a readable size
- Uses layout and spacing that separate the paragraphs and sections of the document from each other