Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two Queens profs win on legislative gameboard

It's been a staple of civics classes: a simple chart of how a bill becomes law in Washington. But the chart never explained the real process.

Now two Queens University of Charlotte professors have won an award from a national award from the Sunlight Foundation for devising a chart that shows a complex process in a simple way.

Modeled on a game board, the chart -- called "How Our Laws Are Made" -- was designed by Mike Wirth, an assistant professor of new media design, and Suzanne Cooper Guasco, Chair of the History Department.

Their graphic has been mentioned in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, the Atlantic and on Comedy Central, where it was headlined: How a mash-up of Pig Lips and Cow Anus Becomes a Delicious Sausage (or How a Bill Becomes a Law.)

Wirth says he came away with a better understanding of the legislative process.

"I guess I thought like most Americans that this was a slow and convoluted process," he says. "But it's an efficiant process, as efficient as democracy can get. Barring any better style of government coming out, I think this might be the best way to go about it.

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