Civic Tech for Local Legislatures and Legislators

  • Online
  • For Certification
Starts the week of

March 2 - 6

Course ends on

April 24, 2015

Application Deadline

February 25, 2015

Passionate about Local Democracy?

  • Do you work in a local legislature or with local lawmakers?
  • Do you have a project designed to aid the lawmaking process – whether bills or rules - at the municipal level?
  • Are you thinking about how to make law-making more transparent, participatory and accountable both online and off?

Course Description

This group is designed for those focusing on innovation in local lawmaking. Led by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos and supported by the GovLab Academy team, sign up if you want to collaborate to advance projects designed for use by legislators or in connection with legislatures at the local level. These might include projects for constituent engagement, crowdsourced lawmaking, enhanced drafting and archiving of local laws and rules, and other tech-enabled strategies for enhancing legitimacy and effectiveness in municipal legislatures and among local regulators. By bringing together those working on lawmaking at the local level we hope both to help each team advance its own project and, potentially, to discover opportunities for collaborating in the creation of turn-key solutions for the Legislature and legislators. Applicants welcome from private, public and government sectors and should have a concrete project in mind, whether implementing or customizing an existing code base, or building something new, with goal of having a minimum viable product (MVP) ready to change the world.

Course Format

1 faculty-led session every other week for 2 hours (one hour is with a guest expert and one hour is an all-group session); and a personalized schedule of peer-to-peer and one-on-one coaching sessions.

Online sessions will be held every other Monday from 5 - 7pm EST.

If the day or time present a challenge for the admitted applicants, we are open to offering the program on Sundays

Course Duration: 8 weeks

More information


Faculty Members

Benjamin Kallos

Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations of the City Council

At the beginning of his career in public service, Ben Kallos put Albany voting records online so New Yorkers could hold politicians accountable. Since then, he has run a government reform organization that helped defeat a corrupt politician and has served as Policy Director for former Public Advocate Mark Green. Council Member Kallos serves as Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations of the City Council, where he has fought to bring reform and transparency to government agencies. Praised by the New York Times for his "fresh ideas," Council Member Kallos has advocated for improving our schools, senior services and transportation. Council Member Kallos graduated from Bronx Science, SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo Law School. He has a background in law, working as a union-side labor attorney, as well as technology and government, and has served as a member of Community Board 8 and Statewide Committee Chair for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council. He and his wife reside on the East Side, where he has lived his entire life.

Arnaud Sahuguet

Director of The Foundry @ Cornell Tech

Dr. Arnaud Sahuguet was until recently a Product Manager for in New York working on civic innovation, as part of the Google social impact team. For the last two years, he has been working on mobile micro-donations (OneToday) and child protection (in collaboration with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). Before, he worked on Google Maps infrastructure and helped the Google Speech team productize its technology, with products such as GOOG-411 and Voice Search. Before joining Google in 2006, he worked almost 5 years as a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs research, in Murray Hill, NJ, where he published numerous papers, worked on standards for user profile management in telecom networks, identity management, personalization and converged services. Arnaud got his PhD from UPenn, on the topic of distributed query languages and optimization. While at UPenn, Arnaud founded Tropean Inc, to commercialize a screen scrapping technology for web sites. Before that, he graduated from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in France (MSc in Civil Engineering) and from Ecole Polytechnique (BS).

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