Berger & Moore testify in racial and gender bias lawsuit

Whitewashing your staff can be a costly venture:

House Speaker Tim Moore answered questions on Tuesday in a Wake County courtroom from lawyers for ex-Fiscal Research Division director Marilyn Chism and for the state. Senate leader Phil Berger testified on Monday.

Chism is a black woman who alleges she was forced out of the job after two years in 2011. Chism, who worked for the General Assembly for 13 years, contends she was pushed out by white men who ran the House and Senate, even as white men in other legislative divisions kept their leadership positions. She wants the federal judge hearing the case to declare gender or racial bias occurred and to award her monetary damages.

Republicans really don't have a leg to stand on here. They fired her either because she was a black woman, or because her research developed estimates that laws they wanted to pass were too costly to justify. Think about it. Republicans whined for years (decades?) that Democrats were not fiscally cautious enough, and ended up overspending because they failed to properly project costs. But one of the first things they do after taking over the NCGA is fire somebody for doing just that:

Under cross-examination by Chism attorney Stewart Fisher, Moore acknowledged he had no direct knowledge of why Chism was forced to resign or whether it was caused by the handling of specific legislation. That's important because Chism's complaint said a Tillis aide also was unhappy with how the fiscal agency calculated the cost of implementing a proposed voter identification bill in 2011, saying it was too high.

Moore said he did have problems with the division's calculations, saying some high projections were based on faulty assumptions.

"It didn't seem to add up," Moore said. He said he thought it would be good to examine how much other states spent to implement voter ID, like Georgia.

Every state is different, and every state law dealing with a particular subject is different. For instance, there are 159 counties in the state of Georgia, vs. 100 in North Carolina. But whatever the case, if Chism had cribbed cost numbers from another state, instead of doing an accurate NC estimate, that would have been grounds for dismissal also.

However this lawsuit turns out, Tillis owns a big part of it, and voters need to be informed.