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Lawmakers Approve Crime Lab Reforms

State senators have voted unanimously to approve reforms that would rename the state's crime laboratory and toughen up standards.  Under the bill, the state crime lab would be known as the North Carolina Crime laboratory. Lawmakers say it's a symbolic gesture designed to help give the beleagured institution a fresh start.

Last year, an independent audit of the agency found that evidence from more than 200 cases that would have helped defendants was omitted by analysts. Yesterday state investigators found dozens more cases of mishandled evidence. The bill would also create an independent advisory board of scientists to help oversee the laboratory. It requires lab employees to release all notes, data and test results if requested or face criminal charges. The measure goes back to the House for a final vote before it lands on the Governor's desk.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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