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Politics

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.

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