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NC crime lab bill unanimously approved by Senate

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RALEIGH, NC (AP)-- Several changes designed to improve North
Carolina's state crime lab and its credibility following a scathing
report about past work is one vote away from Gov. Beverly Perdue's
desk.

The Senate unanimously agreed Wednesday to a package that came
from recommendations made by a panel of lawmakers and outsiders
meeting earlier this year.

The proposal creates a permanent advisory committee of
scientists to review the forensic methods used by the lab and makes
it a felony to deliberately withhold or misrepresent lab evidence.
The lab's official name and purpose also would change.

Lawmakers are acting after a review by former FBI officials
uncovered more than 200 cases the lab may have been improperly
handled during a 16-year period ending in 2003.

The bill needs one more vote in the House.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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