NC Senate panel OKs changes for faulted SBI lab

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — More North Carolina lawmakers are signing on to reforming a state crime lab shamed by findings that employees may have tailored their work to help prosecutors in hundreds of cases.

A Senate judiciary committee on Thursday recommended the bill, which makes it a felony for the workers at the State Bureau of Investigation lab to omit or misrepresent evidence.

The measure also clarifies that the lab doesn’t work solely for the prosecution, and would create a scientific panel to review lab procedures.

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

The legislation passed the House 118-0.

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

AP-NY-03-17-11 1226EDT