Wynne Lawmaker Critical of Governor's Budget for Crime Lab

OCTOBER 29, 2004 - Posted at 7:30 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The director of the state crime lab, J.R. Howard, says he's satisfied with Governor Huckabee's plans to increase the agency's budget.  But some legislators aren't.

In an appearance yesterday before lawmakers conducting budget hearings, Howard expressed approval of Huckabee's plans to boost Crime Lab staff by eight positions.

But state senator Jim Luker of Wynne said that's not enough.  Luker said the lab isn't able to process evidence quickly enough because of a backlog of work.  He cited state budget documents that said there was a drastic need for more employees.

State Representative Will Bond of Jacksonville said the public should be upset that the Crime Lab has 20,000 DNA samples waiting to be analyzed.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)