Medical Examiners Get $1 Million Extra In State Budget

North Carolina lawmakers have agreed to spend an additional $1 million on the state's medical examiner system.

The Legislature also agreed to study how other states handle death investigations and see if North Carolina needs to increase pay, qualifications or oversight for medical examiners.

The extra money comes after a series by The Charlotte Observer that found medical examiners fail to examine bodies in one out of every nine cases, breaking state law.

The series also found medical examiners only visit crime scenes about 10 percent of the time. Experts say seeing where the death happened can be important.

North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch blamed the problems on a lack of money.

Gov. Pat McCrory asked for $2 million for medical examiners after reading the series.

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North Carolina lawmakers put the finishing touches on a state budget for this year, but they can't agree on when to go home.

The state House on Saturday voted to give the budget final approval. Gov. Pat McCrory says he'll sign it into law right away. That's usually the last big deal for lawmakers who meet for several months each year.

But the House on Saturday also decided to demand lawmakers take up several big issues when they meet in two weeks, including new regulations for Duke Energy's polluting coal ash ponds and requiring insurance companies to cover an autism treatment.

The Senate didn't have such ambitious plans, so a handful of legislators will have to gather next week for perfunctory meetings. Most lawmakers return August 14.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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