Mass. panel approves $30M for drug lab crisis

BOSTON (AP) — A House panel has approved Gov. Deval Patrick's request for $30 million to pay the initial costs stemming from a testing scandal at a former state drug lab.

If approved by the full Legislature, the funds would be diverted from the state's so-called "rainy day" fund and distributed between the court system, prosecutors, public defenders and various agencies. The money would be used to offset costs associated with a crisis that threatens to unravel thousands of criminal cases.

A former chemist, Annie Dookhan, has been accused of fabricating drug test results and tampering with evidence.

A supplemental budget advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday also includes spending cuts and a $200 million transfer from the rainy day fund to help close a projected revenue shortfall in the current state budget.

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