CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- State leaders are making a desperate plea for federal money to replace severely outdated equipment in the state crime lab.

North Carolina's crime lab has been marred with issues, with some of the serious backlogs drawing national attention.

State Attorney General Josh Stein is asking legislators for more than a million dollars to make some much-needed upgrades.

Some of the untouched rape kits are gathering dust on shelves. Crime Lab Director John Byrd says they have since turned things around.

"Some of our machinery and these are intricate machines they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars are 16, 17, 18 years old," Byrd says. "The guidelines recommend you get new machinery about every five years."

Stein wants $1.5 million to help replace these old machines in favor of machines that would work all day, every day, to test not only backlogged cases but also an influx of new ones.

"We have all kinds of protective gear gloves face masks lab coats, you need to have a partner in the room with you," Byrd says.

House leaders are still working on putting their budget proposal together. So far no word at this point as to whether or not money for new equipment will be included.