September 22, 2006
New State Representative Amos Thomas Sworn-In

State Representative Amos Thomas (R-District 44) was sworn into office at the Statehouse today.  Thomas was recently elected by GOP precinct officials to fill the House seat vacated by his son, Andrew P. Thomas(R-Brazil).  Chief Justice Randall T. Shepherd performed the ceremony.

"I am honored to follow in the footsteps of my older brother, John Thomas, who served District 44 for 24 years.  And as unusual as it seems, I am also honored to follow in the footsteps of my son, Andy, who served the district for two terms,” said Rep. Thomas.
       Representative Amos Thomas with his wife, Mary, being sworn in by Chief Justice Shepherd.

Summer Study Committee Presents Ideas for Laws

The Interim Study Committee on Criminal Justice Matters this week passed recommended drafts of legislation requiring more training for all coroners and they discussed updating Next of Kin Laws. 

One Proposed Draft (PD) of Legislation requires coroners to receive more training and to ensure that coroners identify bodies by one of four methods: fingerprints, DNA, dental records, or visual identification by a family member.  This PD was created in response to the mistaken identity case of Laura VanRyn and Whitney Cerak, the two Taylor University students, one of whom died in a crash but was misidentified by the County Coroner.

The Next of Kin laws are being examined after a 2005 murder in Floyd County of Christi Melcher and her son, allegedly by her husband Zach.  Current Indiana law gives funeral arrangement rights and release of the autopsy reports to the next of kin, which in this instance would be the husband.  Potentially, crimes could be covered up by burying or cremating remains before an autopsy is performed.  Lawmakers are looking at allowing coroners to hold the remains of the deceased until a cause of death has been determined if the next of kin is suspected of murder. 

For more updates on Summer Study Committees and other issues, listen to this week's House Republican Podcast.

Click Here for Podcast featuring State Reps. Tim Neese (Elkhart), Marlin Stutzman (Howe), and Larry Buell (Indianapolis) discussing Summer Study Committees and other issues.

New Jobs Tally from 01-01-05 to 9-18-06:

BP plans to invest $3 billion at its Northwest Indiana Whiting facility to refine Canadian heavy crude oil

Company to hire 2,500 workers during three year construction phase and create 80 permanent jobs

WHITING, Ind. (September 20, 2006)—Governor Mitch Daniels today joined BP executives to announce the company’s plans to reconfigure its Whiting, Ind. refinery to handle Canadian heavy crude oil processing. The company’s $3 billion investment will create up to 80 new permanent full-time jobs and 2,500 jobs during the 3-year construction phase.

“We appreciate BP’s choice of Indiana for this massive, landmark project. In capital investment this is the largest we’ve had, and more construction workers will be hired for this project than to build the new Indiana Stadium and Convention Center,” said Daniels. “The eyes of the whole state are on Northwest Indiana today, as they should be. This marks another huge step in Indiana’s economic comeback.”

Click Here for more information on the BP expansion

Over the last two years, Indiana has aggressively pursued job growth for Hoosiers statewide.
Graphics/List Provided by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation


Click Here for Governor Mitch Daniels' 6-month Performance Report

The Indiana Business Research Center forecasts over 300,000 new jobs by 2014