Wed February 9, 2011
Morning headlines: Mo. executes Martin Link, push to make Mo. a "right-to-work" state, Mo. lawmakers try again to restrict protests around funerals
- The state of Missouri has carried out its first execution in nearly two years. Early this morning, 47-year-old Martin Link was put to death for the 1991 kidnapping, rape and murder of 11-year-old Elissa Self-Braun. Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Cline says Link died by lethal injection shortly after midnight at the state prison in Bonne Terre. On Monday, Gov. Jay Nixon denied clemency and the courts refused to halt the execution on Tuesday. In his final statement, Link criticized the death penalty and did not show any remorse. Elissa's mother, Pamela Braun, was among several of the girl's relatives who witnessed the execution. She thanked police, prosecutors, and lab workers for bringing Link to justice.
- Representatives from businesses and unions testified Tuesday as a push to make Missouri a "right-to-work" state started before a Senate committee. Senators are considering legislation that would bar workers from being required to pay dues or fees to labor organizations. Supporters say the bill would boost economic development and help Missouri attract new businesses. Critics contend the change would not necessarily attract new businesses and could drive down workers' wages and living standard. Gov. Nixon's administration opposes the legislation.
- Missouri lawmakers are again trying to restrict protests around funerals. In 2006, lawmakers approved limits on such protests, but a federal judge declared them to be unconstitutional. The restrictions barred picketing and protests in front of, or near a funeral home from one hour before to one hour after the service. That year, the Legislature passed a separate law creating a 300-foot buffer zone between funerals and demonstrations. Both laws were eventually invalidated. The restrictions target a Kansas church whose members have held funeral demonstrations across the country. A House committee considered legislation Tuesday that tries again to restrict the protests. Sponsoring House member Republican Ward Franz, says mourners should be free from harassment.