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Voters OK minimum wage hikes

Ballot measures raising pay poised to pass in Ohio, Arizona, Missouri, Montana and Colorado.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Voters in six states Tuesday approved ballot measures raising the minimum wage, joining 18 other states in setting a wage higher than the federal mark of $5.15 an hour, according to CNN projections.

Ohio voters raised the wage to $6.85 an hour, Montana to $6.15 or the federal wage, whichever is higher, and Missouri to $6.50. Arizona voters raised the minimum wage to $6.75.

CNN also projects that Nevada voters will approve a mandatory minimum wage constitutional amendment that would set the wage at $6.15 if the employer does not provide health benefits.

A vote in Colorado squeaked to a narrow victory.

The Ohio and Missouri measures tie the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index, the federal government's main inflation gauge. The measures were among some 205 on the ballots in 37 states.

In Missouri, an initiative to allow stem-cell research won a narrow victory.

The issue has generated excitement not only among proponents of the research but on Wall Street, where investors have bid up the stock prices of biotech firms involved in stem cell research in recent days. (Full story).

In California, a measure that would tax oil companies to provide funds for alternative energy failed. (Full story).

Known as Proposition 87, the measure would have levied a tax of 1.5 to 6 percent on every barrel of oil pumped in the state, depending on the price of crude. The goal was to create a $4 billion fund over the next 10 years to find alternative energy sources and slash the state's consumption of oil by 25 percent.

Biotechs rally on stem cell measure

Wall Street, if the Democrats win Top of page

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