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Washington voters approve increase in minimum wage, firearms access prevention

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Voters in Washington state have approved an initiative that would raise the statewide minimum wage.

Initiative 1433 would raise the hourly wage by roughly $4 over three years, to $13.50. The measure also would require employers to provide paid sick leave — at least one hour for every 40 worked — that could be used to care for family members or as “safe leave” for those who miss work because of domestic violence.

Washington’s current minimum age is $9.47 an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Supporters of I-1433 said giving low-wage workers hundreds in extra monthly pay will boost the state’s economy. Opponents of the measure said raising the wage by nearly half could cost jobs and force businesses to close.

A measure, I-1491, to prevent access to firearms for 'extreme risk' orders if a person is determined to be a danger to themselves or others won 71-29 percent. Initiative 1491 would allow families of people in crisis to ask a judge to issue an extreme-risk protection orders that would temporarily prevent their loved ones from having access to firearms.

Washington voters were rejecting measures that would impose the nation's first direct carbon tax and create a state campaign finance system. With 61% of precincts reporting, the campaign finance measure was being rejected 53-47 percent.

The carbon tax measure was losing 59-41 percent.  Sponsors of the carbon tax measure, Initiative 732, say residents have a moral responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses say the tax will drive up fuel and energy costs and put Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Meanwhile, Initiative 1501, which would provide senior fraud protections, won 72-28.

The measure for Sound Transit 3, the $54 billion proposal to expand mass transit in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties was passing 55-45 percent.