Oregon Voters Reject

Proposed Tax Hike

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon voters rejected a proposed income tax hike yesterday that lawmakers said would spare the state more than $310 million in cuts to schools, public safety and social services programs.

The state already slashed $700 million from the budget last year, and lawmakers have failed in five special sessions to solve the state's budget crisis.

Polls had shown voters closely divided over Measure 28, but with 61 percent of the votes tallied, the measure was failing 55 percent to 45 percent. Measure 28 called for raising income tax bills for most residents by 5 percent over three years.

The cuts would include 129 state troopers, assistance for thousands of low-income seniors and the disabled, community mental health treatment and $95 million in school funding.

Calif. Man Whose Wife

Is Missing Admits Affair

SACRAMENTO -- Scott Peterson admits he was having an affair last year before his pregnant wife vanished, and he says he told her about it. He denies killing his wife.

"It [the affair] was not a positive, obviously . . . but it was not something that we weren't dealing with," Peterson told ABC News's "Good Morning America." "It wasn't anything that would break us apart."

Laci Rocha Peterson, 27, disappeared Christmas Eve from her home in Modesto, Calif.

Asked if he had murdered her, he said, "I had absolutely nothing to do with her disappearance."

Ky. Doctor Defends

Branding Woman

LOUISVILLE -- A surgeon being sued for branding a patient's uterus with the initials of his alma mater -- the University of Kentucky -- defended his actions yesterday as a routine part of a hysterectomy.

Michael Guiler said in a statement that marking the uterus gives doctors a point of reference before it is removed.

Guiler, who used a cauterizing instrument to brand "UK" on Stephanie Means's uterus, said the letters marked the organ's midline and distinguished its left and right side.

"Not only am I always able to remain oriented for the patient's safety; I felt this was honorable since it made reference to the college of medicine where I received my medical degree," he said in the statement, which he read to reporters.

Guiler emphasized that the markings "were not intended to demean the patient in any way and were done only with the patient's safety in mind."

Means sued last week, claiming she suffered emotional distress after viewing a videotape of last year's operation. She and her husband are seeking unspecified damages.

* TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and the new, trimmed-down, three-member Cabinet ran into technical problems at their first meeting and deferred action on several agenda items that appeared to require five votes for passage.

-- From news services