Leader In Tax Petition Drive Arrested

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Janine Hansen, a leader in a petition drive to repeal an $833 million tax package approved by Nevada lawmakers last year, was arrested Thursday night with her son while gathering signatures at Reno's downtown municipal bus station.

Hansen and Zachary Triggs were charged with trespassing and spent nearly seven hours in jail before being released on their own recognizance. Their court date is set for May 27.

Hansen said Friday there were five police officers present when she and her son were handcuffed and jailed.

Hansen said she told the Regional Transportation Commission, which runs the bus service, that she'd be at the bus station. She said she was told to sign a statement of RTC policies, but refused on grounds she has a right to gather names on public property. Hansen added police told her she was on private property.

Stan Peck, attorney for the Regional Transportation Commission, said Hansen was merely asked to identify who was in charge of the petition gatherers and describe the nature of the petition, and she refused to do that.

In a related development, Secretary of State Dean Heller asked Attorney General Brian Sandoval on Thursday to investigate complaints from Hansen's brother that those circulating the tax repeal plan were harassed by government workers.

Christopher Hansen submitted complaints that the state and local government employees are guilty of a gross misdemeanor for intervening with and sometimes threatening petition circulators.

Heller said several of the complaints filed by Hansen fail to name individuals involved, and some of the complaints are more than six months old and fail to identify the place where the alleged violations took place.

Chief Deputy Secretary of State Renee Parker said Hansen's complaints would require an "extensive" investigation and the office lacks the staff to do it.