Nevada Petitioners Win Court Ruling

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A group petitioning to repeal last year's state tax increase and to prevent public employees from serving in the Legislature won a round Thursday when a judge told state agencies to stop harassing the group's petitioners as they collect signatures on public property.

Clark County District Judge Kenneth Cory also ordered an evidentiary hearing June 11 to determine whether deadlines faced by Nevadans for Sound Government to turn in their petitions should be extended by 60 days.

The judge's order follows a May 18 refusal by the Nevada Supreme Court to grant more time to the group which wants a statewide referendum on last year's $833 million tax increase.

George Harris, chairman of Nevadans for Sound Government, criticized the high court ruling, saying justices should have at least ordered government agencies and officials not to interfere with signature-gatherers.

Last week, Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass refused to issue an order against the alleged harassment or to grant a 60-day time extension for gathering signatures.

Harris and petition drive lawyer Joel Hansen have alleged that signature-gatherers were harassed by government officials, particularly at Department of Motor Vehicles offices.

Hansen's sister, Janine Hansen, and her son were charged with trespassing last month while seeking signatures at the municipal bus station in Reno. They have vowed to sue.

Harris said his group will continue collecting signatures on the other petition to let voters decide whether government employees should be prevented from serving in the Legislature. They have until June 15 to gather enough valid names.