LINCOLN, Neb. (CN) – Firefighters and the Muscular Dystrophy Association sued Nebraska, calling the state’s refusal to let them use firetrucks and other equipment to raise money for charity on city time oppressive and “evil.” Omaha recently reversed its longtime practice of allowing firefighters to volunteer for fund raisers on city time, using firetrucks and boots to collect the donations.
Firefighters who are on the clock are no longer allowed to participate in the Muscular Dystrophy Association fund raiser known as “Fill the Boot,” nor help Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army food drive and Red Cross blood drives without being subject to prosecution, according to the complaint.
Firefighters have long raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association during the marathon fund raiser for “Jerry’s Kids,” sponsored by comedian Jerry Lewis.
The ban is “evil and oppression and a violation of rights,” the firefighters say in the complaint in Lancaster County Court.
The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission “has chilled, even obliterated, the rights of citizens and public officials to make the governing choice to allow and manage such charitable activities,” the firefighters say.
The firefighters want the ban declared invalid and unconstitutional.
They are represented by Edward Fogarty with Fogarty, Lund & Gross of Omaha.