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When I was a child I wasn’t allowed to leave the dinner table until my plate was clean. Likewise whenever I joined a team I wasn’t allowed to quit mid-season.

Basically my parents taught me that once you commit to something you follow through. Compromise was expected; everything wasn’t always going to go my way. Finish what you start and work together are good lessons for any child to learn.

I would like to say that I’m as committed to finishing what I’ve started when it comes to certain projects around the home but I can’t. We aren’t talking about my two-year upholstery project, anyway.

What we are talking about is the Iowa Legislature’s continuing inability to finish what it started in regard to school funding for 2015-16. They can’t even get the bill out of committee to vote on it; apparently there is no team in Republican.

Have the members of the 86th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature remained at the table to clear their plates? They have not.

Rather than staying in Des Moines and working every day to ensure our schools have money to put teachers into classrooms, most have been traveling back and forth for a two- or three-day work week, and then only if a vote is called.

I’m nearly certain that the Golden Dome exodus has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that legislators’ per diem payments ended on May 1. Almost certain.

The days in May that our elected representatives have deigned to appear have been devoted to critical issues like passing a bill to legalize fireworks in Iowa.

Yes, that’s so much more vital to the state than money for schools. Who cares if our kids can read and do geometry as long as it’s legal for them to blow off their fingers lighting firecrackers on the Fourth of July?

Wasting time working on a fireworks bill is nearly as ludicrous as stalling the medical cannabis bill in the House. Thousands of our neighbors in Iowa are continuing to suffer because the House refused to consider the Senate’s bill allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis and cannabidiol safely and legally.

Sorry, cancer patients; you’ll just have to suck it up and deal with your chemotherapy side effects. You tiny children seizing for hours every day, losing brain cells with every seizure? Too bad, so sad. We’re sure you can wait another year, at least, for some relief. Surely your parents are all cried out by now and have enough time and energy to lobby again next session. If you need some respite care I suggest your folks call a legislator --most of them are home with nothing else to do.

How can anyone with a soul (or certain Republicans) sit by and watch a child suffer and not do everything they can to help? What does it take to move those in power to do what is within their power to do?

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I cannot imagine in 2015 there are still legislators in Iowa who do not understand that no one’s asking them to turn Iowa into a re-enactment of a Cheech & Chong movie (Snoop Dogg concert for those too young to understand the reference). Iowans are known for lending a helping hand; passing the medical cannabis bill would be a way to help.

But then again I never imagined in 2015 that the people elected to represent their fellow Iowans would fail to pass a school funding bill. I also never imagined that I would write four columns in a row with the same subject: the lack of a school funding bill.

I never imagined that a bipartisan committee wouldn’t be able to compromise to protect Iowa’s legacy of educational excellence.

Apparently I don’t have a big enough imagination to understand the behavior of the 86th General Assembly.

I certainly don’t understand why Iowans haven’t been more vocal in demanding that legislators get back to Des Moines and finish what they started. What kind of message is being sent to Iowa’s students when our representatives bail on them when the per diem checks stop coming?

Our children deserve better from them and they deserve better from us. If enough of us email, call and write our representatives they can’t help but get the message: You can’t leave the table until you clean your plate, and what is still on your plate is Iowa’s future.

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Nancy Lund is from Nora Springs. "My Turn" is the work of community columnists and appears on this page most Fridays. 


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