Iowa House of Representatives

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Iowa House of Representatives

Seal of Iowa.jpg
General Information
Type:   Lower house
Partisan control:   Republican Party
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 12, 2015
Website:   Official House Page
House Speaker:  Kraig Paulsen (R)
Majority Leader:   Linda Upmeyer (R)
Minority Leader:   Mark Smith (D)
Members:  100
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Legislative Department, Iowa Constitution, Sec 3
Salary:   $25,000/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014 (100 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (100 seats)
Redistricting:  Legislative Service Agency with legislative approval
The Iowa House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Iowa State Legislature. It has 100 elected representatives, representing 100 disricts and meets at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. There are no term limits and representatives are elected to two year terms. Elections are held in even-number years. Each member represents an average of 30,464 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented approximately 29,293 residents.[2]

As of May 2015, Iowa is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

See also: Iowa State Legislature, Iowa State Senate, Iowa Governor


The Legislative Department of the Iowa Constitution establishes when the Iowa General Assembly, of which the House of Representatives is a part, is to be in session. Section 2 of the article states that the General Assembly is to convene its regular session on the second Monday of January of each year. The General Assembly can also be called into special session by a proclamation of the Governor of Iowa or by a written request of two-thirds of both houses of the General Assembly.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the Legislature is in session from January 12 through May 22 (projected).

Major issues

Major issues during the 2015 legislative session include road funding, state budget, income tax cuts, broadband expansion, school calendars, local option sales taxes, medical marijuana, eminent domain, banning traffic cameras and a sales tax increase.[3]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 13 through May 2.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included cutting the state income tax, increasing the gas tax and a minimum wage increase.[4]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through May 23.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included education reform, providing healthcare for low-income and other uninsured residents, and a tax relief package that sought to lower property taxes.[5]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the House was in session from January 9 to May 9.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 through July 1. The legislature was in an extended session due to concerns on how to reduce commercial property taxes. House Republicans favored a 25 per cent reduction in commercial property tax rates, while Senate Democrats proposed a tax credit that would be paid directly to the owners of the commercial properties.[6] During the extended session, legislators did not receive per diem. Iowa legislative rules allow lawmakers to receive per diem for a maximum of 100 days in even numbered years, and 110 days in odd numbered years. The 110th calendar day of the 2011 session was April 30. The rules may be amended at any time to extend the legislative session.


Iowa ended its 2011 fiscal year with $54.5 million in revenue collections above estimated figures, an increase of 6 percent over fiscal 2010. The 6 percent increase was one percent higher than expected.[7]

As a whole, Iowa collected $329.3 million more in revenue than it did last year. Last year's overall total revenue is still not yet known, due to the continuing flow of expenses or revenue collections that can be attributed to fiscal year 2010. To account for this, the books will remain open until September, as is customary for the state.[7]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the House of Representatives was in session from January 11th to March 30th. [8]

Role in state budget

See also: Iowa state budget and finances
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The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[9][10]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in June or July.
  2. Agency requests are submitted to the governor by October 1.
  3. Agency hearings are held in November and December.
  4. Public hearings are held in December.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Iowa State Legislature by February 1.
  6. The legislature adopts a budget in April or May.
  7. The fiscal year begins in July.

Iowa is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[10]

The governor is constitutionally and statutorily required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is statutorily required to adopt a balanced budget.[10]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Iowa was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.[11]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[12] According to the report, Iowa received a grade of A- and a numerical score of 90, indicating that Iowa was "leading" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[12]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Iowa was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[13]



See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 3, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 14, 2014.


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives were held in Iowa on November 6, 2012.

The signature filing deadline for the candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 16, 2012. The primary was held on June 5, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives were held in Iowa on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 19, 2010 and the primary Election Day was on June 8, 2010.

The partisan breakdown of the House before and after the election was as follows:

Iowa House of Representatives
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 56 42
     Republican Party 44 58
Total 100 100

In 2010, $13,358,470 in contributions was raised among all campaigns for state house. The top donors were:[14]


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on June 3, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $15,474,490. The top 10 contributors were:[15]


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $10,927,450. The top 10 contributors were:[16]


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on June 8, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $8,118,332. The top 10 contributors were:[17]


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on June 4, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,507,786. The top 10 contributors were:[18]


See also: Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Iowa House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,677,845. The top 10 contributors were:[19]


The Iowa Constitution states, "No person shall be a member of the house of representatives who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one years, be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been an inhabitant of this state one year next preceding his election, and at the time of his election shall have had an actual residence of sixty days in the county, or district he may have been chosen to represent."[20]


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

The Governor is required within five days of a vacancy in the House to call for a special election. If the vacancy happens in session, the Governor must call for an election as soon as possible with a minimum 18 day notice. All other special elections require a 45 day notice as long the election does not happen on the same day of a school election.[21]


See also: Redistricting in Iowa

The Iowa Legislative Service Agency is responsible for the redistricting process in Iowa. This entity is not a special commission or committee of legislators, but a nonpartisan entity established before the 1981 redistricting process that divides the state into districts based on key geographic principles, including population, contiguity, respect for political subdivisions, and compactness.[22] The plan must be passed by the legislature and the governor before it becomes law.

2010 Census

Iowa's population grew 4.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Iowa's population was 2.93 million in 2000, and rose to 3.05 million in 2010. This rate was less than half of the national growth rate of roughly 10 percent between 2000 and 2010.[23] Due to this slow growth, the U.S. Census Bureau determined that Iowa would only be represented by four members of the U.S. House of Representatives, rather than the five seats Iowa had during the 2000-2010 decade.[24] Most of Iowa's growth occurred in the urban and suburban areas of the state, while most of the rural counties grew slowly or lost population.[25]

On March 31, 2011, the Iowa Legislative Service Agency released its first map. This map paired two incumbent Republicans together in one U.S. House district and two incumbent Democrats together in another U.S. House district. The map also created 7 potential incumbent versus incumbent matchups in the State Senate elections as well as seven districts without incumbents. The State House map created 14 vacant districts and 14 more potential incumbent versus incumbent races.[26]

The Iowa State Senate passed the plan 48 to 1. The House of Representatives approved the plan 90 to 7. Legislators remarked that, although not everyone was happy with the plan, it was fairly drawn.[27]

The new State House districts vary from the ideal population count by no more than 1.93 percent, or less than a 300-resident deviation from the target for the least accurate district.[28]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Iowa legislature are paid $25,000/year. Additionally, legislators receive $135/day per diem tied to the federal rate. Polk County legislators receive $101.25/day.[29]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Iowa legislators assume office the first day of January after their election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state houses
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 43
     Republican Party 57
Total 100

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Iowa State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Iowa State House.PNG


The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body.

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Iowa House of Representatives
Office Representative Party
State Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen Ends.png Republican
State House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Windschitl Ends.png Republican
State House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer Ends.png Republican
State House Majority Whip Chris Hagenow Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Majority Leader Joel Fry Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Majority Leader Lee Hein Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Majority Leader Jarad Klein Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Majority Leader Walt Rogers Ends.png Republican
State House Minority Leader Mark Smith Electiondot.png Democratic
State House Assistant Minority Leader Ako Abdul-Samad Electiondot.png Democratic
State House Assistant Minority Leader Mary Gaskill Electiondot.png Democratic
State House Assistant Minority Leader Todd Prichard Electiondot.png Democratic
State House Assistant Minority Leader Sharon Steckman Electiondot.png Democratic

Current members

Current members, Iowa House of Representatives
District Representative Party Assumed office
1 John H. Wills Ends.png Republican 2015
2 Megan Jones Ends.png Republican 2013
3 Daniel Huseman Ends.png Republican 1995
4 John Kooiker Ends.png Republican 2015
5 Chuck Soderberg Ends.png Republican 2005
6 Ron Jorgensen Ends.png Republican 2011
7 Tedd Gassman Ends.png Republican 2013
8 Terry Baxter Ends.png Republican 2015
9 Helen Miller Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
10 Mike Sexton Ends.png Republican 2015
11 Gary Worthan Ends.png Republican 2006
12 Brian Best Ends.png Republican 2015
13 Chris Hall Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
14 David Dawson Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
15 Charlie McConkey Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
16 Mary Ann Hanusa Ends.png Republican 2011
17 Matt Windschitl Ends.png Republican 2007
18 Steven Holt Ends.png Republican 2015
19 Ralph Watts Ends.png Republican 2003
20 Clel Baudler Ends.png Republican 1999
21 Jack Drake Ends.png Republican 1993
22 Greg Forristall Ends.png Republican 2007
23 David Sieck Ends.png Republican 2015
24 Cecil Dolecheck Ends.png Republican 1997
25 Stan Gustafson Ends.png Republican 2014
26 Scott Ourth Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
27 Joel Fry Ends.png Republican 2011
28 Greg Heartsill Ends.png Republican 2013
29 Dan Kelley Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
30 Zach Nunn Ends.png Republican 2015
31 Rick Olson Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
32 Ruth Ann Gaines Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
33 Brian Meyer Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
34 Bruce Hunter Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
35 Ako Abdul-Samad Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
36 Marti Anderson Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
37 John Landon Ends.png Republican 2013
38 Kevin Koester Ends.png Republican 2009
39 Jake Highfill Ends.png Republican 2013
40 John Forbes Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
41 Jo Oldson Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
42 Peter Cownie Ends.png Republican 2009
43 Chris Hagenow Ends.png Republican 2009
44 Rob Taylor Ends.png Republican 2013
45 Beth Wessel-Kroeschell Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
46 Lisa Heddens Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
47 Chip Baltimore Ends.png Republican 2011
48 Robert Bacon Ends.png Republican 2013
49 Dave Deyoe Ends.png Republican 2007
50 Pat Grassley Ends.png Republican 2007
51 Josh Byrnes Ends.png Republican 2011
52 Todd Prichard Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
53 Sharon Steckman Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
54 Linda Upmeyer Ends.png Republican 2003
55 Darrel Branhagen Ends.png Republican 2015
56 Patti Ruff Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
57 Nancy Dunkel Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
58 Brian Moore Ends.png Republican 2011
59 Bob Kressig Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
60 Walt Rogers Ends.png Republican 2011
61 Timi Brown-Powers Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
62 Deborah Berry Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
63 Sandy Salmon Ends.png Republican 2013
64 Bruce Bearinger Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
65 Liz Bennett Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
66 Art Staed Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
67 Kraig Paulsen Ends.png Republican 2003
68 Ken Rizer Ends.png Republican 2015
69 Kirsten Running-Marquardt Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
70 Todd Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
71 Mark Smith Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
72 Dean Fisher Ends.png Republican 2013
73 Bobby Kaufmann Ends.png Republican 2013
74 David Jacoby Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
75 Dawn Pettengill Ends.png Republican 2005
76 David Maxwell Ends.png Republican 2013
77 Sally Stutsman Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
78 Jarad Klein Ends.png Republican 2011
79 Guy Vander Linden Ends.png Republican 2011
80 Larry Sheets Ends.png Republican 2013
81 Mary Gaskill Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
82 Curt Hanson Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
83 Jerry Kearns Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
84 David Heaton Ends.png Republican 1995
85 Vicki Lensing Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
86 Mary Mascher Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
87 Dennis Cohoon Electiondot.png Democratic 1987
88 Thomas Sands Ends.png Republican 2003
89 Jim Lykam Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
90 Cindy Winckler Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
91 Gary Carlson Ends.png Republican 2015
92 Ross C. Paustian Ends.png Republican 2015
93 Phyllis Thede Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
94 Linda Miller Ends.png Republican 2007
95 Quentin Stanerson Ends.png Republican 2013
96 Lee Hein Ends.png Republican 2011
97 Norlin Mommsen Ends.png Republican 2015
98 Mary Wolfe Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
99 Abby Finkenauer Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
100 Charles Isenhart Electiondot.png Democratic 2009

Standing committees

Iowa House of Representatives has 19 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Iowa
Partisan breakdown of the Iowa legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Iowa State House of Representatives for five years while the Republicans were the majority for 17 years.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Iowa, the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Iowa state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Iowa state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Iowa enjoyed a nine-year period in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking between 2003 and 2012, under both divided government and a Democratic trifecta. During the period of the study, Iowa was in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking for twelve out of twenty years. Iowa claimed the top spot in the SQLI ranking twice, once in 2009 and again in 2012. The state’s lowest SQLI ranking came in 1995 (14th) under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 3.50
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 12.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 8.87
Chart displaying the partisanship of Iowa government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

External links


  1., "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  3. Des Moines Register, "10 key issues facing Iowa Legislature in 2015," January 12, 2015
  4., "The Iowa 2014 Legislative Session: A Preview," January 13, 2014
  5., "Breaking News: Iowa Legislature could adjourn 2013 session Wednesday; progress made on key issues," May 21, 2013
  6. RadioIowa, Property tax reduction still holding up close of legislature, June 15, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1, Iowa ends fiscal year with better-than-expected revenues, July 14, 2011
  8. 2010 session dates for Iowa legislature
  9. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  11. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  13. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  14. Follow the Money: "Iowa House 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  15. Follow the Money, "Iowa 2008 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "Iowa 2006 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "Iowa 2004 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "Iowa 2002 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "Iowa 2000 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  20. "Iowa Constitution," accessed December 16, 2013
  21. Iowa General Assembly, "Iowa Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 69.14)]
  22. The Legislative Lawyer, "A Nonpartisan Approach to Redistricting," 2002
  23. U.S> Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Iowa Profile," 2011
  24. Des Moines Register, "Iowa loses U.S. House seat in shift from Midwest, Northeast to South," December 21, 2010
  25. Radio Iowa, "Detailed 2010 Census data for Iowa released," February 10, 2011
  26. The Iowa Independent, "Proposed redistricting plan brings minor legislative shifts," March 31, 2011
  27. Reuters, "Iowa legislature approves redistricting plan," April 14, 2011
  28. Des Moines Register, "How balanced is Iowa’s redistricting proposal? See for yourself," April 1, 2011
  29., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013