Iowa House of Representatives
|Iowa House of Representatives|
|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)|
Democratic Party (43)
Republican Party (57)
|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|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Representatives
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
As of February 2015, Iowa is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
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 1.
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.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 13 through May 2.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included cutting the state income tax, increasing the gas tax and a minimum wage increase.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through May 23.
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.
- 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. 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.
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.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the House of Representatives was in session from January 11th to March 30th. 
Role in state budget
- See also: Iowa state budget and finances
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in June or July.
- Agency requests are submitted to the governor by October 1.
- Agency hearings are held in November and December.
- Public hearings are held in December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Iowa State Legislature by February 1.
- The legislature adopts a budget in April or May.
- The fiscal year begins in July.
The governor is constitutionally and statutorily required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is statutorily required to adopt a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated 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. Among the challenges states faced were 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.
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. 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.
Open States Transparency
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 is 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.
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.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Iowa House of Representatives|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 42||Chris Hagenow||0.1%||17,460||Susan Judkins|
|District 7||Tedd Gassman||0.3%||15,294||John Wittneben|
|District 68||Daniel Lundby||0.7%||16,843||Nick Wagner|
|District 63||Sandy Salmon||0.7%||16,481||Bill Heckroth|
|District 80||Larry Sheets||0.8%||14,432||Joseph Judge|
|District 95||Quentin Stanerson||1.2%||16,788||Kristin Keast|
|District 55||Roger Thomas||1.3%||15,366||Michael T. Klimesh|
|District 72||Dean Fisher||1.4%||15,340||Nathan Wrage|
|District 56||Patti Ruff||2.1%||14,415||Bob Hager|
|District 58||Brian Moore||2.7%||15,513||Tom Schueller|
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|
In 2010, $13,358,470 in contributions was raised among all campaigns for state house. The top donors were:
|2010 Donors, Iowa House of Representatives|
|Iowa Republican Party||$2,784,031|
|Iowa Democratic Party||$2,071,130|
|AFSCME Iowa Council 61||$283,585|
|Iowans for Tax Relief||$273,900|
|Associated General Contractors of Iowa||$203,250|
|Iowa Credit Union League||$191,700|
|Iowa Bankers Association||$136,300|
|Master Builders of Iowa||$115,350|
|Iowa Association of Realtors||$105,500|
|Iowa Farm Bureau||$93,103|
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:
|2008 Donors, Iowa House of Representatives|
|Iowa Democratic Party||$3,261,543|
|Iowa Republican Party||$2,498,103|
|Iowans For Tax Relief||$369,500|
|Associated General Contractors Of Iowa||$259,750|
|Iowa Credit Union League||$240,000|
|Iowa State Education Association||$188,090|
|Iowa Bankers Association||$169,944|
|United Food & Commercial Workers International Union||$120,598|
|Master Builders Of Iowa||$120,000|
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:
|2006 Donors, Iowa House of Representatives|
|Iowa Democratic Party||$1,839,693|
|Iowa Republican Party||$1,250,400|
|Iowa Republican Party & Its Eisenhower Club||$530,913|
|Associated General Contractors Of Iowa||$193,850|
|Iowa Association Of Realtors||$165,900|
|Iowans For Tax Relief||$118,000|
|Iowa Bankers Association||$114,780|
|Iowa Trial Lawyers Association||$98,645|
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:
|2004 Donors, Iowa House of Representatives|
|Iowa Democratic Party||$1,201,565|
|Iowa Republican Party||$941,655|
|Associated General Contractors Of Iowa||$156,800|
|Iowa Association Of Realtors||$140,250|
|International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers||$131,250|
|Iowa Bankers Association||$116,076|
|Iowa Credit Union League||$78,463|
|Iowa Farm Bureau||$67,886|
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:
|2002 Donors, Iowa House of Representatives|
|Iowa Democratic Party||$812,974|
|Iowa Republican Party||$415,471|
|Associated General Contractors Of Iowa||$127,700|
|Effective Government Cmte||$102,700|
|Iowa State Education Association||$86,618|
|Iowa Republican Party & Its Eisenhower Club||$84,270|
|Iowa Association Of Realtors||$77,550|
|AFSCME Iowa Council 61||$66,800|
|Iowa Credit Union League||$55,500|
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:
|2000 Donors, Iowa House of Representatives|
|Iowa Republican Party & Its Eisenhower Club||$450,276|
|Iowa Democratic Party||$324,115|
|Iowa Republican Party||$143,200|
|Associated General Contractors Of Iowa||$94,069|
|Iowa State Education Association||$57,300|
|AFSCME Iowa Council 61||$43,750|
|Iowa Federation Of Labor AFL-CIO||$35,100|
|Iowa Trial Lawyers Association||$31,550|
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."
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
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.
- 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. The plan must be passed by the legislature and the governor before it becomes law.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
When sworn in
Iowa legislators assume office the first day of January after their election.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of February 2015|
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body.
Iowa House of Representatives has 19 standing committees:
Partisan balance 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.
SQLI and partisanship
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
- Official website of the Iowa General Assembly
- Official list of the current members of the Iowa House of Representatives
- census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Des Moines Register, "10 key issues facing Iowa Legislature in 2015," January 12, 2015
- theiowarepublican.com, "The Iowa 2014 Legislative Session: A Preview," January 13, 2014
- blogs.desmoinesregister.com, "Breaking News: Iowa Legislature could adjourn 2013 session Wednesday; progress made on key issues," May 21, 2013
- RadioIowa, Property tax reduction still holding up close of legislature, June 15, 2011
- DesMoinesRegister.com, Iowa ends fiscal year with better-than-expected revenues, July 14, 2011
- 2010 session dates for Iowa legislature
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Iowa House 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money, "Iowa 2008 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Iowa 2006 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Iowa 2004 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Iowa 2002 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Iowa 2000 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- "Iowa Constitution," accessed December 16, 2013
- Iowa General Assembly, "Iowa Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 69.14)]
- The Legislative Lawyer, "A Nonpartisan Approach to Redistricting," 2002
- U.S> Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Iowa Profile," 2011
- Des Moines Register, "Iowa loses U.S. House seat in shift from Midwest, Northeast to South," December 21, 2010
- Radio Iowa, "Detailed 2010 Census data for Iowa released," February 10, 2011
- The Iowa Independent, "Proposed redistricting plan brings minor legislative shifts," March 31, 2011
- Reuters, "Iowa legislature approves redistricting plan," April 14, 2011
- Des Moines Register, "How balanced is Iowa’s redistricting proposal? See for yourself," April 1, 2011
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
State of Iowa
Des Moines (capital)
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