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Difference between revisions of "Iowa Constitution"

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==Additional reading==
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Revision as of 12:51, 16 April 2014

Iowa Constitution
Flag of Iowa.png
The Iowa Constitution is the basic governing document of the state of Iowa.


The Iowa Constitution includes a preamble and twelve articles.[1]

It also has a democratic procedure in place to amend or revise the constitution (Article X, Section 3 was amended in 1964 to provide for the automatic ballot initiative every 10 years beginning in 1970). The procedure is an automatic ballot initiative which asks voters every 10 years to approve or reject a constitutional convention. The process provides Iowans with the ability to deal with constitutional issues, which lawmakers either refuse or fail to address. Since first appearing on ballot in 1970, Iowa voters have rejected the call to convention every time and by significant margins:[2]

  • In 1970, the vote was 204,517 to 214,663 (48.79% to 61.29%).
  • In 1980, the vote was 404,249 to 640,130 (38.71% to 61.29%).
  • In 1990, the vote was 179,762 to 491,179 (26.79% to 73.21%).
  • In 2000, the vote was 300,468 to 626,251 (34.42% to 67.58%).
  • In 2010, the vote was 649,316 to 317,577 (67.16% to 32.84%).

Furthermore, the Iowa Constitution has been amended 28 times, most recently in 2010 when Iowa voters approved Iowa Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment, Measure 1.


Main article: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Iowa Constitution states:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF IOWA, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuance of those blessings, do ordain and establish a free and independent government, by the name of the STATE OF IOWA, the boundaries whereof shall be as follows:[1]

Article I

Article I of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Bill of Rights." It has 25 sections and describes the rights of the citizens of Iowa in great detail.

Article II

Article II of the Iowa Constitution is entitled "Rights of Suffrage." It has seven sections and details the rights of suffrage and the election process.

Article III

Article III of the Iowa Constitution is labeled Of the "Distribution of Powers." It only has a single section and divides the government into the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

The Legislative

The "Legislative Department" of the Iowa Constitution appears to be a separate article; however, it has no article number or title. It has 40 sections and establishes the legislative department and details its responsibilities.

Article IV

Article IV of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Executive Department." It has 22 sections and establishes the executive department and outlines the powers of the governor.

Article V

Article V of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Judicial Department." It has 19 sections and establishes the court system of the judicial department.

Article VI

Article VI of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Militia." It has three sections and concerns the state militia.

Article VII

Article VII of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "State Debts." It has nine sections and deals with state debts.

Article VIII

Article VIII of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Corporations." It has twelve sections and concerns the formation of corporations, as well as their privileges and limitations.

Article IX

Article IX of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Education and School Lands." It has two parts: The first part, Education, has included up to fifteen sections, and the second part, School Funds and School Lands, has had up to seven sections. Essentially, this article establishes the public school system of Iowa.

Article X

Article X of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Amendments to the Constitution." It governs the ways in which the state's constitution can be changed over time and describes how constitutional amendments are made.

Article XI

Article XI of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Miscellaneous." It has eight sections and contains miscellaneous governmental provisions.

Article XII

Article XII of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Schedule." It includes the text of material that used to be in the constitution, which is designed to ease the transition from territory to state, and has sixteen sections.

Amending the constitution

Main article: Amending state constitutions

Article X governs the ways in which the state's constitution can be changed over time.

Article X allows:

  • Two successive general assemblies must vote to put the proposed amendment on a statewide ballot, by majority votes.
  • Amendments can be proposed in either chamber.
  • Once an amendment is on the ballot, in order to become part of the constitution, it must be approved by "a majority of the electors qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, voting thereon."


The Iowa Constitution is over 150 years old. It was drafted in Iowa City between January 19 and March 5 of 1857, four years before the U.S. Civil War. Iowans narrowly approved the document 40,311 to 38,681 in August of that same year. This was the state’s second constitution and was based in large part on one approved 11 years earlier in 1846, when Iowa first became a U.S. state. An even earlier constitution, written in 1844 prior to statehood, was presented to and approved by the United States Senate in 1845 but was then rejected twice by residents of the Iowa Territory.[2]

See also

StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg

External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading