Difference between revisions of "Iowa State Senate"

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In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 11th to March 30th.
In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 11th to March 30th.
==Ethics and transparency==
{{Transparency card|State=Iowa|Grade=C}}
{{Transparency card|State=Iowa|Grade=C}}

Revision as of 22:23, 8 July 2013

Iowa State Senate

Seal of Iowa.jpg
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Pam Jochum, (D)
Majority Leader:   Michael Gronstal (D)
Minority Leader:   Bill Dix, (R)
Members:  50
   Democratic Party (26)
Republican Party (24)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art III, Section 1, Iowa Constitution
Salary:   $25,000/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (26 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Iowa Board of Apportionment
Meeting place:
Iowa State Senate Chamber.jpg
The Iowa State Senate is the upper house in the Iowa General Assembly. It consists of 50 members, each representing a district with about 59,500 residents. The districts are identified by a number. The senators serve four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Half of the senate is up for re-election every two years. Each member represents an average of 60,927 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 58,586 residents.[2]

As of April 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 Senate 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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be 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.[3]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[5]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 11th to March 30th.

Ethics and 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.[6]



See also: Iowa State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Iowa State Senate were held in Iowa on November 6, 2012. The signature filing deadline was March 16, 2012 and 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 State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Iowa State Senate 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.

Iowa State Senators serve four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Half of the senate is up for re-election every two years.

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

Iowa State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 32 27
     Republican Party 18 23
Total 50 50

In 2010, a total of $5,058,528 was raised in campaign contributions by those running for state senate. The top donors were: [7]


The Iowa Constitution states, "Senators shall be chosen for the term of four years, at the same time and place as representatives; they shall be twenty-five years of age, and possess the qualifications of representatives as to residence and citizenship." [8]


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

If a vacancy occurs in the Senate, the Governor must call for a special election within five days of the vacancy. If the vacancy happens while the Senate is in session, the Governor can call the election to be held as soon as possible. However, a minimum a 18 day notice is required. All other special elections require a 45 day notice as long there are no school elections scheduled on the same day[9].


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 non-partisan 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

The new State Senate districts vary from the ideal population count by no more than 1.65 percent, or less than a 550-resident deviation from the target for the least accurate district.[16]



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.[17]

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 senates
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 26
     Republican Party 24
Total 50

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


The Senate elects a President and President Pro Tempore from its members. The duties of the President include referring bills to committee, preserving order, and making procedural rulings. The President Pro Tempore presides over the Senate in the absence of the President.[18][19]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Iowa State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Pam Jochum Electiondot.png Democratic
President Pro Tempore Steven Sodders Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Joe Bolkcom Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader William Dotzler Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Wally Horn Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Matt McCoy Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Amanda Ragan Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Whip Rick Bertrand Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Joni Ernst Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Randy Feenstra Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader David Johnson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Tim Kapucian Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roby Smith Ends.png Republican

Current members

Current members, Iowa State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 David Johnson Ends.png Republican 2003
2 Randy Feenstra Ends.png Republican 2009
3 Bill Anderson Ends.png Republican 2011
4 Dennis Guth Ends.png Republican 2013
5 Daryl Beall Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
6 Mark Segebart Ends.png Republican 2013
7 Rick Bertrand Ends.png Republican 2011
8 Michael Gronstal Electiondot.png Democratic 1985
9 Nancy Boettger Ends.png Republican 1995
10 Jake Chapman Ends.png Republican 2013
11 Hubert Houser Ends.png Republican 2003
12 Joni Ernst Ends.png Republican 2011
13 Kent Sorenson Ends.png Republican 2011
14 Amy Sinclair Ends.png Republican 2013
15 Dennis Black Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
16 Dick Dearden Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
17 Jack Hatch Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
18 Janet Petersen Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
19 Jack Whitver Ends.png Republican 2011
20 Brad Zaun Ends.png Republican 2005
21 Matt McCoy Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
22 Charles Schneider Ends.png Republican 2013
23 Herman Quirmbach Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
24 Jerry Behn Ends.png Republican 1997
25 Bill Dix Ends.png Republican 2011
26 Mary Jo Wilhelm Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
27 Amanda Ragan Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
28 Michael Breitbach Ends.png Republican 2013
29 Tod Bowman Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
30 Jeff Danielson Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
31 William Dotzler Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
32 Brian Schoenjahn Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
33 Robert Hogg Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
34 Liz Mathis Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
35 Wally Horn Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
36 Steven Sodders Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
37 Robert Dvorsky Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
38 Tim Kapucian Ends.png Republican 2009
39 Sandra Greiner Ends.png Republican 2011
40 Ken Rozenboom Ends.png Republican 2013
41 Mark Chelgren Ends.png Republican 2011
42 Rich Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
43 Joe Bolkcom Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
44 Thomas Courtney Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
45 Joe Seng Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
46 Chris Brase Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
47 Roby Smith Ends.png Republican 2011
48 Dan Zumbach Ends.png Republican 2013
49 Rita Hart Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
50 Pam Jochum Electiondot.png Democratic 2009

Senate Standing Committees

The Iowa Senate has 17 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 Senate for 12 years while the Republicans were the majority for 8 years. During the final seven years, the senate was controlled by the Democrats.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates 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 have 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

External links


  1. Population in 2010 of the American states
  2. Population in 2000 of the American states
  3. blogs.desmoinesregister.com, "Breaking News: Iowa Legislature could adjourn 2013 session Wednesday; progress made on key issues," May 21, 2013
  4. RadioIowa, Property tax reduction still holding up close of legislature, June 15, 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 DesMoinesRegister.com, Iowa ends fiscal year with better-than-expected revenues, July 14, 2011
  6. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  7. Follow the Money: "Iowa Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  8. Iowa Constitution
  9. [field,%20folio-destination-name%20:%20sec_69_14%27$x=server#LPHit1 Iowa General Assembly "Iowa Election Law"](Referenced Statute 69.14)]
  10. The Legislative Lawyer, "A Nonpartisan Approach to Redistricting," 2002
  11. U.S> Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Iowa Profile," 2011
  12. Des Moines Register, "Iowa loses U.S. House seat in shift from Midwest, Northeast to South," December 21, 2010
  13. Radio Iowa, "Detailed 2010 Census data for Iowa released," February 10, 2011
  14. The Iowa Independent, "Proposed redistricting plan brings minor legislative shifts," March 31, 2011
  15. Reuters, "Iowa legislature approves redistricting plan," April 14, 2011
  16. Des Moines Register, "How balanced is Iowa’s redistricting proposal? See for yourself," April 1, 2011
  17. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  18. Rules of the Iowa Senate 81st General Assembly - Rules 52-53
  19. Iowa State Senate Leadership