Common Questions

Common Questions

What is G.A.?

General Assembly (G.A.) – 1st and 2nd

First Session of a General Assembly (G.A.)

* Happens in Odd Numbered Years – 2001; 2003;
* Last not more than 110 days;
* (Per Diem ends after 110 days);
* Bills introduced, but not passed, are eligible for consideration during the next (2nd ) session.

Second Session of a General Assembly (G.A.)

* Happens in Even Numbered Years – 2002; 2004;
* This session lasts not more than 100 days;
* (Per Diem ends after 100 days);
* At the end of the 2nd session, all bills from both sessions that do not pass die. 80th GA – 2003 and 2004 legislative sessions.

What are HSB or SSB?

House Study Bill or Senate Study Bill (HSB or SSB)

* Can be “proposed” by the Governor, a State Agency, or the Committee Chairperson;
* Is a work in progress;
* Will only find in a Committee;
* When voted out of a Committee becomes a House File or Senate File and moves to floor for full debate.

What are HF or SF?

House File or Senate File (HF or SF)

* Can be introduced by an individual legislator, group of legislators or a Committee (see HSB and SSB above);
* If introduced by one or more legislators, then the bill goes to a Committee;
* Committee chairperson appoints a three person subcommittee;
* Subcommittee work is key;
* Consideration of the House File or Senate File by the full Committee is at chairperson’s discretion; Committee can propose an amendment;
* When voted out of Committee, bill heads to the floor for debate.

What is an Enrolled Bill?

* A House File or Senate File that made it the whole way.
* Is ready to be signed by the Governor;
* Small font; In landscape;

How a Bill Moves Through the Legislative Process?

1. Bill introduced
2. Assigned to House Committee
3. Voted out of House Committee
4. Passes House of Representatives
5. Assigned to Senate Committee
6. Voted out of Senate Committee
7. Passes Senate
8. Signed by the Governor

What is Iowa Law?

Effective year after year until the Legislature passes a bill to get rid of it or amend it.
Printed in Code of Iowa, Code of Iowa Supplement AND Iowa Acts

What is Session Law?

Only effective for that fiscal year ( From July 1 of one year To June 30 of the next year)

* Appropriations
* Studies
* Temporary programs

Not printed in Iowa Code
Printed only in annual edition of the Iowa Acts

Good Principles to Remember on Bill

1. A bill has to pass both chambers in identical form before it goes to the Governor. (Enrolled bill – tiny type in landscape.)
2. The Governor has to sign a bill before it becomes law.
3. A new law takes effect July 1 of the new fiscal year OR the date specified at the end of a bill.
4. An idea can have several different bill numbers before it becomes law.
5. The House debates House Files and Senate Files but only debates amendments starting with an “H”.
6. The Senate debates Senate Files and House Files but only debates amendments starting with an “S”.
7. Three digit House File or Senate File = 1 st session of the General Assembly (G.A.). * HF 123 or SF 123
8. Four digit House File or Senate File STARTING WITH “2”= 2 nd session of the General Assembly (G.A.). * HF 2123 or SF 2123
9. Bills don’t die after the first session of a G.A.
10. All bills die after the second session of a G.A.
11. Don’t trust the “Explanation” at the end of the bill.
12. View bills on the State Legislature website

Iowa Legislative Committees

Standing Committees

A standing committee is a group of legislators designated by a chamber to give thorough consideration to and make recommendations on bills assigned to the committee and to
introduce legislative bills and resolutions relating to their specific subject areas. Standing committees may conduct investigations and in-depth studies of governmental matters
within those subject areas. Further duties of standing committees are listed in section 2.15 of the Code of Iowa.

The standing committees of the Iowa General Assembly are listed below.

SENATE
Agriculture
Appropriations
Business & Labor
Commerce
Education
Ethics
Human Resources
Judiciary
Local Government
Natural Resources & Environment
Rules & Administration
Small Business,
EconomicDevelopment & Tourism
State Government
Transportation
Ways & Means

HOUSE
Administration & Rules
Agriculture
Appropriations
Commerce & Regulation
Economic Development
Education
Environmental Protection
Ethics
Human Resources
Judiciary
Labor & Industrial Relations
Local Government
Natural Resources
State Government
Transportation
Ways & Means

Members serve on three to five standing committees at a time. Standing committees meet at least weekly during the first portion of a session in accordance with a schedule determined by the legislative leadership. The designated chairperson presides over each meeting. Each committee adopts rules of procedure.

Roles for the committee members:

  • The committee chairperson’s secretary prepares meeting agendas, completes committee report forms, and assists the chairperson during the meeting.
  • The committee vice chairperson’s secretary prepares the minutes of each meeting.
  • The committee ranking member’s secretary prepares and distributes meeting notices.

In addition, many members serve on one of nine appropriations subcommittees.