Iowa residents are subject to Iowa state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in Iowa as they do across all 50 states. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. You can explore federal laws and related resources by visiting the federal law section of the Justia site.
The state of Iowa also has its own state laws. Iowa state laws include the Iowa Constitution, laws passed by the Iowa legislature and periodically codified in the Iowa Code, and decisions by courts that interpret Iowa laws.
Adopted in 1857, the current Iowa Constitution contains only 12 articles and a few dozen amendments. Article X of the Constitution provides the two main processes for amending the document. First, an amendment may be proposed in either chamber of the Iowa General Assembly. If the General Assembly votes in favor of the amendment in successive sessions, the amendment will appear on a ballot. Alternatively, the Iowa Constitution may be amended through a constitutional convention. The General Assembly can vote to place a proposal for a constitutional convention on a ballot at any time. A proposal for a constitutional convention also appears automatically on a ballot every 10 years but has never been approved.
The Iowa Code contains the laws passed by the Iowa legislature. These laws and the provisions of the Iowa Constitution are often interpreted by the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals. Two federal district courts in Iowa also issue decisions that may affect Iowa residents. These are the Northern and Southern District Courts of Iowa. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by federal district courts in Iowa. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Eighth Circuit or from the Iowa Supreme Court.