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Government of Iowa

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The Government of Iowa is guarded and established by the Iowa Constitution. Iowa became a 29th state of the United States on December 28, 1846 [1]. The government of Iowa is divided into three distinct branches, namely the Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. Iowa is also nicknamed as the “Hawkeye State”.


Executive Branch of Iowa

The Iowa Executive Branch is a well functioning body of the government of Iowa and several state government departments work under the executive branch. The Governor of Iowa leads the government as well as the state as the chief executive head. The governor may serve the State for a four year term. He/she must be at least 30 years of age prior to election and must be a citizen of the United States. Additionally he/she must be Iowa's resident for minimum 2 years prior the election. The governor as the state’s chief administrator is responsible to oversee the proper functioning of all the state departments and offices. The governor of Iowa also has the unilateral power to forbid the law enacted by the state legislature which can be accomplished by attaining simple majority within the upper house and the lower house.executive

Office of the Governor
State Capitol
1007 East Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Phone: 515.281.5211
Website: http://governor.iowa.gov/

The Lieutenant governor of Iowa may exercise the governor’s duties only in situations when the governor is incapable of performing his/her duties due to death, resignation, impeachment, termination from office, or other disability. Based on whether he/she is a member of the cabinet of the governor, executive authority may or may not be rendered to the lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor is also elected for a four year term.

Office of the Lieutenant Governor
State Capitol
1007 East Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Phone: 515.281.5211
Website: http://ltgovernor.iowa.gov/

The other elected executive officials are Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer of State, Auditor of State, and Secretary of Agriculture. Each may serve the state for a four-year term.

Attorney General

The Attorney General is the highest ranking law enforcement officer for the state. He/she is the head of the Department of Law, and is regarded as the State's chief legal officer. He/she is a representative of the state and its agencies in court cases, renders legal counsel to state agencies and is also answerable in written format to the state official's questions of law.

Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-5164
Fax: 515-281-4209
Email: webteam@iowa.gov
Website: http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is a constitutionally elected official in the executive branch of state government. The secretary has many duties and responsibilities to fulfil for the state, including administration of elections and providing certain business services to the public. The Business Services Division of tcapitolhe Secretary of State must perform the duties of filing varied statutorily required documents.

Secretary of State
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-5204
Email: sos@sos.iowa.gov
Website: http://sos.iowa.gov/

Treasurer of State

The State Treasurer is responsible to efficiently manage the finances and public resources. The Treasurer also has the responsibility to overview cash management, debt management, pension funds etc. of the state. He/she is the state’s cash manager and is responsible to coordinate the financial services that are utilized by various state agencies and must hold strict custody of state funds.

State Treasurer's Office
Capitol Building
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-5368
Fax: (515) 281-7562
Website: http://www.treasurer.state.ia.us/

Auditor of State

The State Auditor has the responsibility to exercise certain duties by law to review the books, records and accounts annually of every state department and also to perform financial audits of local government agencies that use the privileges of state funds.

Office of Auditor of State
PO Box 333
Des Moines, Iowa 50302-0333
Telephone: 515-281-5834
Fax: 515-242-6134
Email: info@auditor.state.ia.us
Website: http://auditor.iowa.gov/

Secretary of Agriculture

The Secretary of Agriculture leads the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The Department of Agriculture overviews all activities related to agriculture and also strives to keep updated with the changing global market trends in agriculture. The department also operates to expose Iowa’s agricultural market globally and remove all unwanted barriers to agricultural trade.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-5321
Website: http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/default.asp

Legislative Branch of Iowa

Iowa's legislative branch is a bicameral body which is called the Iowa General Assembly or the "Iowa Legislature". The general assembly is divided into two separate bodies, namely Iowa Senate and House of Representatives. All legislators must reside in their respective districts they represent. The two legislatures meet in the Legislative Building at the New Jersey Capitol in Des Moines.legislature

Learn more:Iowa Legislature

The Iowa Senate, consisting of 50 state senators, is the upper House of the legislature. Each senator may serve for a four year term without any term limits and half of the senate elected every 2 years. The state's senator must be minimum 30 years of age, a Iowa citizen and must reside in the state for a minimum of 6 years immediately prior to the election. He/she must reside in their particular district for a minimum of one year before the election.

The House of Representatives, consisting of 100 members, is the lower house of the legislature. Each member represents each district and he/she may serve for two-year terms in the house without any term limits.

The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the assembly who is elected by the members of the house through a House resolution. It is a leadership position and he/she must administer the majority party agenda and delegate the duty to the members of the house.

Judicial Branch of Iowa

Under the Iowa Constitution, the Judiciary branch applies and interprets laws and regulations to ensure justice in the state. The judicial system of Iowa is served by numerous efficient professionally trained judges. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court heads the Iowa's court system. There are two general types of courts Judicialin Iowa, namely appellate courts (the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals) and trial courts (called District Courts in Iowa).

Learn more: Iowa Judicial Branch

Iowa Appellate Courts

Appellate courts handle and hear cases appealed and forwarded from the trial courts. The court is responsible to review on matters related to the legislature's constitutionality of laws and overview executive branch's actions. The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals are the two appellate courts in Iowa.

Iowa Supreme Court

The Iowa Supreme Court is the state's court of highest appeal or final resort. The court comprises of a chief justice and six justices who are appointed by the governor. The state's District Courts decisions are reviewed with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court under its own discretion may select and retain appeals which are of utmost importance and complex or which challenges a state law. All other cases are given to the Iowa Court of Appeals for review.

The Iowa Supreme Court also has the responsibility to overview the licensing and disciplining of attorneys, ratify state rules and regulations and apply practically across the entire state courts, and manages the functioning of the whole state court system.

Iowa Supreme Court
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515/281-5911 (Clerk of Court)

Iowa Court of Appeals

The Iowa Court of Appeals is the court of intermediate appeal and consists of 9 judges who are appointed by the governor. Each judge may serve for a six year term. The nine judges are grouped as panels of 3 judges and they are responsible to make decisions on all appeals forwarded by the Iowa Supreme Court. Any unsatisfactory trial court's decisions are reviewed by the court of appeals.

Iowa Court of Appealsjustice
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

515/281-5221 (Reception)
515/281-5911 (Clerk of Court)

Iowa District Court or Trial Courts

District Court is the limited jurisdiction court. All civil and criminal cases are initially heard in trial courts. The Iowa District Courts have legal authority in cases related to all civil, criminal, domestic, probate and juvenile cases that require an explanation of state law. Each of the 99 counties in Iowa has a district court and for easy administration and functioning, they are arranged and grouped into 8 judicial districts. Judicial officers of different rankings are appointed in each judicial district, namely Magistrates, Associate Probate Judges, Associate Juvenile Judges, District Court Judges and District Associate Judges.

Learn more: Iowa District Courts

Iowa Juvenile Court

The district court encompasses another specialized court called the juvenile court. The court has jurisdiction over four kinds of cases related to children:

  • Adoption

  • Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases involving abused, neglected or abandoned children and at times may result to take away the parental rights.

  • Delinquency cases involving acts performed by juveniles which otherwise would be considered as criminal acts if an adult commit it.

  • Commitment proceedings involving the placement of a child in a hospital or other treatment facility for mental illness or a substance abuse problem.

Iowa Speciality Court

Iowa’s specialty courts encompass-

  • The Family Drug Court Initiative - It offers community-based services to substance-related disorder treatment in five pilot county sites.

  • The Business Specialty Court Pilot Project - It is an initiative applied throughout the state to improve the overall efficiency and responsiveness of Iowa courts.

Iowa Small Claims Court

The county court has a division called small claims court that handles minor disputes in an inexpensive way. The county judge provides the hearings and such courts involve less legal procedures and lawyers may not take part. Small claims court handles cases related to non-criminal civil cases such as disputes over property destruction, money owed, or seeking the return of personal property.

Learn more: Iowa Small Claims Court

Iowa Taxation

The Iowa department of Revenue manages and administers a standard tax laws in the state. Tax laws include entire laws and taxes on income, sales, property, luxury, and estate. Iowa levies taxes on net individual's income, trusts and estates. The tax rate varies according to city, county or rural.

Iowa Tax Quick Facts: [2]

  • Income Tax: Income tax brackets in the state are divided into 9 brackets, ranging from 0.36% to 8.98% of personal income.

  • Sales and Use tax rate: 6% (No tax imposed on non prepared food)tax

Learn more: Details on various State Tax Types and Rates

Iowa Department of Revenue
Customer Service
515-281-3114 or 800-367-3388 (Iowa, Omaha, Rock Island, Moline)
8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. CT
Website: http://tax.iowa.gov/

Mailing Addresses

Iowa State Executive Departments

Several state departments, under the leadership of the governor of Iowa, operate to ensure progress and development of the state. Some of the main state departments of Iowa are:

Iowa Department of Education

The Iowa Department of Education operates to improve the public education system and also to enhance student academic achievements and outputs. The department’s mission is to provide world class education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life. The Iowa State Board of Education overviews the regulation of the public school, non public schools, teacher preparation programs and community colleges. Education

Contact Details:
Iowa Department of Education:
400 E. 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Phone: 515-281-5294
Fax: 515-242-5988
Website: http://www.educateiowa.gov/

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship oversees all areas of agriculture covering all aspects of livestock market, livestock brands, livestock dealers, fertilizer, seed, and feed. The department is a consumer protection and service agency that functions as a vital agency that directly or indirectly affects the lives of all residents of the state. The department strives to promote Iowa’s agricultural market globally and also remove all unwanted barriers to agricultural trade.

Contact Details:
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-5321
Website: http://www.agriculture.state.ia.us/

Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) works efficiently to improve the health and living standards of the community by implementing many health regulating services and policies. The health department also has its sub divisions which provide all vital records and health statistics of the state. The health depahealthrtment also focuses on community and environmental health so that people lives a healthy life.

Contact Details:
Iowa Department of Public Health
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa, 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 281-7689 or toll-free at 1-866-227-9878
Website: http://www.idph.state.ia.us/

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department

The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD) is a significant department which tends to the emergency preparedness and safety of the state's people and the property. The department serves as the guardian of the state in emergency management and dedicated to prevent all hazards faced by the people of the state as much as possible.

Contact Details:
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department
7900 Hickman Road
Suite 500
Windsor Heights, IA 50324
phone: 515.725.3231
Fax: 515.725.3260
Website: http://www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/

Department of Administrative Services

The Iowa Department of Administrative Services is the chief executive office that renders administrative services related to finance, labor, space leasing, postal, telecommunications systems, property management, energy management etc. The human resources division of the department overview the entire state employment system and all activities related to state employees and employers.

Contact Details:
Phone: 515-242-5120 General Questions
Human Resources Questions: CustServ.HRE@iowa.gov
Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Website: http://das.iowa.gov/


  1. Iowa Statehood
  2. Iowa Taxation
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