Skip to main content

Iowa Legislative History: Step 2: Code Section History

Step 2: Look At The Code Section History

The code section history references immediately follow the statutory text and provide information to help you locate the session laws (Acts and Joint Resolutions of the General Assembly) that created and changed the section's language over time, as well as to help you determine if your code section was historically located under a different part of the code.

The code section history can help you identify relevant legislation for which you want to find documents associated with its drafting and passage. Note, too, that the Iowa Supreme Court also often traces the evolution of the subject matter in the Code to inform its interpretation of legislative intent, which means it might be useful to look at code provisions before and after the introduction of the specific language of interest.

See the following cases for examples of ways the court has used code section history to interpret legislative intent:

Section History - Iowa Code Annotated

In West's Iowa Code Annotated, the history references immediately following the code section's statutory text will:

  • Alert you if the material was transferred from a different part of the code, and will provide the year the change occured.
  • Refer to the Acts (session laws) that created or changed the code section's language.
  • Often also include some historical notes that briefly summarize the changes each Act made to the section's language.

The Iowa Code Annotated is available at Ready Reference and via Westlaw (login required; public access station in library lobby).

Examples: 

(Note that these references were current as of the writing of this guide but may have additional history references now. Please do not rely on them for research purposes.) 

275.41 Alternative method for director elections — temporary appointments
{Statutory text omitted}

Credits

Added by Acts 1978 (67 G.A.) ch. 1096, § 17. Session law that originally added section. Amended by Acts 1980 (68 G.A.) ch. 1015, § 35; Acts 1983 (70 G.A.) ch. 53, § 5; Acts 1985 (71 G.A.) ch. 221, § 9; Acts 1993 (75 G.A.) ch. 160, §§ 12, 13; Acts 2005 (81 G.A.) ch. 3, S.F. 113, § 58; Acts 2008 (82 G.A.) ch. 1115, H.F. 2620, § 17, eff. April 22, 2008; Acts 2009 (83 G.A.) ch. 41, S.F. 446, § 248. List of session laws that amended section. (Note that starting with this 2005 reference, you are provided both the session law and the bill references.)


22.2 Right to examine public records — exceptions.
{Statutory text omitted}

Credits
Transferred from § 68A.2 by the Code Editor for Code 1985. material was moved in 1985 Amended by Acts 1989 (73 G.A.) ch. 189, § 1; Acts 1996 (76 G.A.) ch. 1099, § 14; Acts 1998 (77 G.A.) ch. 1224, § 17.  references session laws

Section History - Code of Iowa

In the official Code of Iowa, there are several types of history references:

  • Information in brackets gives the older style of code history information. (This style changed between 1982-1984.) In this old style, references were provided to earlier versions of the code where the subject matter was covered, whether there was a change in the statutory language or not. The code references are followed by the section number where the material appeared, so you can see if a section was moved to another part of the code. 
  • The non-bracketed references represent the new style of providing code history. You now only see changes:
    • Code references with a section number indicate the code section was moved to the identified part of the code in the year specifed.
    • References to the Acts with a section number indicate the session law section that created or changed the code section's language.

The official Code of Iowa is available at the Information Desk (current only) or the Iowa Wing at KFI 4230 (current and historical versions). It can also be accessed through the Iowa Legislature's website.

Examples:

(Note that these references were current as of the writing of this guide but may have additional history references now. Please do not rely on them for research purposes.) 

275.41 Alternative method for director elections — temporary appointments
{Statutory text omitted}


[C62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §275.25; C79, 81, §275.41] earlier versions of code where material appeared. In the 1962-77 Codes it was at §275.25; In the 1979 and 1981 Codes, it was at  §275.41

83 Acts, ch 53, §5; 85 Acts, ch 221, §9; 93 Acts, ch 160, §12, 13; 2005 Acts, ch 3, §58; 2008 Acts, ch 1115, §17, 21; 2009 Acts, ch 41, §248 Session laws that changed this code section.

22.2 Right to examine public records — exceptions.
{Statutory text omitted}


[C71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, §68A.2]  earlier versions of code where material appeared. At that time it was codified at section 68A.2

84 Acts, ch 1185, §2  references session law that affected section

C85, §22.2  material was moved and in the 1985 Code first appeared at section 22.2

89 Acts, ch 189, §1; 96 Acts, ch 1099, §14; 98 Acts, ch 1224, §1 references session laws that changed code section

Law Library Web Site · Locator Guide & Maps · Hours · Interlibrary Loan · Ask A Librarian

Drake University Law Library • 2507 University Ave. • Des Moines, Iowa 50311