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Iowa Legislative History: Step 3: Acts (Session Laws) & LSA Summaries

Step 3: Read The Acts That Have Modified Your Code Section

Once you have used the section history from the code to identify the acts that have modified your code section's language over time, your next step is to read the acts to confirm the changes they made are relevant to the issue you are researching. If an act is relevant, note the bill number provided at the top of the act. The bill number will begin with HF if it is a House bill, and SF if it is a Senate bill.

Note: The Iowa Code Annotated historical notes may help you identify which acts you need to look at more closely. They may also provide the bill numbers to help you look at the original bill file.

If the governor item vetoes a portion of a bill passed by the General Assembly, a veto letter will typically be issued and included in the session laws.

In addition, the session law provides a brief summary that describes the act. See the following for an example of the Iowa Supreme Court referencing this summary in determining legislative intent:

LSA Summaries of Legislation

The Legislative Services Agency (formerly the Legislative Services Bureau) writes detailed summaries of legislation passed after each General Assembly session. These can provide an overview of what the acts in your history section did and help you quickly identify those relevant to your issue.


Session Laws

After an Iowa General Assembly session, all enacted laws are published in the order in which they passed as "session laws" in Acts and Joint Resolutions of the General Assembly. All laws of both permanent and temporary nature, as well as joint resolutions, are published in these volumes.

Session laws are typically consulted in research if the law has not yet been codified, when you are tracing the history of a statutory provision, and if you need to see a single law in its entirety.


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