How a bill becomes a law in Iowa.

How a bill becomes a law in Iowa courtesy: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/resources/HowABillBecomesALaw.pdf

How a Bill Becomes a Law in Iowa

Step 1: A legislator sees what they think is a problem.

Step 2: A bill is drafted  by the Legislative Services Agency to address this problem.

Step 3: The bill is reviewed for accuracy and assigned a number.

Step 4: The bill’s sponsor introduces it to their chamber – either the House of Representatives, or the Senate.

Step 5: The bill is read aloud to the entire chamber.

Step 6: The bill is assigned to a committee for review.

Step 7: The committee chairman assigns the bill to a subcommittee for review.

Step 8: The subcommittee reviews the bill and makes a recommendation to the committee.

Step 9: The committee then discusses the subcommittee’s recommendation and the bill.

Step 10: The committee then makes a recommendation to the entire chamber. Recommendations may include:

-Passing the bill.

-Passing the bill with an amendment.

-Sending the bill to a different committee for review.

-Postponing the bill indefinitely

-Sending the bill to the whole chamber with no recommendation.

 Step 11: The bill is scheduled for debate in the whole chamber.

Note: the schedule is determined by the chamber’s majority leader who decides which bills will and will not be debated.

Step 12: The bill is debated by the whole chamber. Amendments may be added to the bill if a majority of Senators or Representatives vote to approve the proposed amendment.

Step 13: After debate the bill (with any new amendments) is read aloud one last time to the whole chamber.

Step 14: The chamber votes Yes or No on whether to send the bill to the other chamber (House to Senate or vice versa). The bill needs 26 yes votes in the Senate, 51 Yes votes in the House to advance to the opposite chamber.

Step 15: If approved the bill, and any new amendments are sent to the other chamber.

Step 16: The committee process is repeated in the opposite chamber (steps 5 through 14).

Step 17: If the bill is amended further, the new amendment(s) is sent back to the original chamber for approval.

If the original chamber votes to approve the new amendment the bill is sent to the Governor for final action.

If the original chamber rejects the new amendment, the amendment is sent back to the opposite chamber where they can pull the amendment, or insist the original chamber accept the new amendment. If they insist a 10 member conference committee of representatives and senators is created to work out the differences.

Step 17 A: The conference committee works out the differences and a compromise version of the bill is created and sent to both chambers. The new version cannot be amended by either chamber.

If both chambers approve the bill is sent to the Governor for final action.

If either chamber rejects the new version a second conference committee is created and the process is repeated. If an agreement cannot be reached after two conference committees the bill fails.

Step 18: The Governor receives the bill and has three options:

1. Sign the bill.

2. Veto the bill.

3. Take no action.

 A veto by the governor can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.

If no action is taken by the governor during the legislative session, the becomes law after 3 calendar days. If the governor receives the bill within the last last 3 calendar days of the legislative session he is given 30 calendar days to take action. If no action is taken in that time the bill fails (this is called a pocket veto).

Step 19: Once signed by the Governor the bill becomes law on July 1st, unless there is a different date specifically called for within the bill.

Step 20: The new law is added to the Iowa Code of Law.


Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Omnibus Firearms Bill Addressing Suppressors & Many Gun Issues to be Filed Soon - Iowa Firearms Coalition - Fighting for your Second Amendment rights in Iowa