Iowa has had two state constitutions. The constitution of 1857 replaced the original constitution of 1846 and with 52 amendments as of January 2003 (three of which were later nullified by the state supreme court), is still in effect.
The state legislature, or general assembly, consists of a 50-member senate and a 100-member house of representatives. Senators serve four-year terms, with half the members elected every two years. Representatives are elected to two-year terms. The legislature convenes each year on the 2nd Monday in January. Length of session is indirectly limited by the legislators' salary. Special sessions may only be called by the governor and length is not limited. Each house may introduce or amend legislation, with a simple majority vote required for passage. Proposed amendments must be approved by a majority vote in two sessions of the legislature before it is sent to voters for ratification. The governor's veto of a bill may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the elected members in both houses. Unless vetoed, a bill becomes law after three days when the legislature is in session. Legislators must be US citizens and must have resided in the state for a year and in the district for at least 60 days prior to election; a representative must be at least 21 years old, and a senator 25. The legislative salary was $20,758 in 2002, unchanged from 1999.
The state's elected executives are the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and secretary of agriculture, all serving four-year terms. The governor and lieutenant governor, elected jointly, must be US citizens, at least 30 years old, and must have been resident of the state for at least two years. In 2002 the governor's salary was $104,482.
To vote in Iowa, a person must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, a state resident, and not able to claim the right to vote elsewhere. Restrictions apply to those convicted of certain crimes and to those judged by the court as mentally incompetent to vote.