Administrative Procedure Act – Iowa

The Iowa Administrative Procedure Act (“Act”)  is found inTitle 1, Subtitle 6, Chapter 17.A, of the Iowa Annotated Statutes. The main purposes of this Act include:

  1. To increase public accountability of administrative agencies;
  2. To increase public access to governmental information;
  3. To provide minimum procedural code for all state agencies when they take actions affecting the rights and duties of the public;
  4. To increase public participation in the formulation of administrative rules;
  5. To provide legislative oversight of powers and duties delegated to administrative agencies;
  6. To simplify the process of judicial review of agency action as well as increase its ease and availability.
  7. To increase the fairness of agencies in their conduct of contested case proceedings;
  8. To assure a uniform minimum procedure to which all agencies will be held in the conduct of their most important functions.

According to Iowa Code § 17A.3, an agency must adopt as a rule the explanation of its organization, mode of operation and procedures through which the public can obtain information.  An agency must also make available for public inspection all rules, final orders, decisions, non-confidential opinions and other written statements of policy or interpretations.

Iowa Code § 17A.4 provides that an agency before adopting, amending or repealing a rule must give notice by submitting notice to the administrative rule coordinator and administrative code editor.  The administrative rules coordinator will assign an ARC number to each document and the administrative code editor will public each notice of the meetings in the Iowa administrative bulletin.  The agency will also issue a regulatory analysis of the proposed rule.

Furthermore,  according to Iowa Code § 17A.5, each agency must file the adopted rules with the office of the administrative rule coordinator and an exact copy with the administrative code editor.  The administrative rules coordinator will assign an ARC number to each rule-making document and the administrative code editor will keep a permanent register of all rules open to public inspection.  The administrative code editor will publish the Iowa administrative bulletin at least every other week unless administrative code editor or the administrative rules review committee fixes another preferable date.  The Iowa administrative bulletin will contain:

  • Notice of the intended action and adopted rules;
  • All general and permanent proclamations and executive order of the governor;
  • Resolutions nullifying administrative rules pronounced by the general assembly;
  • Other materials believed to be proper by the administrative rules review committee.

After consulting the administrative rules coordinator, administrative code editor must compile, index and publish the Iowa Administrative Code.

According to Iowa Code § 17A.7, any interested person can ask the agency for promulgation, amendment or appeal of a rule.  Within 60 days after the submission of the petition, the agency can either allow the petition by initiating rule-making proceedings or can deny the petition stating its reasons in writing.

Administrative rules review committee is created by Iowa Code § 17A.8.  The members of the committee are:

  • Three senators appointed by the majority leader of the senate;
  • Two senators appointed by the minority leader of the senate;
  • Three representatives appointed by the speaker of House of Representatives; and
  • Two representatives appointed by the minority leader of House of Representatives.

According to Iowa Code § 17A.9, any person can petition an agency for a declaratory order concerning to the applicability of a rule or order within the primary jurisdiction of that agency.  The agency can issue declaratory order if that order will not substantially prejudice the rights of a person who is a necessary party to the action and who has not consent in writing to the determination of the matter by declaratory order proceeding.

According to Iowa Code § 17A.9A, if the application of any rule cause undue hardship to a person, then that person can apply to the agency for a waiver or variance from the requirements of the rule.  The agency can grant waiver or variance, if that agency has jurisdiction over the concerned rule and the allowance of waiver or variance will be consistent with other applicable statutes or the constitution.

Iowa Code § 17A.15 provides that the decision of an agency which controls the treatment of the evidence in a contested case, is a final decision.  When the presiding officer of the agency is controlling the evidence, then s/he will make a proposed decision which will be considered as the final decision.

According to Iowa Code § 17A.18, when the constitution requires that the grant, denial or renewal of a license must be preceded with a notice or opportunity for hearing then, the agency must comply with those requirements.  Revocation, suspension, withdrawal or amendment of a license will be unlawful if before the institution of the agency proceeding, the agency did not give written timely notice to the licensee by personal service or by restricted personal mail regarding the facts, conduct or provision of law concerning the intended action.

Iowa Code § 17A.18A provides that an agency can use emergency adjudicative proceedings in situations involving immediate danger to public health, safety and welfare provided that the application or use must consistent with the constitution of State of Iowa or the constitution of the U.S.

Iowa Code § 17A.19 provides that a person who has exhausted all administrative remedies and is aggrieved or adversely affected by an agency action can seek judicial review of the said action.  The proceedings for judicial review can be instituted either in Polk county district court or in the district court for the county in which the petitioner resides or has its principal place of business.  An aggrieved party can also seek judicial review of any final judgment of a district court like in other civil cases.

If the attorney general determines that any provision of this Act is inconsistent with federal law, then that provision can be suspended.


Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Iowa