Officials in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are accepting comments on the agency?s proposed hunting and fishing license fee increases.
The proposal would put the cost of an annual resident hunting or fishing license at $20, an increase of $3.
The proposed fees do not include the vendor or convenience fee added where the licenses are sold.
The proposed fee schedule for all hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and habitat fee is available online at iowadnr.gov/hunting.
State officials say the fee increase would be the first since 2002 and the first increase for an annual fishing license since 2004.
If approved, the new fee schedule would be effective when 2019 licenses go on sale on Dec. 15.
Revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses is deposited into the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, which is a state constitutionally protected fund that also includes federal excise taxes paid on ammunition, fishing tackle and other hunting and fishing supplies.
The authority to set hunting and fishing license fees had rested with the Iowa Legislature until this year, when lawmakers passed a bill signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds that shifted the authority to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resource Commission.
Any proposed fee increase would be subject to review by the Legislature?s Administrative Rules Review Committee before enactment.
Comments on the proposal may be submitted through Aug. 21 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Joe Larscheid, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034.
DNR officials also have scheduled listening sessions from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 21 at locations in Des Moines, Spirit Lake, Ventura, Lewis, Manchester and Brighton.
New business filings jump
Iowans have set a record for new business filings for the third year in a row.
During the 2018 fiscal year that ended June 30, 23,649 new businesses were created in the state, according to filings made with the Secretary of State?s Office.
That compared with 21,665 new businesses that were created in Iowa the previous fiscal year.
State officials launched a Fast Track Filing system in June designed to expedite the process of registering a business with the state. The average processing time is less than five minutes during regular business hours, and less than 24 hours during non-business hours, according to the Secretary of State?s Office.
Iowa HIV diagnoses high but declining
New data from the state Department of Public Health shows 125 Iowans were diagnosed with HIV in 2017, which was the second highest number on record but below the 137 diagnoses the previous year.
?The high number of diagnoses may be an indication people at risk for HIV are responding to increased outreach and are getting tested,? said Nicole Kolm-Valdivia, manager of the department?s Bureau of HIV, STD and Hepatitis Data.
?If that?s the case, it?s a positive sign,? she added.
According to the Iowa HIV Disease End-of-Year 2017 Surveillance Report, African Americans and Latinos continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV. Though African Americans make up 3 percent of Iowa?s population and Latinos comprise 6 percent, they account for 30 percent and 13 percent of the state?s HIV diagnoses, respectively.
Men who have sex with men is the leading exposure category, accounting for 56 percent of people with HIV diagnoses, according to health officials.
The state agency?s plan to address HIV focuses on early diagnosis though testing, linkage to care and staying in care.
Ultimately, this leads to people with HIV having an undetectable viral load, which has been shown to eliminate the risk of sexually transmitting the virus to others, according to state officials.
Agency officials advised that all Iowans ages 15 to 64 should get tested for HIV at least once in their lives.