DES MOINES - Iowa fishermen will be able to drop a third line in the water without plunking down any more money for a fishing license.
The change is part of five laws that took effect Jan. 1. Most laws approved by legislators in 2012 take effect July 1, 2013, but a few started with the new year.
One of those is under the jurisdiction of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It includes the provision to allow anglers to fish with three poles and a total of six hooks, up from two poles and four hooks, for the same $12 license fee.
The measure is aimed at spurring ice fishing, which is back on the rise after a poor showing last winter. Anglers have rushed back to Iowa's lakes, particularly in the northern part of the state, as the temperature has dropped in recent weeks, DNR spokesman Mick Klemesrud said.
Likewise, a third line could help catfish anglers, who bait lines with foul-smelling bait at different distances from shore.
"Adding a third line, you're putting more stink in the water," Klemesrud said.
The new DNR law is also aimed at promoting outdoor activity by making licensing more convenient. One allows hunting and fishing on a combined license, at a cost of less than separate licenses. Another provides for three-year licenses for hunting or fishing, also priced lower than the cost of renewing them annually.
"You don't have to worry about it for three years. For perennial hunters, it's a convenience," Klemesrud said.
Other laws taking effect are varied and aimed at specific niches.
The secretary of state will oversee the launch of a state construction registry. The goal of the database is to provide building contractors and property owners a single list of projects where builders have sought a lien, a legal claim to property in cases where builders aren't paid. As of Monday, those liens were reported only to individual counties.
Another law makes Iowa's volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians eligible for a $50 income tax credit.
There also will be changes in rules for public notaries, who are authorized, for example, to witness and authenticate some official documents.
And starting in Jan. 1, child care providers who serve children eligible for the state's assistance program will receive a rate increase.