It will become easier for Iowa logging companies to haul their product in and out of state after Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed SF 629 into law at Kendrick Forest Products (KFP) in Edgewood May. 20.
The bill allows Iowa’s forest industry to haul overweight with permits. Currently, truckers can haul no more than 80,000 pounds on five axles. The new bill will allow no more than 20,000 pounds per axle, essentially allowing trucks to haul up to 100,000 pounds.
Reynolds signed the bill at Kendrick Forest Products in front of the company’s owners and workers, along with members of the Iowa Wood Industry Association (IWIA) and state legislators who helped craft the bill. Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg accompanied Reynolds to Edgewood.
“The bill is important to Kendrick Forest Products because they contribute to the gross state product,” Reynolds said. “Sometimes when we think of agriculture, we think of soybeans and corn and often forget about the importance wood products play in our state’s economy. This will just help them be competitive and help them move their products in and out of the state. I know it’s something they have been working on for a long time. Any time we can help support our small businesses, we should be doing that.”
KFP log salesman Kirby Kendrick said IWIA officials have been working for three years to get the overweight restrictions lifted. Speaking by phone from Germany, where he is in the midst of a 20-day tour for KFP, he said the new law helps Iowa forest companies stay competitive.
“There are currently 24 states that have a forestry overweight bill. A good chunk of those happen to be our competitors from neighboring states. This gets us on more of a level playing field with folks in Wisconsin and Illinois where Iowa businesses do a lot of business back and forth.”
Kendrick said other industries already have overweight hauling options in Iowa. “This bill is nothing foreign to what Iowa is already doing. The forest industry was at such a disadvantage when selling our materials.”
Kendrick said the bill signing was the culmination of three years of work by the IWIA at the statehouse.
“I’m thankful we have legislators in our state who are willing to listen to problems folks like us have. I’m thankful they worked with us on this.”
Following the signing, Reynolds addressed other issues affecting Iowa.
On tariffs — “Last Friday was a good day and today tariffs were actually lifted on steel and aluminum, and tariffs on pork were lifted today. We are encouraging Congress to take the next step with ratification of the USMCA (United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement). When we start to take some of these things off the table and start to provide predictability and stability to the trade market, then as allies we can focus our efforts on China. As I speak to commodity groups and our manufacturers, they continue to tell me China is a bad actor and needs to be held accountable.”
On sports betting in Iowa — “It’s not a big revenue generator, so that didn’t play into my decision to sign the bill. But it is happening, so this will allow us to bring in oversight and really put in some regulatory requirements to what is already taking place in the state and around the country.”
On what she is most proud of as governor — “I’m proud that we continue to make historic investments in K–12 education. It was the first bill I signed. We unanimously passed the Future Ready Iowa bill last year that will help Iowans and our job creators. I said this year it was time to put the money behind the policy. We did this with almost unanimous support. I signed the Future Ready Iowa bill in Wilton. Just like in communities like Edgewood, we want to see prosperity and growth in every single corner of the state. I’m also really proud we were finally able to put together a children’s mental health system so our young people can get the services they need. Most of these things happened with bi-partisan support and I’m very proud of that.”
On whether she will sign a bill limiting the powers of the state attorney general —”I haven’t decided yet but will make a decision on that this week.”