Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS



46-5-109. Limitations on UAVs


76-13-214. Obstruction of aerial wildfire suppression effort -- penalty -- exceptions


Drones in the news

April 2020 - Montana Drone Technology Company Acquired for $350M




Bill History


Where just the name of the bill or resolution is hyperlinked in black that means that it is not yet law!

Note that bills that are now law are changed to blue font


SB 170 died


HB 330 

Bill text


Section 1. Limitations on excess property provided to local law enforcement -- definitions. (1) A law enforcement agency may not receive the following property from a military equipment surplus program operated by the federal government:

(a) drones that are armored, weaponized, or both;
(b) aircraft that are combat configured or combat coded;
(c) grenades or similar explosives and grenade launchers;
(d) silencers; or
(e) militarized armored vehicles.
(2) If a law enforcement agency purchases property from a military equipment surplus program operated

by the federal government, the law enforcement agency may only use state or local funds for the purchase. Funds obtained from the federal government may not be used to purchase property from a military equipment surplus program.

(3) For purposes of this section, "law enforcement agency" means a law enforcement service provided by a local government as authorized in Title 7, chapter 32. 



HB 644prohibits using UAS to interfere with wildfire suppression efforts. Anyone who violates this prohibition is liable for the amount equivalent to the costs of this interference. The law also prohibits local governments from enacting an ordinance addressing the use of UAS in relation to a wildfire.


On May 1, 2013, the 63rd Legislature of Montana signed Senate Bill (SB) 196 (download below) into law as Chapter 377. This was an act limiting the use of UAVs by law enforcement; and prohibiting the use of unlawfully obtained information as evidence in court.

SB 196 limits when information gained from the use of UAVs may be admitted as evidence in any prosecution or proceeding within the state. The information can be used when it was obtained pursuant to a search warrant, or through a judicially recognized exception to search warrants. The new law defines “UAV” as “an aircraft that is operated without direct human intervention from on or within the aircraft,” not including satellites.  

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