Law & Order

Sponsor Pulls Montana Anti-Hobbyist Inoperable Vehicle Bill From Committee Consideration

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff 

As a result of the opposition expressed by the Montana enthusiast community, legislation to limit the number of inoperable motor vehicles allowed on private property under “community decay” laws was withdrawn from consideration by the House Local Government Committee. The bill had been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, February 19, 2013. 

Under the bill, four or more “junk vehicles” on private property would have constituted “community decay.” The measure provided no reasonable concessions for legitimate automotive hobbyists to work on more than three inoperable collector vehicles on private property. SEMA believes that clear legal distinctions must be drawn between an owner using private property as a dumping ground and a vehicle enthusiast working to maintain, restore or construct a vehicle. 

SEMA supports legislation that permits the outdoor storage of motor vehicles if they are located away from public view, or screened by a fence, trees, shrubbery, opaque covering or other appropriate means. This bill provided no such accommodation to vehicle restorers and allowed municipalities alone to determine if these vehicles created “community decay.” 

For details, contact Steve McDonald at