18-1-102. State contracts to lowest bidder -- reciprocity. (1) In order to provide for an orderly administration of the business of the state of Montana in awarding public contracts for the purchase of goods and for construction, repair, and public works of all kinds, a public agency shall, except as provided in Title 18, chapter 2, part 5, award:
(a) a public contract for construction, repair, or public works to the lowest responsible bidder without regard to residency. However, a resident bidder must be allowed a preference on a contract against the bid of a nonresident bidder from any state or country that enforces a preference for resident bidders. The preference given to resident bidders of this state must be equal to the preference given in the other state or country.
(b) a public contract for the purchase of goods to the lowest responsible bidder without regard to residency. However, a resident must be allowed a preference on a contract against the bid of a nonresident if the state or country of the nonresident enforces a preference for residents. The preference must be equal to the preference given in the other state or country.
(2) The preferences in this section apply:
(a) whether the law requires advertisement for bids or does not require advertisement for bids; and
(b) to contracts involving funds obtained from the federal government unless expressly prohibited by the laws of the United States or regulations adopted pursuant to federal laws.