Interstate Compacts

The popular perception that interstate compacts provide a tool for states to work cooperatively to avoid a federally mandated solution is true, but the long held opinion oversimplifies the use of compacts....

Interstate compacts often are viewed as a way for states to work cooperatively to avoid federal intervention or a federally mandated solution. While that is an accurate statement, it does not mean the federal government does not play a role in the compact process. In fact, federal officials are active in a number of compacts, with participation ranging from congressional consent to direct federal involvement.

Oregon took a significant step this week toward joining the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children when state lawmakers passed SB 1506 and sent it to Gov. John Kitzhaber's desk for his signature.  Compact legislation is also being actively considered in Minnesota.  Should Oregon and Minnesota join the compact it would push membership to 48 states plus the District of Columbia.  The Compact, which was developed jointly by CSG’s Compact Center and the Department of Defense, ensures the uniform treatment...

With each state belonging to an average of two dozen interstate compacts, these tools are not new to state policymakers. In fact, the original 13 colonies were using compacts even before the U.S. Constitution was ratified....

While the use of interstate compacts dates back to the founding of the nation, this tool has become increasingly popular for state policymakers seeking ways to address interstate policy challenges short of federal intervention. This webinar, the first in a series, focused on the background, history and modern use of interstate compacts, with insights shared by Rick Masters, legal adviser to three national interstate compact commissions affiliated with CSG.

The Minnesota House Education Committee unanimously approved a recommendation to allow the state to join the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.  The goal of the compact is the create consistency for the students of transitioning military families in the areas of enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.  It was developed jointly by CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts and the Department of Defense.  To date the compact has been adopted by 46 states and the District of...

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the country’s first online gambling compact late Tuesday afternoon.  The bill allows poker players physically located in either Nevada or Delaware to compete online against one another.  Both Governors expressed hope that other states would also join the compact, but to date New Jersey is the only other state in the country to offer online gambling.

Medical licensing, health care, resource management, education, energy and public safety are all policy areas that have recently used or are currently using interstate compacts to address cross-border challenges. With so many different and unique fields working to develop new interstate compacts, it is important for state policymakers and interested stakeholders to...

Indiana became the first state to join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) this week.  SARA was developed as a joint effort between the Presidents’ Forum, the Council of State Governments, the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, and the four regional higher education compacts – the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). 

Interstate compacts hold a unique place in American history. They were first referenced in Article I, Section X, Clause III of the U.S. Constitution and still represent the most structured and sustainable mechanism available to policymakers seeking state-driven solutions to a wide range of policy challenges. While the use of interstate compacts dates back to the founding of the country, the frequency with which they are used has expanded considerably since the end of World War II. Compacts provide state policymakers with a sustainable tool capable of promoting interstate cooperation without federal intervention.

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