Compacts in the News

In an effort to support the continued use of interstate compatcs, CSG has officially signed onto an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the case of United States v. Jason Wayne Pleau.  As mentioned in this blog previously the compact in question is the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD), which has been adopted by 51 states (including territories) and Congress. At issue is whether the federal government can compel a member state of an interstate compact to comply when requesting the transfer of a prisoner under the terms of the compact. To read more about the case please click here

Pennsylvania became the 40th state to join the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children.  Senate Bill 159 was carried by Sen. Robert Robins and signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett yesterday.   The compact, which drafted jointly by CSG and the Department of Defense, aims to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families due to frequent moves.  With a full time Commission staff, an operational national office, and 40 states on board in less than four legislative sessions the growth and effectiveness of this particular agreement is a testament to the power and appeal of interstate compacts.

With the vast majority of states back in session, several pieces of compact legislation were filed this week.  In Hawaii SB 2168 would allow the state to join the Surplus Lines Insurance Multistate Compliance Compact, developed jointly by CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators.  Once adopted by one more state SLIMPACT will have reached the minimum threshold of states to trigger commission activity and allow for the formation of an online clearinghouse for the payment and allocation of surplus lines premium taxes.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case of The United States v. Jason Wayne Pleau on April 4, 2012.  While there are many unresolved legal questions surrounding this case, at the very heart of the matter is the question of state sovereignty and practical implications for governors whose states are members of interstate compacts in which the federal government is also a participant. 

Dating back to America’s colonial past, interstate compacts are one of the few tools specifically granted to states by the U.S. Constitution. The evolution of the modern compact has provided states and territories ("the states") a sophisticated administrative mechanism, allowing interstate collaboration to resolve complex policy challenges, while simultaneously avoiding federal intervention.  Policymakers should have several compacts on their radar in 2012.  Below is list of some important compacts and a status update for each. 

The Nebraska Department of Insurance has decided to withdraw from the Nonadmitted Insurance Multi-State Agreement over concerns about the proposed clearinghouse for the payment and allocation of surplus lines premium taxes.  Nebraska Insurance Director Bruce R. Ramge said the state will withdraw from NIMA effective March 5, 2012.  With the withdrawal of Nebraska, NIMA, developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, has been adopted by 10 states.

This week members of the Utah Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee discussed the possibility of the state joining the National Popular Vote Compact.  It is expected that legislation will be introduced when the Utah legislature returns to session beginning early next year.  A similar bill was also introduced last year, but it did not reach the floor.

The State:

"Gov. Nikki Haley has signed an executive order activating 12 S.C. National Guard soldiers to help with North Carolina’s response to Hurricane Irene.

The order authorizes three S.C. helicopters to aid North Carolina officials in swift water rescue operations. Each helicopter carries four soldiers. In addition, South Carolina is prepared to send nine people from the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force under the direction of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Tim Pearson, Haley’s chief of staff, said.

North Carolina officials asked for assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, an interstate aid agreement."

To continue reading click here.

Governor's Journal

"Here’s a potential trend that could have an impact on funding for interstate partnerships and government associations.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell(R) has asked his budget team to look for possible savings in the budget by eliminating funding for certain interstate compacts and membership fees. It’s not a new concept, but as states face another tight budget year in 2012, some may feel the need to follow through and actually make the cuts."

To continue reading click here.

On August 8 I posted a blog discussing North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple’s calls for an interstate compact to manage flooding along the Missouri River Basin.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently responsible for managing flooding along the river.  Frustrated by record spring floods, Gov. Dalrymple thought flood control management could be better handled by the impacted states though the adoption of an interstate compact. 

As expected, Gov. Dalrymple’s proposal was at the center of considerable discussion during a meeting last week between seven of the eight Governors from states bordering the Missouri River.  During the meeting, Governors heard from staff from the Corps about a variety of topics, including the feasibility of developing an interstate compact to manage the river basin.  While it is too early to determine how much support a potential compact has among the impacted states, it is clear that the Army Corps of Engineers does not think a compact is the best mechanism to manage flooding.  Speaking on behalf of the Army Corp of Engineers, Ted Streckfuss suggested any change should occur with input from the states through the “Master Manual” revision process and not through the creation of an interstate compact.