Interstate Compacts

When our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they included language that grants states the authority to enter into interstate agreements to achieve a common purpose. This directive, found in Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution, is known as the Compacts Clause. In it, the founders asserted, in part, that “no state shall, without the consent of Congress enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power.”  This often-overlooked clause of the Constitution also grants Congress the power to approve or deny the validity of a compact—a concept called congressional consent. 

This article reviews interstate relations developments since 2007 pertaining to uniform state laws, interstate compacts and administrative agreements, same-sex marriage, civil unions and other pertinent legal matters.

Guest Author: Rick Masters, CSG Special Counsel for Interstate Compacts

When is Congressional Consent required?
The determination of whether congressional consent is required depends upon the applicability of the compact clause of the U.S. Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 10, Cl. 3).  Despite the wording of this provision, not all interstate compacts require the consent of congress, only those which interfere or conflict with some enumerated power granted to the federal government under the Constitution. 

Several Great Lakes-related measures have been introduced in state capitols across the region during the first half of 2011, from bills on how to handle future offshore wind energy projects to new legislative proposals on how states should manage their water resources.

CSG Research & Expertise in the News: 6/5-6/11, 2011

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of June 5-11 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010, states have launched several initiatives in the effort to preserve their ability to manage health care within their borders.  In addition to the several legal challenges brought by a number of states which are currently being reviewed by various federal circuit courts of appeals, some states have opted for Health Care Compact legislation as an alternative to the health reform bill.

CSG Research & Expertise in the News: Week of 5/29-6/4, 2011

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of May 29-June 4 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

Interstate compacts are contracts between states. Applying best practices - developed over more than two centuries of the  history of compact use - helps ensure that the complex process of orchestrating a contract between multiple state governments is successful.

 

Interstate compacts are contracts between two or more states creating an agreement on a variety of issues, such as specific policy challenges, regulatory matters and boundary settlements. This brief provides background on the history of compacts, their primary purposes, and information about compacts affiliated with the National Center for Interstate Compacts.

 

Dating back to America’s colonial past, interstate compacts are one of the few tools specifically granted to states by the U.S. Constitution. While it is unlikely our Founding Fathers anticipated the scope and breadth of today’s state government policy challenges, their inclusion of compacts in the Constitution provided state policymakers with a powerful, durable, and adaptive tool for ensuring cooperative action among the states. The growth of the modern
compact has further provided states a sophisticated administrative mechanism, allowing interstate collaboration to resolve complex policy challenges, while simultaneously avoiding federal intervention. 

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