National Center for Interstate Compacts

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...

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.

A blog written by Robert Kocher that appeared in Health Affairs earlier this week endorses the idea of interstate physician licensing agreements as a way to improve access to health care.  Kocher currently serves on the advisory board of the Harvard Medical School Health Care Policy Department and previously worked in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy.   In his posting he notes that the current physician licensing system limits a physician’s ability to practice across state lines, which in turn has stifled the growth of telemedicine and has also resulted in problems such as specialist shortages in rural and underserved areas. 

Florida Senate Bill 7028, entitled an act relating to telemedicine, would allow the state licensing board and the Florida Department of Health to explore a telemedicine compact for the purposes of increasing access to health care.  The bill was introduced this session and will first be considered by the Committee on Health Policy. 

For the first time since 2011 Georgia appears to be seriously considering rejoining the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ).  Georgia joined the original juvenile compact in 1955 and operated under the terms of that agreement until it expired on June 30, 2011.  Georgia has since failed to pass legislation that would allow it to join the updated ICJ and operate under the terms of the new agreement. 

The Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the case of IBM v. the Michigan Department of Treasury. At issue in the case are IBM’s 2008 Michigan tax returns. IBM, using a formula set forth in the Multi-State Tax Compact, which Michigan joined in 1969, calculated the company was entitled to a tax return of approximately 6 million dollars. The Dept. of Treasury, using a conflicting formula contained in the Michigan Business Act, determined IBM was only entitled to a refund of approximately 1.3 million. Two separate lower court rulings sided with the Dept. of Treasury, finding that IBM was required to use the formula established by the Michigan Business Act. That finding eventually led IMB to appeal the ruling, setting the stage for today’s argument.

A letter dated January 9, 2014 and signed by 16 US Senators commended efforts to develop an Interstate Medical Licensing Compact.  The bi-partisan group of Senators, which was led by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), applauded the Federation of State Medical Boards and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Taskforce for beginning work on a medical licensing compact.  CSG, through the National Center for Interstate Compacts, is providing technical assistance to the Taskforce. 

When it comes to solving problems, states increasingly are turning to a mechanism that dates back to America’s colonial past—the interstate compact. Compacts are one of the few tools specifically granted to states by the U.S. Constitution. They provide states a sophisticated administrative mechanism, allowing interstate collaboration to resolve complex policy challenges.

Compacts, which are governed by the tenets of contract law, provide states an enforceable, sustainable and durable tool capable of ensuring permanent change...