Top 5 Issues for 2013: Interstate Compacts

Crady deGolian, Director of CSG's National Center for Interstate Compacts, outlines the top 5 compacts to watch in 2013, including those dealing with the siting of electricity transmission lines, surplus insurance lines, interstate reciprocity regarding online education, and EMS licensing.  

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Dating back to America’s colonial past, interstate compacts are among the few tools specifically granted to states by the U.S.Constitution. The modern compact provides states with a  sophisticated administrative mechanism, allowing interstate collaboration to resolve complex policy challenges. As an alternative to federally mandated solutions, compacts provide states a regional or national alternative to act collectively to address important issues of the day.

Compacts, which are governed by the tenets of contract law, give states an enforceable, sustainable and durable tool capable of ensuring permanent change without federal intervention. With more than 215 interstate compacts in existence today and each state
belonging to an average of 25 compacts, the legal and historical precedence for the development and use of the tool is considerable.
 
CSG-facilitated Interstate Compacts Ready for Legislative Consideration
 
  • Interstate Compact for the Siting of Electricity Transmission Lines
    The Energy Act of 2005 granted states advance congressional consent to create regional interstate compacts governing the siting of interstate transmission lines. At the request of its membership, CSG developed an electric transmission line siting compact to help move energy from where it is produced to where it is needed. Compact drafting is finalized and the language is now ready for legislative consideration.
     
  • The Surplus Lines Insurance Multistate Compliance Compact
    In the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Congress recommended states adopt uniform requirements, forms and procedures to facilitate reporting, payment, collection and allocation of premium taxes for the surplus lines insurance industry. The compact, which has been adopted by nine states and is endorsed by regulators and industry groups, brings states in compliance with the Reform Act.
CSG-facilitated Compacts Under Development
 
  • State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
    Many of today’s colleges and universities employ online learning with various degrees of onsite support to offer study on a national, and even international, scale. State regulatory requirements and evaluative measures, however, vary considerably, making interstate reciprocity difficult. This inconsistency is costing states and institutions significant amounts of money. To that end, CSG has been working jointly with The Presidents’ Forum and the existing higher education regional compacts to develop a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which is designed to improve access to quality higher education. Compact drafting has begun and language should be ready for consideration by the states beginning in 2014.
     
  • EMS Licensing Compact
    States have had the authority to license emergency medical services personnel since the 1970s. States have consistently issued licenses based on individual state practices and while there is overlap, there also is considerable variation among the states.Increasingly it is becoming more common for emergency services personnel to cross state lines to provide services in nondeclared states of emergency. One possible way to solve this growing problem may be the formation of an interstate compact, which would allow member states to self-regulate the existing system for licensing emergency personnel. CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts, in conjunction with the National Association of State EMS Officials, has received funding to explore and develop an EMS Licensing Compact. The advisory phase is scheduled to begin in January 2013.
Other Compacts to Watch
While a number of additional interstate compact bills will likely be considered in 2013, one other compact is sure to garner significant attention. Seven states have adopted the Health Care Compact, which is designed to ensure health care regulation and reform occurs at the state level.
 
To track the progress of these and other compacts, please visit CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts—the only organization of its kind—at www.csg.org/ncic.
 
For more information on these topics and for additional resources on interstate compacts, see » www.csg.org/top5in2013.
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