NEMA is very proud to release the first-ever report tracing the history of EMAC and its impact on national mutual aid policy and operations. A state-driven solution, EMAC stands as a tested and proven success story and an example of what determined individuals can accomplish when working together to make a difference for the nation.

With one swipe of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pen the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children has now been adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The Compact, which was developed jointly by CSG’s Compact Center and the Department of Defense, eases education transition issues faced by the children of active duty service members transferring between school districts and states.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children represents the fourth interstate...

At their most basic level, interstate compacts are contracts between two or more states. While compacts function fairly consistently from one agreement to the next, developing an interstate compact is not an exact science and varies considerably depending on the nature of the agreement. When developing a compact, CSG's National Center for Interstate Compacts works hard to promote a process that is deliberate, transparent and driven by subject matter experts.

Since its founding, CSG’s Compact Center has worked to promote the use of interstate compacts as an ideal tool to meet the demand for cooperative state action.  During that time there have been approximately 180 adoptions of CSG supported compacts, including 10 separate adoptions of different projects during the 2014 legislative session. Two of those compacts have expanded to all 50 states, while the Educational Opportunity for Military Compact has now grown to 48 states.  Below is a summary of various CSG compact projects.

The creation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1922 through an interstate compact signaled a significant shift in the use and application of interstate compacts. For the first time states began using compacts to establish regulatory agencies with the authority to act on the state’s behalf. Known as administrative compacts, these agreements frequently allow for a sophisticated governing structure that possess the authority to pass rules, draft bylaws, form committees, and hire staff to carry out the daily operations of the compact.  

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.

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.

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.

A June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is being hailed as a significant victory for interstate compacts.  At issue in the case was whether the Tarrant Regional Water District, located in Texas, could access water from the Red River in Oklahoma pursuant to the terms of the Red River Compact. In the ruling the Court concluded that Tarrant was not entitled to the water in question based on the terms of the compact.

By Rick Masters, Special Counsel to CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts

On Thursday, June 13, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court again upheld the bedrock principle that compacts are contracts and reiterated the immutable rule that “Because interstate compacts are construed under contract law principles, see Texas v. New Mexico, 482 U. S. 124, 128, the Court begins by examining the Compact’s express terms as the best indication of the parties’ intent.”  See Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, et p.11.  In the Tarrant case the Court was called upon to interpret the provisions of the Red River Compact which is a congressionally sanctioned agreement that allocates water rights within the Red River basin among the States of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.