As our world shrinks and the enormity of specific policy issues grows, multiple states are finding themselves facing similar, if not identical, situations. While states must act to address current and emerging problems, they are not required to act alone. In fact, states may find that acting in cooperation with their neighbors affords significant opportunities for creative problem solving, economies of scale and the bolstering of state rights over a range of topics. Interstate compacts are not new, nor are they unfamiliar to the modern policymaker. However, the innovative ways in which interstate compacts may be used are evolving before us – seeking to tackle a host of issues not previously addressed by this interstate mechanism. As states struggle with nearly unparalleled financial downturns and revenue declines, interstate compacts are an efficient tool to promote cooperative regional or national action.

Interstate Compacts are agreements between two or more states.  Compacts allow states to maintain their sovereignty, while working collectively outside  the confines of federal legislation or regulation.  

This article reviews interstate relations developments since 2005 pertaining to uniform state laws, interstate compacts, interstate administrative agreements, state attorneys general joint suits, same-sex marriages, civil unions and pertinent court decisions.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates a system of intrastate mutual aid between participating political subdivisions in the state. Each participant of this system recognizes that emergencies transcend political jurisdictional boundaries and that intergovernmental coordination is essential for the protection of lives and property and for best use of available assets. The system shall provide for mutual assistance among the participating political  subdivisions in the prevention of, response to, and recovery from, any disaster that results in a declaration of a local civil preparedness emergency in a participating political subdivision, subject to that participating political subdivision's criteria for declaration. The system shall provide for mutual cooperation among the participating subdivisions in conducting disaster-related exercises, testing or training activities.

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