Military Education Compact Expands to 50 states

With one swipe of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pen, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, known as MIC3, has now been adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The compact—which was developed jointly by CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts, the Department of Defense, numerous national associations and federal and state officials—eases education transition issues faced by the children of active duty service members transferring between school districts and states.
Initial discussions about the compact began in 2006 and drafting began early in 2007. The compact was first available for legislative consideration in 2008, meaning compact language was adopted in all 50 states in just six legislative sessions.
“MIC3 is justifiably excited on the adoption milestone in all 50 states and extremely grateful to those members of the individual state legislatures that made this possible,” said retired Brig. Gen. Steve Hogan, executive director of the Interstate Commission for Educational Opportunity for Military Children. “The impact of universal adoption on this effort cannot be underestimated, as it ensures interstate collaboration on education transition issues in every instance involving military changes of station. In this, the entire nation has shown its commitment to the military family, and it is truly awe inspiring to represent this commitment.”
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity was the second interstate compact to expand to all 50 states in 2014.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in April signed the updated Interstate Compact for Juveniles, which also was developed by CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts. These two compacts represent only the third and fourth compacts to expand to all 50 states in the past half century. The Emergency Management Assistance Compact and The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervisionalso have been adopted by all 50 states. Three of the four compacts were developed with direct assistance from CSG’s compact center—only EMAC was not—and all four compact commissions are still affiliated with CSG.
“The number of compacts that include all 50 states is very small,” said Rick Masters, who serves as special counsel to CSG’s compact center. “Despite the fact that each state belongs, on average, to 25 separate compacts, only four have been joined by all 50 states in the last half century.”
The most significant challenge any compact faces is that each state must adopt essentially the same language. Compacts are contracts between states and thus require each state to accept the terms of the agreement as drafted and without amendment. That often presents significant hurdles in terms of achieving wide scale adoption. 
“Getting two states to adopt essentially identical legislation is not an easy task. For all 50 states to do it is a remarkable achievement,” Masters said. “Even more exciting from my perspective is the fact that the four compacts cover three very diverse subject areas. That’s a testament to the strength of interstate compacts as instruments of achieving uniformity while preserving state sovereignty, as well as their adaptability in achieving important public policy without the need for federal intervention.”
States have used interstate compacts to address a variety of issues, including:
  • Establishing a legal relationship to resolve a specific dispute, such as rights for use of water resources;
  • Creating independent, multistate agencies that can more effectively address specific policy problems, i.e. the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and
  • Establishing uniform guidelines and standards for member states to follow.
In addition, compacts allow states to maintain their sovereignty by allowing them to act collectively outside the confines of federal legislation or regulation. When used effectively, compacts provide regional or national policy solutions without interference from the federal government.
CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts combines policy research with best practices and functions as a membership association, serving the unique needs of compact administrators, compact commissions and the state agencies that staff interstate compacts. The center promotes the use of interstate compacts as an ideal tool to meet the demand for cooperative state action, to develop and enforce stringent standards, and to provide an adaptive structure for states that can evolve to meet new and changing demands over time.
NCIC’s mission is to serve as an information clearinghouse, a provider of training and technical assistance, and as a primary facilitator in assisting states in the review, revision and creation of new interstate compacts as solutions to multi-state problems or alternatives to federal pre-emption.
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