Interstate Compacts

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  • Interstate compacts are agreements between two or more states that are made with the federal government's approval. Because compacts have attributes of both contracts and statutes, they have been called “centaurs of legislation.” More than two hundred interstate compacts currently exist.

    The U.S. Constitution provides that “no State shall, without the Consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State.” This interstate compact clause, however, has not been interpreted literally. Only agreements between states that either alter the balance of power between the states and federal government or encroach on the powers of the federal government violate the clause, absent ratification. States often seek congressional ratification, even for agreements that do not require it. Congressional ratification of such agreements has legal effect ...

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