State Legislature United Compact
FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF POLICY
Whereas every State adopting and agreeing to be bound by this Compact finds that the coordinated, regular and institutional exercise of their sovereign power under their respective constitutions and the U.S. Constitution is an essential component of the governing partnership between the state and federal governments.
Whereas every State adopting and agreeing to be bound by this Compact agrees to attend and participate in regular and special meetings through legislatively-appointed delegates to draft, discuss, propose, debate and/or adopt model legislation proposing to exercise and/or regularize the exercise of their sovereign power under their respective constitutions and the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of restoring and protecting the balance of power between the States and the federal government established by the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution, as amended from time to time.
Now, therefore, in consideration of their mutual promises and obligations expressed in this Compact, be it enacted by every State enacting, adopting and agreeing to be bound by this Compact, and resolved by each of their respective legislatures, as the case may be, to exercise herewith all of their respective powers as set forth herein notwithstanding any law to the contrary.
As used in this compact, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Section 1. “Compact” means the “State Legislatures United Compact.”
Section 2. “State” means a state of the United States. Where contextually appropriate, the term “State” shall be construed to include all of its branches, departments, agencies, political subdivisions, and officers and representatives acting in their official capacity.
Section 3. “Member State” means a State that has enacted legislation that adopts and agrees to be bound to this Compact. For any State to qualify as a Member State with respect to any other State under this Compact, each such State must have enacted, adopted and agreed to be bound by substantively identical compact legislation.
Section 4. “Compact Notice Recipient” means the Archivist of the United States, the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Office of the Secretary of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, the chief executive officer of each State, and the presiding officer(s) of each house of the Legislatures of the several States.
Section 5. Notice. All notices required by this Compact shall be by U.S. Certified Mail, return receipt requested, or an equivalent or superior form of notice, such as personal delivery documented by evidence of actual receipt.
Section 6. “Compact Commission” or “Commission” shall have the meaning ascribed to it in Article IV of this Compact.
Section 7. “Compact Administrator” shall have the meaning ascribed to it in Article IV of this Compact.
COMPACT MEMBERSHIP AND WITHDRAWAL
Section 1. This Compact governs each Member State to the fullest extent permitted by their respective constitutions, superseding and repealing any conflicting or contrary state law in any Member State.
Section 2. By becoming a Member State, each such State offers, promises and agrees to perform and comply strictly in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Compact, and has made such offer, promise and agreement in anticipation and consideration of, and in substantial reliance upon, such mutual and reciprocal performance and compliance by each other current and future Member State, if any. Accordingly, in addition to having the force of law in each Member State upon its respective effective date, this Compact and each of its Articles shall also be construed as contractually binding each Member State when: (a) at least one other State has likewise become a Member State by enacting substantively identical legislation adopting and agreeing to be bound by this Compact; and (b) notice of such State’s Member State status is or has been seasonably received by the Compact Administrator, if any, or otherwise by the chief executive officer of each other Member State.
Section 3. Any Member State may withdraw from this Compact by enacting appropriate legislation, as determined by state law, and giving notice of such withdrawal to the Compact Administrator, if any, or otherwise to the chief executive officer of each other Member State. A withdrawal shall not affect the validity or applicability of the compact with respect to remaining Member States, provided that there remain at least two such States.
COMPACT COMMISSION AND COMPACT ADMINISTRATOR
Section 1. Nature of the Compact Commission. The Compact Commission (“Commission”) is hereby established. It has the power and duty to appoint and oversee a Compact Administrator, to encourage States to join the Compact, to coordinate the performance of obligations under the Compact, to determine the date, time and location of meetings of the Commission, as appropriate, and oversee its logistical operations, to oversee the defense and enforcement of the Compact in appropriate legal venues, to request funds and to disburse those funds to support the operations of the Commission and Compact Administrator, and to cooperate with any entity that shares a common interest with the Commission and engages in policy research, public interest litigation or lobbying in support of the purposes of the Compact. The Commission shall only have such implied powers as are essential to carrying out these express powers and duties. It shall take no action that contravenes or is inconsistent with this Compact or any law of any State that is not superseded by this Compact. It may adopt and publish corresponding bylaws and policies.
Section 2. Power and Authority of the Commission. The Commission shall conduct all of its operations for the sole purpose of organizing Member States to meet and draft, discuss, propose, debate and/or adopt model legislation proposing to exercise and/or regularize the exercise of their sovereign power for the purpose of restoring and protecting the balance of power between the States and the federal government established by the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution, as amended from time to time.
Section 3. Agenda of the Commission. The substantive proceedings of the Commission shall be focused exclusively upon one or more of the following subject matters: (a) federal taxes, preemption, mandates and conditional grants; (b) court rulings expanding federal power; (c) any authority granted to, or assumed by, the federal government; (d) laws, regulations and practices of the federal government; (e) regulatory primacy; (f) strategic litigation; (g) interstate compacts and other forms of cooperative action among the states; (h) Article V of the U.S. Constitution; and (i) the use and management of state, Native American and federal lands.
Section 4. Complaints by Member States. The Commission shall establish a process for receiving, evaluating, and appropriately responding to complaints from Member States regarding actions by the federal government that interfere with the following reserved powers of the state: (a) control over the structure and mechanics of state government; (b) the establishment and regulation of public schooling; (c) local criminal law enforcement; (d) the regulation of health care; (e) the regulation of personal property outside of commerce, such as firearms; (f) the regulation of domestic and family affairs, such as marriage and guardianship; (g) the administration of civil justice (between citizens of the same state and outside of bankruptcy), such as laws concerning personal injury torts, contracts, and nuisance laws; (h) control over wages and qualifications of government employees who directly perform legislative, executive, or judicial tasks for the state, state agencies or political subdivisions; (i) the establishment and regulation of local government; (j) the regulation of real property, such as the regulation of land title, land use, and land transfers; (k) the regulation of agriculture; and (l) the regulation of nonagricultural businesses that do not engage in commerce across state lines.
Section 5. Commission Membership. The Commission consists of Member States represented by delegates appointed pursuant to Article V of this Compact.
Section 6. Delegate Identity. A certified chaptered conforming copy of this Compact, together with a certified conforming copy of the relevant appointment legislation under Article V of this Compact and government-issued photographic proof of identification, shall suffice as evidence of identity and authorization for delegates of Member States.
Section 7. Voting. Each Member State represented at the Commission shall have one vote, exercised by the majority vote of that State’s respective delegates.
Section 8. Quorum. A majority of Member States, each present through a majority of their respective delegates, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business on behalf of the Commission.
Section 9. Action by the Commission. The Commission shall only act as a committee of the whole chaired by a delegate representing the first State to have become a Member State (who will be selected by majority vote of that Member State’s delegates). The transaction of any business on behalf of the Commission, including the designation of a Secretary, the adoption of parliamentary procedures and the rejection or proposal of constitutional amendments, requires a quorum to be present and a majority affirmative vote of those Member States constituting the quorum.
Section 10. Parliamentary Procedure. In adopting, applying and formulating parliamentary procedure, the Commission shall exclusively adopt, apply or appropriately adapt provisions of the most recent editions of Robert’s Rules of Order and the American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. In adopting, applying or adapting parliamentary procedure, the Commission shall exclusively consider analogous precedent arising within the jurisdiction of the United States. Parliamentary procedures adopted, applied or adapted pursuant to this section may not and shall not conflict with any provision of this Compact.
Section 11. Transparency. Records of the Commission, including the identities of all attendees and detailed minutes of all proceedings, shall be kept by the Chair of the Commission or Secretary designated by the Commission. All proceedings and records of the Commission shall be open to the public upon request subject to reasonable regulations adopted by the Commission that are closely tailored to preventing disruption of proceedings under this Article.
Section 12. First Order of Business. The Commission shall at the earliest possible time elect from among its membership a Chairperson, determine a primary place of doing business, and appoint a Compact Administrator.
Section 13. Initial meeting. The initial meeting of the Commission shall be called as soon as practicable when there at least three Member States. The call for the initial meeting of the Commission may be by any reasonable method, and the initial meeting may be conducted on any convenient date, location or time, physically or electronically, provided that it is determined by a majority vote of the Member States and a record attesting to the same is kept.
Section 14. Regular Meetings. The Commission shall meet at least one time per year, as determined at the initial meetings, to draft, discuss, propose, debate and/or adopt model legislation as aforesaid. No regular meeting shall continue for longer than three (3) days.
Section 15. Special Meetings. Special meetings shall be called by a signed letter from the delegates of at least half of the Member States sent to the Compact Administrator giving at least ten (10) days prior notice (from the date of mailing or other transmission) of the time and place of the meeting, and specifically stating the business for consideration. The call for a special meeting of the Commission may be by any reasonable method, and the meeting may be conducted by any reasonable means, physical or electronic, on any convenient date, location or time designated in the call. No special meeting shall continue for longer than three (3) days.
Section 16. Written Waiver of Notice of Meeting. When all of the Member States are present physically or electronically through their delegates at any meeting of the Commission, however called or noticed, and sign a written consent thereto on the records of such meetings, or if a majority of the Member States are present physically or electronically through their delegates, and if those not present sign in writing a waiver of notice of such meeting, whether prior to or after the holding of such meeting, which said waiver shall be filed with the Compact Administrator, the transactions thereof are as valid as if transacted at a regularly called and noticed meeting.
Section 17. Funding. The Commission and the Compact Administrator’s activities shall be funded exclusively by each Member State, as determined by state law, or by voluntary donations.
Section 18. Compact Administrator. The Compact Administrator has the power and duty to timely notify the States of the date, time and location of each meeting of the Commission, to organize and direct the logistical operations of each meeting of the Commission, to maintain an accurate list of all Member States, their appointed delegates, including contact information, and to formulate, transmit, and maintain all official notices, records, and communications relating to this Compact. The Compact Administrator shall only have such implied powers as are essential to carrying out these express powers and duties; and shall take no action that contravenes or is inconsistent with this Compact or any law of any State that is not superseded by this Compact. The Compact Administrator serves at the pleasure of the Commission and must keep the Commission seasonably apprised of the performance or nonperformance of the terms and conditions of this Compact. Any notice sent by a Member State to the Compact Administrator concerning this Compact shall be adequate notice to each other Member State provided that a copy of said notice is seasonably delivered by the Compact Administrator to each other Member State’s respective chief executive officer.
Section 19. Notice of Adoption of Compact. Whenever any State becomes a Member State, the Compact Administrator shall immediately send correspondence containing certified conforming copies of the chaptered version of this Compact as maintained in the statutes of each Member State (which shall be provided to the Compact Administrator by the secretary of state (or other responsible constitutional officer) of each Member State upon request), to all Compact Notice Recipients, notifying them of such adoption and agreement.
Section 20. Notice of Withdrawal. Whenever any Member State enacts appropriate legislation, as determined by the laws of the respective state, withdrawing from this Compact, the Compact Administrator shall immediately send certified conforming copies of the chaptered version of such withdrawal legislation as maintained in the statutes of each such withdrawing Member State (which shall be provided to the Compact Administrator by the secretary of state (or other responsible constitutional officer) of each Member State upon request), to each chief executive officer of each remaining Member State, giving notice of such withdrawal.
Section 21. The failure of the Compact Administrator to send any notice required by this Article shall toll any affected deadline until such notice is sent.
Section 22. Cooperation. The Compact Commission, Member States and Compact Administrator shall cooperate with each other and give each other mutual assistance in enforcing this Compact.
Section 23. This Article does not take effect until there are at least two Member States.
Section 1. Appointment Committee. Each Member State shall establish a legislative committee which shall have the duty to nominate, appoint and commission three delegates to confer with the like delegates of other Member States, to attend regular and special meetings of the Commission contemplated in this Compact on behalf of their respective legislature, and to submit model legislation adopted by the Commission, if any, as soon as practicable to the appointment committee of their respective Member State to consider for introduction as proposed legislation.
Section 1.A. Membership. The appointment committee of each Member State shall respectively consist of five members and shall be a legislative committee.
Section 1.B. Method of Appointment. Committee members shall be appointed by appropriate legislation, as determined by the law of the respective Member State, to fill any absences as soon as practicable during a Member State’s regular legislative session.
Section 1.C. Term. Committee members shall serve at the pleasure of the respective legislature of each Member State.
Section 1.D. Procedure. The applicable rules of parliamentary procedure for the legislature of each respective Member State shall govern the actions of their respective appointment committee.
Section 1.E. Standards. Delegates shall be nominated and appointed based on their character and reputation for competence, relevant knowledge and skill, integrity, honesty, fidelity to fundamental law, and loyalty to the respective legislature and people of the Member State.
Section 1.F. Transparency. All proceedings and records of the appointment committee shall be open to the public upon request subject to reasonable regulations closely tailored to prevent disruption of proceedings.
Section 2. Delegates. Delegates appointed to represent a Member State’s respective legislature shall confer with the delegates of other Member States and attend regular and special meetings of the Commission contemplated by this Compact on behalf of their respective legislature, draft, discuss, propose, debate and/or vote on model legislation proposing to exercise and/or regularize the exercise of the sovereign power of the States for the purpose of restoring or protecting the balance of power between the States and the federal government established by the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution, as amended from time to time, and submit model legislation adopted by the Commission, if any, as soon as practicable to the appointment committee of their respective Member State to consider for introduction as proposed legislation.
Section 2.A. Scope of Authority. The legislation appointing a delegate by the respective appointment committee of a Member State shall fix the lawful scope of the authority bestowed upon each delegate, which may provide specific or general direction, as well as sanctions for noncompliance, and shall further provide for reimbursement of reasonable expenses necessarily incurred by the delegates in attending the Commission meeting contemplated in this compact, if any.
Section 2.B. Term. Delegates shall serve at the pleasure of the respective appointment committee and/or legislature of each Member State, except that no delegate shall serve or be commissioned to serve for longer than four (4) years from the date of appointment or otherwise.
Section 3. This Article does not take effect until there are at least two Member States.
CONSTRUCTION, ENFORCEMENT, VENUE, AND SEVERABILITY
Section 1. This Compact shall be liberally construed so as to effectuate its purposes. To the extent that the effectiveness of this Compact or any of its Articles or provisions requires the alteration of local legislative rules, legislative drafting policies, or parliamentary procedure to be effective, the enactment of legislation enacting, adopting and agreeing to be bound by this Compact shall be deemed to waive, repeal, supersede, or otherwise amend and conform all such rules, policies or procedures to allow for the effectiveness of all provisions of this Compact according to their terms and conditions to the fullest extent permitted by the constitution of any affected Member State. In the event that the purposes of this Compact cannot be fulfilled due to defects in form or style, each affected Member State shall take all reasonable steps, both legislative or otherwise, that will remedy such defects and ensure that the purposes of this Compact are not frustrated by formal or stylistic defects. However, the definitions specified in this Compact shall govern this Compact unless the context clearly and unequivocally indicates otherwise.
Section 2. If any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this Compact, or the applicability of any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this Compact to any government, agency, person or circumstance, is declared in a final judgment to be contrary to the United States Constitution, contrary to the state constitution of any Member State, or is otherwise held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such phrase, clause, sentence or provision shall be severed and held for naught, and the validity of the remainder of this Compact and the applicability of the remainder of this Compact to any government, agency, person or circumstance shall not be affected. Furthermore, if this Compact is declared in a final judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction to be entirely contrary to the state constitution of any Member State or otherwise entirely invalid as to any Member State, such Member State shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the Compact, and the Compact shall remain in full force and effect as to any remaining Member State. Finally, if this Compact is declared in a final judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction to be wholly or substantially in violation of Article I, Section 10, of the United States Constitution, then it shall be construed and enforced solely as reciprocal legislation enacted by the affected Member State(s).
Section 3. The effective date of this Compact and any of its Articles is the latter of: (a) the date of any event rendering the same effective according to its respective terms and conditions; or (b) the earliest date otherwise permitted by law.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on September 29, 2013.