Interstate Compacts: A Primer

Our thirteenth COVID white paper is “Interstate Compacts: A Primer,” by Lisa Hansmann.


The Roadmap for Pandemic Resilience recommends creating a Pandemic Testing Board tasked with ensuring the necessary supply of tests, deploying those tests, and facilitating a tracing program. This body could be designed through the federal government or through an interstate compact — a legally binding agreement between states for their common benefit. This paper provides an introduction to interstate compacts to inform the design of a Pandemic Testing Board. It outlines the constitutional framework for interstate compacts, highlights examples of relevant compacts, and describes the process of creating such a compact today. It also explores potential legal issues that might emerge and concludes that none of them are insurmountable.