Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is The Council of State Governments directly awarding funds to the chosen applicants? 

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is not awarding direct funding as a part of this assistance. The U.S. Department of Defense is providing funding to CSG to assist professions in the development of new interstate compacts. CSG will fund all compact development activities on behalf of the chosen professions including the drafting of model interstate compact legislation, developing a legislative resource kit, and convening a national meeting of state policymakers to introduce the compact.

2. How much financial and organizational resources would we typically need to commit to sustaining the effort described in item nine of the application? Can you give a ballpark range?

The financial and organizational resources required will depend on the occupation. Resources will need to be identified to support the enactment of the compact in state legislatures, establish the interstate commission, develop the shared compact data system, and fund ongoing compact operations. The cost of the data system can be significant.

The Council of State Governments’ (CSG) staff can address these concerns with applicants individually as we gather information about the needs of the occupation and provisions of the compact. Some factors to consider will be the current level of knowledge and interest among state legislators, the time spent with legislative committee council and offices of attorneys general in establishing the compact commission.

There will be funding available in the future to mitigate the financial burden of the data system as a part of the cooperative agreement between CSG and the U.S. Department of Defense.

1. What types of activities are required to develop a compact that are not covered by the scope of this assistance? 

The Council of State Governments (CSG) will assist professions in compact development activities including the drafting of model interstate compact legislation, developing a legislative resource kit, and convening a national meeting of state policymakers to introduce the compact. 

Additional activities will be needed to ensure that the compact is enacted in state legislatures and the compact governing commission is established. Activities such as providing legislative testimony, on-site technical assistance for state enactment, and governing board transition activities all fall outside of the scope of this assistance. 

Under the scope of the cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and CSG, there is additional funding available to develop a compact data system. There will be a separate request for applications to aid in funding compact data systems.

2. Can you provide additional details regarding the process for developing the interstate commission and compact data system? 

Once compact legislation is enacted by the threshold number of states needed to operationalize the interstate compact, activities will begin to standup the interstate commission. This is the governing body with voting representatives from each compact member state. These commission members are responsible for making day-to-day decisions to carry out the mission of the compact. The interstate commission has the authority to hire staff responsible for implementing policies and procedures established by the commission. The commission serves the member states of the compact and is tasked to act on their behalf.

One crucial component of successful compact operations is the interstate commission’s shared data system. This data system allows for the effective exchange of licensure, investigatory, and disciplinary information between member states, and easily allows for electronic processing of interstate licensure and streamlines sharing of data and information. The interstate commission will work to determine what kinds of information the system should collect (this may vary from profession to profession). Most of the data systems for the occupational licensing compacts collect information such as status of the practitioner’s license, date of renewal, any active disciplinary actions against them, transcripts, employment status, status of required continuing education hours, etc. Each compact commission worked with a tech vendor to build the data system that was able to house all the information needed and provide easy access to the information for each compact member state.

3. Are representatives that become part of the interstate commission volunteers or are they paid for their services?

Interstate compacts include provisions for appointment of commission or board members. Often commission members are reimbursed for expenses incurred for commission business. Some interstate commissions rely on member states to fund commissioner travel and expenses for the annual commission meeting.

4. Are technical assistance groups for a specific field or for licensing professionals as a general concept?

A technical assistance group is formed at the beginning of the compact development process to discuss the unique needs of the profession specific to the interstate compact. A compact technical assistance group is tasked with making recommendations for the compact document team to consider as they develop language for the model compact legislation. To do this, technical assistance group members require a thorough understanding of a specific occupation, including its current practices and historical regulation in the states. This field-specific knowledge ensures that model legislation is tailored to the profession it is meant to serve. 

5. How can relevant experts on occupational licensing generally be involved with the compact development and drafting process?

The Council of State Governments (CSG) believes the development of occupational licensing compacts requires experts specific to the professions for whom the compact is being developed. The compact technical assistance groups and compact document teams will be comprised of licensing experts specific to the professions. 

However, CSG will seek guidance and feedback from occupational licensing experts during the stakeholder review process once the model compact legislation is initially drafted.

To be added to a list of experts interested in participating in the stakeholder review process please email compacts@csg.org.

6. What assistance is available to create an interstate compact data system?

An additional part of the cooperative agreement between The Council of State Governments (CSG) and the U.S. Department of Defense is to fund professions in need of assistance developing a compact data system. CSG will conduct a separate application process for this assistance likely beginning in 4th quarter of 2021. At this time CSG’s efforts are focused on new interstate compact development for occupational licensure.

7. Once the selection process is complete in early March, what is the timeline for the development and dissemination phases?

The Council of State Governments (CSG) plans to notify the professions included in the first phase of compact development activities in in the 2nd quarter of 2021 and begin work soon thereafter. (The project will likely include a second phase of selections for compact development activities in 2022.)

The amount of time needed for technical assistance groups and compact document teams to produce the model compact that is delivered to states will depend on the needs and requirements of each occupation.

8. What is the typical lead time to move a compact from Phase I to licenses being issued under a compact? A year? Years?

Much of the timeline is dependent on the profession developing the compact. Variance in state licensure requirements can affect the time required to draft the model compact legislation due to negotiating the uniform requirements and ensuring stakeholder feedback is incorporated.

Additionally, interstate compacts have a threshold of states who must enact the compact before it becomes active. States’ interest in adoption can differ and affects the timeline as well.

9. When do states sign on to enact the compact? 

Interstate compacts must be passed by a state’s legislature and signed by the Governor for a state to become a member of the compact.

No one who is a part of the compact development process is required to pass the compact once finalized. If a state has a representative who participates on the compact technical assistance group, that does not mean the state has signed on to the compact.

 1. Who is eligible to apply for this opportunity? 

The Council of State Governments is seeking applicants from professional associations, federations or associations of state licensing boards, a coalition of state licensing boards, or national credentialing bodies for professions that are licensed in at least 30 states.

2. If a group of state boards are interested in applying, how many boards would be a sufficient number for a viable coalition? 

There is no threshold for number of state boards that would be needed for a coalition to be viable. The more buy-in you have from a state board perspective, the stronger the application will be. 

Applicants should know that The Council of State Governments (CSG) and the U.S. Department of Defense will not fund compacts that are only regional in scope. For example, if three states wanted to jointly apply to receive assistance to build a compact that would only service their respective states, CSG would not fund that proposal. All compacts that are developed from this initiative must be national in scope and have the potential to be passed in all 50 states and territories.

3. Are applicants who do not currently have resources to sustain compact development efforts after The Council of State Governments support ends still eligible for consideration? 

Professions who do not currently have the financial resources needed to sustain compact development efforts are not excluded from consideration. It would be helpful to provide some preliminary thoughts about where the profession would seek additional funding. The Council of State Governments and the U.S. Department of Defense would consider selecting professions that do not currently have the financial resources needed, but do request an outline or plan for pursuing additional funding in the future.

4. Should professions already engaged in the compact development process apply to this opportunity?

The scope of this RFP is focused on compact development activities and creating the model compact legislation. Professions with model compact legislation or active compact development efforts are not eligible.

Opportunities for professions to apply for assistance with a data system will be available in the future.

5. Are there professions that are a priority for the U.S. Department of Defense and The Council of State Governments?

Neither the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) nor The Council of State Governments (CSG) have a preference or priority for professions that apply. DoD will choose the professions based on feasibility of the profession for compact development activities and the financial and organizational resources to sustain the compact once finalized. CSG can provide technical support during the creation of an application and we encourage you to contact CSG for assistance at compacts@csg.org.

6. What factors will the U.S. Department of Defense and The Council of State Governments consider in selecting the profession(s)?

The Council of State Governments (CSG) will process the applications and provide analysis of each application to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). DoD will make the final decision on which profession is selected to develop a new interstate compact. CSG and DoD are most interested in selecting professions who display a commitment to sustaining compact efforts after the support from CSG and DoD ends.

1. What are the differences between an interstate agreement vs. an interstate compact?

Interstate compacts must be passed by a state’s legislature and signed into law by the Governor for a state to become a member.

Once the threshold for state membership is reached, the interstate compact is considered a legally binding contract with enforceable provisions and penalties for breach for member states.

Additionally, interstate compacts generally don’t allow a state to unilaterally withdraw from the compact without following the compact’s termination procedures.

Interstate agreements can typically be easily altered or withdrawn from through executive action.

2. What are the long-term financial obligations that professions should be aware of?

Once the compact data system is established, the remaining financial obligation is the on-going operation of the compact commission and adding additional states. Generally, funding for the administration of the compact by the compact commission can be aided by fees charged to the licensee for license transfer, out-of-state practice privileges, grants, assistance from organizations with close ties to the profession, and state assessments.

3. Who is responsible for paying ongoing expenses related to administering the compact? 

The interstate commission is responsible for their own operational and administrative costs. Generally, funding for the administration of the compact by the compact commission can be aided by fees charged to the licensee for license transfer, out-of-state practice privileges, grants, assistance from organizations with close ties to the profession, and state assessments.

4. What are the benefits of creating a compact through The Council of State Governments (CSG) versus creating our own compact independently from CSG?

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is the only organization nationwide who works with professions to develop interstate compacts. CSG is a neutral, third party who manages and facilitates the compact development process. There is a high level of subject matter expertise required to develop interstate compacts, and CSG is the only organization with this knowledge and expertise.

Professions have attempted to do this independently but typically without success often due to a lack of knowledge about compacts, internal politics within the profession, or inability to build consensus.

Of the seven active interstate compacts for occupational licensure, CSG lead the development process of each one. CSG’s proven method for developing compacts builds consensus among all stakeholders in the profession (regulators, practitioners, educators, examiners, legislators, etc.). CSG has decades of experience bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders so that everyone has a seat at the table. That is the only way a compact can work. If someone’s voice is left out of the development process, they will likely be against it.

Additionally, as a membership organization representing all three branches of state government, CSG has the expertise needed to help the compact through the state legislative process. CSG’s non-partisan status is something we take very seriously, and as a result legislators trust the CSG brand. When CSG speaks on the merits of a piece of legislation, our members trust that it is good policy.

5. Will state licensing boards that join a compact lose licensing fee revenue or can compacts be customized in a way that the states will be able to retain their licensing fee revenue?

Most professions design their compact fee structure so that the cost of utilizing the compact is borne by the practitioner rather than the state board. Practitioners must maintain their “home state” license. So if a practitioner wishes to practice in multiple states, they will pay the normal licensing fee for their home state plus an additional fee for the multistate practice privilege. This multistate practice fee helps the board offset the lost revenue due to out of state practitioners no longer needing to pay the regular state licensing fee. Generally, compacts are cost-neutral from a board perspective.

6. Can compacts be customized so that the founding organization of the compact is able to recover some of the financial resources used in the creation of the compact (database systems, etc.)?

Most compact commissions operate on thin margins. We have not seen a compact be designed in a way that it generates enough revenue to help recoup some of the initial cost of development.

That being said, data system expenses are decreasing as more and more professions utilize compacts. The Nurse Licensing Compact and PT Compact have both agreed to share their code with other compacts developing a data system. The Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact both paid for their data system through a HRSA grant. Additionally, CSG will be offering assistance for developing compact data systems near the end of 2021.

To ensure technical assistance is provided uniformly to all, The Council of State Governments will post a summary of all questions submitted to compacts@csg.org below. All questions will remain anonymous and be posted within 10 days of the initial inquiry.