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The Great Lakes Basin Compact
The Great Lakes Basin Compact -- created through the collective legislative action of its member states and later granted congressional consent through Public Law 90-419 -- established five general areas of responsibility for the Great Lakes Commission, listed in Article I (see Compact, below).
Great Lakes Basin Compact
The party states solemnly agree:Article I
The purposes of this compact are, through means of joint or cooperative action:
B. The Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec, or either of them, may become states party to this compact by taking such action as their laws and the laws of the Government of Canada may prescribe for adherence thereto. For the purposes of this compact the word "state" shall be construed to include a Province of Canada.
The Great Lakes Commission created by Article IV of this compact shall exercise its powers and perform its functions in respect to the Basin which, for the purposes of this compact shall consist of so much of the following as may be within the party states:
B. The Commission shall be composed of not less than three commissioners nor more than five commissioners from each party state designated or appointed accordance with the law of the state which they represent and serving and subject to removal in accordance with such law.
C. Each state delegation shall be entitled to three votes in the Commission. The presence of commissioners from a majority of the party states shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Commission. Actions of the Commission shall be by a majority of the votes cast except that any recommendations made pursuant to Article VI of this compact shall require an affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the votes cast from each of a majority of the states present and voting.
D. The commissioners of any two or more party states may meet separately to consider problems of particular interest to their states but no action taken at any such meeting shall be deemed an action of the Commission unless and until the Commission shall specifically approve the same.
E. In the absence of any commissioner, his vote may be cast by another representative or commissioner of his state provided that said commissioner or other representative casting said vote shall have a written proxy in proper form as may be required by the Commission.
F. The Commission shall elect annually from among its members a chairman and vice-chairman. The Commission shall appoint an Executive Director who shall also act as secretary-treasurer, and who shall be bonded in such amount as the Commission may require. The Executive Director shall serve at the pleasure of the Commission and at such compensation and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by it. The Executive Director shall be custodian of the records of the Commission with authority to affix the Commission's official seal and to attest to and certify such records or copies thereof.
G. The Executive Director, subject to the approval of the Commission in such cases as its by-laws may provide, shall appoint and remove or discharge such personnel as may be necessary for the performance of the Commission's function. Subject to the aforesaid approval, the Executive Director may fix their compensation, define their duties, and require bonds of such of them as the Commission may designate.
H. The Executive Director, on behalf of, as trustee for, and with the approval of the Commission, may borrow, accept, or contract for the services of personnel from any state or government or any subdivision or agency thereof, from any inter-governmental agency, or from any institution, person, firm or corporation; and may accept for any of the Commissions purposes and functions under this compact any and all donations, gifts, and grants of money, equipment, supplies, materials, and services from any state or government of any subdivision or agency thereof or inter-governmental agency or from any institution, person, firm or corporation and may receive and utilize the same.
I. The Commission may establish and maintain one or more offices for the transacting of its business and for such purposes the Executive Director, on behalf of, as trustee for, and with the approval of the Commission, may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property necessary to the performance of its functions.
J. No tax levied or imposed by any party state or any political subdivision thereof shall be deemed to apply to property, transactions, or income of the Commission.
K. The Commission may adopt, amend and rescind by-laws, rules and regulations for the conduct of its business.
L. The organization meeting of the Commission shall be held within six months from the effective date of the compact.
M. The Commission and its Executive Director shall make available to the party states any information within its possession and shall always provide free access to its records by duly authorized representatives of such party states.
N. The Commission shall keep a written record of its meetings and proceedings and shall annually make a report thereof to be submitted to the duly designated official of each party state.
O. The Commission shall make and transmit annually to the legislature and Governor of each party state a report covering the activities of the Commission for the preceding year and embodying such recommendations as may have been adopted by the Commission. The Commission may issue such additional reports as it may deem desirable.
B. The Commission shall submit to the executive head or designated officer of each party state a budget of its estimated expenditures for such period as may be required by the laws of that state for presentation to the legislature thereof.
C. Each of the Commission's budgets of estimated expenditures shall contain specific recommendations of the amount or amounts to be appropriated by each of the party states. Detailed commission budgets shall be recommended by a majority of the votes cast, and the costs shall be allocated equitably among the party states in accordance with their respective interests.
D. The Commission shall not pledge the credit of any party state. The Commission may meet any of its obligations in whole or in part with funds available to it under Article IV(H) of this compact, provided that the Commission takes specific action setting aside such funds prior to the incurring of any obligations to be met in whole or in part in this manner. Except where the Commission makes use of funds available to it under Article IV (H) hereof, the Commission shall not incur any obligations prior to the allotment of funds by the party states adequate to meet the same.
E. The Commission shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements. The receipts and disbursements of the Commission shall be subject to the audit and accounting procedures established under the by-laws. However, all receipts and disbursements of funds handled by the Commission shall be audited yearly by a qualified public accountant and the report of the audit shall be included in and become a part of the annual report of the Commission.
F. The accounts of the Commission shall be open at any reasonable time for inspection by such agency, representative of the party states as may be duly constituted for that purpose and by others who may be authorized by the Commission.
The Commission shall have power to:
Each party state agrees to consider the action the Commission recommends in respect to:
State Legislative History
The Commission was officially organized and established December 12, 1955 subsequent to ratification of the compact by five states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin). The Commission office was established on the Campus of the University of Michigan in early 1956.
Congressional Consent: Legislation
"Public Law 90-419
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the consent of Congress is hereby given, to the extent and subject to the conditions hereinafter set forth, to the Great Lakes Basin Compact which has been entered into by the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the form as follows:
"Great Lakes Basin Compact"
"SEC. 2. The consent herein granted does not extend to paragraph B of article II or to paragraphs J, K, and M or article VI of the compact, or to other provisions of article VI of the compact which purpose to authorize recommendations to, or cooperation with, any foreign or international governments, political subdivisions, agencies or bodies. In carrying out its functions under this Act the Commission shall be solely a consultative and recommendatory agency which will cooperate with the agencies of the United States. It shall furnish to the Congress and to the President, or to any official designated by the President, copies of its reports submitted to the party states pursuant to paragraph O of article IV of the compact.
"SEC. 3. Nothing contained in this Act or in the compact consented to hereby shall be construed to affect the jurisdiction on, powers, or prerogatives of any department, agency, or officer of the United States Government or of the Great Lakes Basin Committee established under title II of the Water Resources Planning Act, or of any international commission or agency over or in the Great Lakes Basin or any portion thereof, nor shall anything contained herein be construed to establish an international agency or to limit or affect in any way the exercises of the treatymaking power or any other power or right of the United States.
"SEC 4. The right to alter, amend, or repeal this Act is expressly reserved. "Approved July 24, 1968."
Federal Legislative History
Public Law 90-419 (90th Congress, S 660)
House Report No. 1640 (Comm. on Foreign Affairs)
Senate Report No. 1178 (Comm. on the Judiciary)
Congressional Record, Vol. 114 (1968):