§ 16-41-1. Execution of compact.
The Rhode Island higher education assistance authority, on behalf of the state, is authorized and directed to execute a compact, substantially in the following form, with any one or more of the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont:
The purpose of the New England higher education compact shall be to provide greater educational opportunities and services through the establishment and maintenance of a coordinated educational program for the persons residing in the several states of New England parties to this compact with the aim of furthering higher education in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health and in professional, technical, scientific, literary and other fields.
There is hereby created and established a New England board of higher education hereinafter known as the board which shall be an agency of each state party to the compact. The board shall be a body corporate and politic, having the powers, duties and jurisdiction herein enumerated and such other and additional powers as shall be conferred upon it by the concurrent act or acts of the compacting states. The board shall consist of eight (8) resident members from each compacting state, chosen in the manner and for the terms provided by law of the several states parties to this compact, provided, however, that at least four (4) members shall be members of the legislature.
This compact shall become operative immediately as to those states executing it whenever any two (2) or more of the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have executed it in the form which is in accordance with the laws of the respective compacting states.
The board shall annually elect from its members a chairperson and vice-chairperson and shall appoint and at its pleasure remove or discharge said officers. It may appoint and employ an executive secretary and may employ such stenographic, clerical, technical or legal personnel as shall be necessary, and at its pleasure remove or discharge such personnel. It shall adopt a seal and suitable bylaws and shall promulgate any all rules and regulations which may be necessary for the conduct of its business. It may maintain an office or offices within the territory of the compacting states and may meet at any time or place. Meetings shall be held at least twice each year.
A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but no action of the board imposing any obligation on any compacting state shall be binding unless a majority of the members from such compacting state shall have voted in favor thereof. Where meetings are planned to discuss matters relevant to problems of education affecting only certain of the compacting states, the board may vote to authorize special meetings of the board members of such states. The board shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements and shall make an annual report to the governor and the legislature of each compacting state setting forth in detail the operations and transactions conducted by it pursuant to this compact, and shall make recommendations for any legislative action deemed by it advisable, including amendments to the statutes of the compacting states which may be necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of this compact. The board shall not pledge the credit of any compacting state without consent of the legislature thereof given pursuant to the constitutional processes of said state. The board may meet any of its obligations in whole or in part with funds available to it under article VII of this compact, provided that the board takes specific action setting aside such funds prior to the incurring of any obligation to be met in whole or in part in this manner. Except where the board makes use of funds available to it under article VII hereof, the board shall not incur any obligations for salaries, office, administrative, traveling or other expenses prior to the allotment of funds by the compacting states adequate to meet the same. Each compacting state reserves the right to provide hereafter by law for the examination and audit of the accounts of the board. The board shall appoint a treasurer and assistant treasurer who may be empowered to perform any and all duties of the treasurer. Fiscal disbursements of the board shall be valid only when authorized by any two (2) persons from among those authorized by the board to execute this authority, and when substantiated by vouchers signed and countersigned by any two (2) persons from among those the board has authorized to execute this authority. The executive secretary shall be custodian of the records of the board with authority to attest to and certify the records or copies thereof.
The board shall have the power to: (1) Collect, correlate, and evaluate data in the fields of its interest under this compact; to publish reports, bulletins, and other documents making available the results of its research; and, in its discretion, to charge fees for said reports, bulletins, and documents; (2) enter into such contractual agreements or arrangements with any of the compacting states or agencies thereof and with educational institutions and agencies as may be required in the judgment of the board to provide adequate services and facilities in educational fields covered by this compact; provided that it shall be the policy of the board in the negotiation of its agreements to serve increased numbers of students from the compacting states through arrangements with them existing institutions, whenever in the judgment of the board adequate service can be so secured in the New England region. Each of the compacting states shall contribute funds to carry out the contracts of the board on the basis of the number of students from such state for whom the board may contract. Contributions shall be at the rate determined by the board in each educational field. Except in those instances where the board by specific action allocates funds available to it under article VII hereof, it shall be the policy of the board to enter into such contracts only upon appropriation of funds by the compacting states. Any contract entered into shall be in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the board and in accordance with the laws of the compacting states.
Each state agrees that, when authorized by the legislature pursuant to the constitutional processes, it will from time to time make available to the board such funds as may be required for the expenses of the board as authorized under the terms of this compact. The contribution of each state for this purpose shall be in the proportion that its population bears to the total combined population of the states who are parties hereto as shown from time to time by the most recent official published report of the bureau of the census of the United States of America; unless the board shall adopt another basis in making its recommendation for appropriation to the compacting states.
The board for the purposes of this compact is hereby empowered to receive grants, devises, gifts and bequests which the board may agree to accept and administer. The board shall administer property held in accordance with special trusts, grants and bequests and shall also administer grants and devises of land and gifts or bequests of personal property made to the board for special uses and shall execute said trusts, investing the proceeds thereof in notes or bonds secured by sufficient mortgages or other securities.
The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of any compacting state or of the United States the validity of the remainder of this compact and the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance shall not be affected thereby; provided, that if this compact is held to be contrary to the constitution of any compacting state the compact shall remain in full force and effect as to all other compacting states.
This compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon a compacting state until the legislature or the governor of such state, as the laws of such state shall provide, takes action to withdraw therefrom. Such action shall not be effective until two (2) years after notice thereof has been sent by the governor of the state desiring to withdraw to the governors of all other states then parties to the compact. Such withdrawal shall not relieve the withdrawing state from its obligations accruing hereunder prior to the effective date of withdrawal. Any state so withdrawing, unless reinstated, shall cease to have any claim to or ownership of any of the property held by or vested in the board or to any of the funds of the board held under the terms of the compact. Thereafter, the withdrawing state may be reinstated by application after appropriate legislation is enacted by such state, upon approval by a majority vote of the board.
(R.P.L. 1957, ch. 73, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 130, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 365, § 1.)