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New Database: U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments


We’re excited to introduce a groundbreaking collection comprising over 750 legal and political commitments between U.S. states and foreign governments—most of which have never been published before. Edited by Ryan Scoville, U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments contains commitments entered into arrangements by individual U.S. states with foreign nations on topics ranging from archaeology to human rights and transportation. Watch this short video or keep reading to learn more.

About U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments

The most comprehensive source of its kind—available as an online database with a print companion.

U.S. states frequently enter into arrangements with foreign governments, collaborating on issues spanning from economic development to environmental protection. U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments offers a comprehensive repository containing the complete texts of hundreds of such arrangements.

To compile this extensive collection, the editor filed over 650 freedom-of-information requests, reaching out to every major administrative agency across all fifty states. State officials responded by submitting copies of more than 750 commitments, totaling more than 3,500 pages.

The book contains a curated set of approximately one-quarter of these commitments, supplemented with notations that provide essential context, highlight significant legal considerations, and reference helpful academic sources.

In addition to the print edition, the online database hosts the entire collection, marking the inaugural effort to gather these state commitments comprehensively. Of the 750+ commitments featured, the majority have never been published before. Furthermore, select commitments are annotated by the editor, offering deeper insights into these captivating yet often misunderstood documents.

image of Agreement on the Harmonization and Integration of Cap-and-Trade Programs for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Discover the intricacies of state diplomacy and broaden your understanding of international relations with U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments.

Why Study These Commitments?

icon of a gavel

Uncover a Developing Diplomatic Frontier

While the U.S. federal government has traditionally been the face of international relations, states are now stepping onto the global stage to shape policy on issues from trade to the environment.

icon of magnifying glass

Analyze an Opaque Practice

Despite the significance of U.S. state commitments, states generally have not been required to disclose them to Congress or the public. As a result, most of the commitments have avoided public scrutiny.

icon of a balance beam

Assess Practical Benefits and Risk

Commitments are often beneficial, but some might subvert U.S. national interests and undermine federal foreign policy.

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Understand the Law in Practice

The contents of the commitments shed new light on U.S. constitutional law and public international law as applied at the state level.

Multiple Browsing Options

Users can browse the database by State (U.S.), Country, or Subject.

By Subject:

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Emergency Management
  • Environment & Natural Resources
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Law Enforcement
  • Miscellaneous
  • Public Health
  • Scientific & Technical Cooperation
  • And many more

By State (U.S.)

  • California: 94 agreements
  • Maryland: 68 agreements
  • Texas: 43 agreements
  • Washington: 41 agreements
  • Hawaii: 34 agreements
  • New York: 34 agreements
  • Massachusetts: 32 agreements
  • Idaho: 31 agreements
  • Michigan: 27 agreements
  • Delaware: 26 agreements
  • Ohio: 25 agreements
  • And all other U.S. states

By Country:

  • China: 115 agreements
  • Canada: 94 agreements
  • Mexico: 59 agreements
  • Japan: 49 agreements
  • Taiwan: 36 agreements
  • Germany: 35 agreements
  • South Korea: 32 agreements
  • United Kingdom: 25 agreements
  • Israel: 23 agreements
  • Spain: 23 agreements
  • Australia: 17 agreements
  • And many more

Custom Commitment Index

HeinOnline has created a custom Commitment Index tool to help maximize your research within this database. This tool allows researchers to choose a variety of ways to search, including:

  • Text
  • Title
  • Date
  • State
  • Country
  • Subject
  • Commitment number
  • Keywords
  • Description
image of the Commitment Index in HeinOnline for U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments

About the Editor

Ryan Scoville is a Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School, where he teaches and writes on U.S. foreign relations law and international law. His research has been published in leading academic journals such as the Michigan Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, the European Journal of International Law, and the Yale Journal of International Law, and has been cited in several national media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles TimesThe Atlantic, and Foreign Policy. Professor Scoville holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School.


*One-time payment for the current edition: $295.00

Includes access to the HeinOnline database and one copy of the print version.

Customers will not be invoiced again until the next edition is released, which is tentatively slated for 3-4 years after the publication of the first edition. At that time, the database will be updated with new agreements obtained via freedom-of-information requests.

image of U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Government book cover

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