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Bill Granting Publicity Rights To Arkansas College Athletes Heads To Governor


The Arkansas General Assembly has given final approval to a bill that would allow college athletes to enter into contracts and make money off their name and likeness.

The Senate voted 34-1 Tuesday to pass House Bill 1671, which establishes the "Arkansas Student-Athlete Publicity Rights Act." Under the legislation, athletes at the collegiate level in the state will be able to enter into a contract and receive compensation for the use of their name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness.

Entering into such contracts would not impact a student’s scholarship eligibility, nor would collegiate athletes be paid to play their sport. Currently, states across the county are considering or have already passed similar legislation, including one in Florida that is set to go into effect this summer.

Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, presented the bill, which has bipartisan support.

"We do not want to put ourselves at a disadvantage in recruiting and most importantly, we just want to treat our student athletes in Arkansas, fairly," Hester said.

No one spoke against the legislation, though Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, said he had reservations about certain parts of it, including the restriction where athletes cannot enter into contracts with any entities associated with firearms or ammunition.

The bill received near unanimous consent from both the House and Senate chambers and now goes to Gov. Asa Hutchinson where, if signed, will become law. 

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