OLYMPIA – A bill to enhance support for student athletes passed the Senate.

SB 5913, sponsored by Sen. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle), addresses concerns regarding the Ethics in Public Service Act, ensuring public resources, including personnel, can be utilized by state higher education employees to benefit student athletes. The bill specifically allows them to provide advice, facilitation, acknowledgment, or education on matters concerning the name, image, and likeness (NIL) of student athletes. These activities must be conducted under the control or direction of the higher education employee and may encompass broader aspects of student athlete NIL matters.

The Ethics in Public Service Act, commonly known as the ethics law, governs the conduct of state employees, addressing conflicts of interest, the improper use of state resources, compensation for outside activities, and gifts. This bill seeks to ensure the Act does not hinder the use of public resources to support student athletes in NIL pursuits, aligning with evolving NCAA guidelines.

“There are good reasons why ethics laws exist, but in this case, we are seeking clarity, so our staff can support student athletes in these NIL pursuits,” Valdez said. “The bill would allow staff to go beyond high-level educational awareness, enabling them to provide specific counseling on NIL opportunities. This clarification will mean better service for students and put us on an equal playing field with other competing states and institutions.”

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.