Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster County) announced last week three new bills that became law.
House Bill 2633, now Act 139, refines an existing law allowing the compensation of student athletes for the use of their name, image, or likeness (NIL). It includes a provision removing language prohibiting schools from arranging NIL deals for their student athletes and requiring students to share the contract with their school for at least seven days prior to the execution of the contract.
Martin said it is a small but important clarification that provides student athletes more agency over their private contracts and the financial rewards they earn.
“In the absence of national standards around NIL compensation by the NCAA or Federal law,” Martin said in a statement, “we must do everything we can here in Pennsylvania to make sure every student athlete that chooses one of our schools is treated fairly.”
The U.S. Supreme Court decision a year ago in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) v. Alston provided a path for student athletes to be compensated for NIL usage. Still, no national standard was established for a way that was appropriate and equal. States were left to enact their own rules, and Martin authored Act 26 of 2021, along with Sens. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks County) and Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh County).
“Our institutions of higher education continue to work with students to help them navigate the new law and promote and protect themselves,” said Martin.
Also becoming law last week, Martin said, was legislation that will provide educational credits to dentists who volunteer at free clinics and charity events. Martin’s Senate Bill 1173 became Act 159 and allows professionals to claim up to three hours served at a volunteer clinic or a charitable event as credit for continuing education. After passing unanimously in the Senate in June, it was approved in the House of Representatives last October.
“Those who participate not only hone their skills but expose themselves, in many cases, to progressive dental emergencies that arise from lack of routine care,” Martin said. “I believe this type of volunteerism should be encouraged and its value should be properly recognized.”
Poor oral health has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and overall health and wellbeing, according to multiple studies. Martin said volunteer opportunities provide crucial access to underserved populations who often fall through the cracks in the existing health care system and face poorer outcomes.
“This law not only improves the healthcare of many of our constituents in the short term,” said Martin, “but as mentioned before, it would go a long way to preventing long-term diseases, which of course means less of a financial burden on Pennsylvania taxpayers as a result.”
In addition, Martin said a bill clarifying license plate obstruction violations became law last week to prevent the criminalization of thousands of drivers overnight.
“You can look around any parking lot and you will see many vehicles with custom frames surrounding their license plates, often issued by their car dealers or of their favorite sports team,” Martin said, referencing a recent Superior Court decision in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Derrick Ruffin.
The decision involved a panel of three judges ruling justifying a Philadelphia police officer’s decision to pull over a vehicle because a custom license plate frame blocked the state’s tourism website from view.
“That decision meant that any one of those drivers could be pulled over with probable cause,” said Martin. “That wasn’t the intent of lawmakers, and certainly wasn’t fair to our motorists or our police departments. I’m pleased this law now fixes that for all parties involved.”
To that end, Martin sponsored Senate Bill 1357, stipulating that plate obstructions only apply to important identifiable information. It was amended into House Bill 1486 and became Act 112 after becoming law with the Governor’s signature.