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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A California bill that would allow college athletes to accept endorsement money moved one step closer to becoming law last night when it cleared the State Assembly by a vote of 72-0.

What's next: Once the details are ironed out, the proposed law — known as the Fair Pay to Play Act — will head to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will have 30 days to sign it. If it becomes law, it will go into effect in Jan. 2023.

Why it matters: This bill would allow college athletes in California to profit from their name, image and likeness — whether that's basketball stars signing shoe deals or golfers advertising swing lessons.

  • Similar bills are in their infancy in Washington state and Colorado, and Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) introduced a federal bill in March that would have the same effect, making the Fair Pay to Play Act a "catalyst rather than an end unto itself," per NYT.

The support: The bill's high-profile backers include LeBron James and Draymond Green, both of whom tweeted their support.

  • Green: "California!!! Extremely excited about the bill that passed tonight allowing players to be paid. Finally, we are making some progress and getting this thing right. Kids going to sleep hungry, can't afford ANYTHING yet these Universities are profiting off those same kids. SIGN IT!!"

The opposition: Naturally, the NCAA has come out in strong opposition of the bill.

  • And so have many California schools, who NCAA president Mark Emmert said could be banned from competing for national championships because they'd have an unfair recruiting advantage.

The final word, via the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Nancy Skinner:

"To me, this is fundamental fairness. California law basically gives each of us the right that no one can use my name, market my name or make money off of my name, or my photo, without my permission, or without sharing that revenue with me. The only people in the entire state of California for whom that is the case are student-athletes."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

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