Capitol Alert

Assembly votes to make pro sports cheerleaders employees

49ers Gold Rush cheerleaders wear Halloween costumes during a game betweeen the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on Oct. 26, 2008.
49ers Gold Rush cheerleaders wear Halloween costumes during a game betweeen the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on Oct. 26, 2008. jvillegas@sacbee.com

The state Assembly voted without debate Monday to make cheerleaders of professional sports teams employees.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said her bill is aimed at “treating the women on the field with the same dignity and respect” as the male athletes. She was a cheerleader at Stanford University.

Assembly Bill 202, if passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, would apply to all professional sports teams headquartered in California with the major effects falling on the state’s three National Football League teams and its four National Basketball Association teams. Baseball teams do not generally employ cheerleaders, although they usually have mascots in costume.

Gonzalez introduced the bill after several lawsuits, including one against the Oakland Raiders, challenged teams’ designation of cheerleaders as independent contractors.

None of the affected teams opposed the bill publicly. It cleared the Assembly on a 52-21 vote.

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