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Cheerleading An Official S-P-O-R-T? Calif. Lawmakers Advance Bill That Says 'Yes'

SACRAMENTO ( — California would recognize competitive cheerleading as a high school sport under pending legislation.

The state Assembly on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring the California Interscholastic Federation to oversee competitive cheerleading as it does other high school sports.

Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego says cheerleaders should be treated as athletes.

Gonzalez's office says at least eight other states treat competitive cheerleading as a sport. Formal recognition would mean consistent safety rules and training for coaches.

Under Assembly Bill 949
, the state Department of Education would develop guidelines to classify competition cheer as an interscholastic sport by the 2017-2018 school year.

The legislation advanced to the Senate on a 71-3 vote.

Gonzalez is a former high school and college cheerleader. She is also pushing a bill that would provide minimum wage and overtime protection to professional cheerleaders.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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