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California lawmakers pass bill classifying pro sports cheerleaders as team employees

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A bill currently before California Governor Jerry Brown would make clear that cheerleaders for state-based professional sports teams are employees, following high-profile lawsuits alleging labor violations in the state and elsewhere around the country.

The bill, which would add a section to the state’s labor code specifying that cheerleaders are team employees, passed the state Senate by a margin of 26 to 6 on Monday after easily clearing the Assembly.

It was not immediately clear what action Brown would take. His office generally does not comment on pending legislation and Brown has a little over a week left to decide, his press secretary, Evan Westrup, said.

“Everyone who works hard to provide a great game day experience deserves the same basic level of dignity and respect on the job, starting with simply being paid for their work,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who authored the bill, said in a statement after it passed.

The legislation aims to guarantee employee rights, like minimum wage and employment protections, for workers who perform “acrobatics, dance, or gymnastics” at team events and games.

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The bill was introduced in January, just months after the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, based in Oakland, California, agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 90 members of the team’s cheerleading squad.

The performers alleged they were underpaid or faced lengthy delays in receiving their wages in violation of state labor law, in the first of its kind lawsuit against the NFL.

A wave of similar suits followed against other NFL franchises last year, including the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets, over unfair pay.

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A similar bill was proposed in New York state last month after five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders sued the franchise for wage theft, according to the local Journal News.

The so-called Buffalo Jills have been on hiatus since the filing last April and did not perform at any of their team’s games last year, the Journal News said.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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Damning CNN timeline shows how Trump ‘thinks white people matter more than nonwhite people’

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CNN's Brianna Keilar on Monday delivered a damning verdict on President Donald Trump's racist attacks on Democratic lawmakers -- and she backed it up with a timeline of the president's bigoted words and actions.

During a segment about Trump’s weekend tweets, in which he told Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to “go back” to their countries despite the fact that all four are American citizens, Keilar argued that the president's racism is part of a pattern of bigotry that's followed him throughout his life.

"This fits a pattern to the president who has long made it clear that he thinks white people matter more than nonwhite people, even if they're American," she said. "30 years ago he called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, five minority youths who were falsely accused of rape. Trump [is] still refusing to believe their innocence 16 years after they were exonerated."

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MSNBC host says Trump just openly embraced racists: ‘This actually feels different to me’

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On Monday, President Donald Trump went on an unhinged rant against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

In an often rambling question session with reporters, Trump repeatedly told the two Congresswomen to leave America (both are U.S. citizens) if they're so critical of the U.S. and Israel.

MSNBC host Ali Velshi observed that Trump had truly crossed the line and directly appealed to the sentiments of white nationalists.

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MSNBC's @AliVelshi: This time "actually feels different to me. This feels like the president really owning the idea that he's saying things that are attractive to white nationalists and racists." pic.twitter.com/vtK1T3GHuU

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World hunger on the rise with more than 820 million at risk, UN report says

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More than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide last year, the United Nations reported Monday -- the third year in a row that the number has risen.

After decades of decline, food insecurity began to increase in 2015 and reversing the trend is one of the 2030 targets of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

But getting to a world where no one is suffering from hunger by then remains an "immense challenge," the report said.

"The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World" was produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN agencies including the World Health Organization.

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