Newsom at home + Dianne Feinstein steps down as ranking member + Cannabis chief to leave

Andrew Sheeler

Good morning and happy Tuesday! Let’s get into the news.

#NEWSOMAFTERNOON (QUARANTINE EDITION)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered remarks on the state of COVID-19 in California on Monday afternoon as he so often does. But keen-eyed observers may have noticed something a little different: Namely, that the governor held the press conference while in quarantine.

Newsom went into the circumstances of his quarantine some during the press conference.

“As it relates to my three children that were exposed, it was a CHP officer and they were exposed. The 4-year-old was exposed first, so forgive me, I don’t have the ability to inquire when he knew and how he knew it because of his age,” Newsom said, when asked to provide a tick-tock of what he and his family knew and when they knew it.

The governor said that his family immediately went through “the process of protocils and reviews” at both the state and local level to make sure they were abiding by existing guidelines. He said the quarantine clock started on Sunday, after they waited two days to get tested after learning about the possible COVID-19 exposure.

Newsom, who said he feels fine, said the whole family was tested, “including my youngest 4-year-old, which was an episode itself just trying to encourage a 4-year-old to sit and get tested with a nasal swab.”

The governor and his “pod,” which includes not only his family but another individual from “overseas” all tested negative, he said.

As for the press conference itself, Newsom gave it from an office, something he acknowledged he was blessed to have.

“As it relates to the house, I’m blessed because we have many rooms. I’m able to do this without kids jumping on top of me. I’m in an office. I can assure you it’s the first time I’ve ever had an office,” he said.

FEINSTEIN WON’T SEEK TOP SENATE JUDICIARY SPOT

California Senator Dianne Feinstein on Monday announced that she will not seek a top spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee when the 117th Congress begins next year.

Feinstein has served as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee since 2017, but she will decline to seek the position of chairman or ranking member, her office said in a statement.

“California is a huge state confronting two existential threats – wildfire and drought – that are only getting worse with climate change. In the next Congress, I plan to increase my attention on those two crucial issues. I also believe that defeating COVID-19, combating climate change and protecting access to health care are critical national priorities that require even more concentration,” Feinstein said in prepared remarks. “I look forward to continuing to serve as a senior Democrat on the Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules committees as we work with the Biden administration on priorities like gun safety, immigration reform and addressing inequities in criminal justice. I will continue to do my utmost to bring about positive change in the coming years.”

Feinstein’s announcement comes weeks after her remarks praising Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s handling of the confirmation hearing for now Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Feinstein then embraced Graham, prompting outcries from many Democrats.

“This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” Feinstein said at the time. “It leaves one with a lot of hopes, a lot of questions and even some ideas perhaps of good bipartisan legislation we can put together.”

Feinstein’s remarks prompted some groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, to call on Feinstein to step down as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

BCC CHIEF TO STEP DOWN NEXT MONTH

After nearly five years at the helm of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Chief Lori Ajax is stepping down.

In 2016, then-Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Ajax to helm the nascent agency, as it shepherded a newly legal recreational cannabis industry into legal compliance. Ajax previously spent more than two decades working her way up the ranks of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Her last day is Dec. 2.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The lawsuits and media appearances have no chance at changing the outcome of the election, but they are undermining President Trump’s legacy, overshadowing his accomplishments, distracting from the GA Senate runoffs, and damaging the Republican Party.”

– Former California GOP Chairman Ron Nehring, via Twitter.

Best of the Bee:

  • America’s largest automaker, in a dramatic break with the Trump administration, declared Monday it would side with California in a fierce battle over climate change, tailpipe emissions and fuel economy, via Dale Kasler and Michael Wilner.

  • A large Pentecostal church in Northern California with a history of defying state and local coronavirus restrictions did so again this past weekend in a big way, holding a trio of packed indoor services Sunday with prominent conservative activist Charlie Kirk as a guest, via Michael McGough.

  • If The U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of President Donald Trump’s memorandum to remove unauthorized immigrants from the 2020 census count, California stands to lose some political power, via Kim Bojórquez.