State Watch

California attorney general opens DC office

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s (D) office will open an outpost in Washington, D.C., as expected clashes between the liberal state and the Trump administration loom.
The new office, which will be housed alongside Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) Washington representative, is a sign that Becerra expects to be involved in legal fights against the Trump administration.
California was one of the states that sued the administration over an executive order temporarily blocking immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The state is also likely to watch the Trump administration’s moves on environmental regulations and labor rules. 
{mosads}And California will have a vested interest in the Justice Department’s enforcement of federal marijuana laws. Voters in November heavily backed a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.
Becerra “has said he’ll do all it takes to advance and protect the interests of the people of California. Establishing a presence in our nation’s capital is consistent with that commitment,” Patricia Moscoso, the attorney general’s spokeswoman, said in an email.
The Los Angeles Times first reported Becerra’s decision to open the office.
Becerra, in office for just two months after being picked to replace now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D), has tapped Alejandro Perez, a former senior official in President Obama’s legislative affairs shop, to run the Washington office.
“This office will enable General Becerra and the California DoJ to effectively manage relationships on the Hill and protect the rights of the citizens of California,” said Sean Rankin, who heads the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Rankin called the office “a thoughtful approach to the changing landscape.”
California lawmakers have made a point of preparing for legal actions against President Trump. Brown picked Becerra, in part, for his willingness to take on the federal government.
In January, the legislature hired former Attorney General Eric Holder as its legal counselor; state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D) told The Hill they signed Holder to help them “navigate” the new administration.
Immigration issues have become an early flashpoint between California and the Trump administration. The legislature is considering a measure to prohibit state law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration law. In his State of the State address, delivered the day Becerra took office, Brown promised to defend immigrants living in California from federal overreach.
“We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child — who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state,” Brown said in January.
Tags Eric Holder Xavier Becerra

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