New Jersey General Assembly
|New Jersey General Assembly|
|2014 session start:||January 14, 2014|
|Website:||Official House Page|
|House Speaker:||Vincent Prieto (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Louis Greenwald (D)|
|Minority leader:||Jon Bramnick (R)|
Democratic Party (48)
Republican Party (32)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art IV, New Jersey Constitution|
|Last Election:||November 5, 2013 (80 seats)|
|Next election:||November 3, 2015 (80 seats)|
|Redistricting:||New Jersey Redistricting Commission|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Assemblymen
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
As of December 2014, New Jersey is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
Article IV of the New Jersey Constitution establishes when the New Jersey State Legislature, of which the General Assembly is a part, is to be in session. Section 1 of Article IV states that each annual session is to begin on the second Tuesday of January. The session does not end until the beginning of the next annual session or until the Legislature chooses to adjourn.
Section 1 also allows for special sessions of the Legislature to be called by the Governor of New Jersey or by a majority of the members of each legislative house.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through January 1, 2016.
Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include lowering property taxes, establishing the "Hurricane Sandy Bill of Rights," pay equity for women, funding for women’s health care and making college more affordable.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 10, 2013, to January 13, 2014.
The major issue for the Legislature is rebuilding the state after superstorm Sandy. Gun control is also expected to be addressed.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10, and remained in session throughout the year.
In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 12, and remained in session throughout the year.
Role in state budget
- See also: New Jersey state budget
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in Augufst.
- State agency requests are submitted in October.
- Agency hearings are held in November and December.
- Public hearings are held in March and June.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the New Jersey State Legislature on or before the fourth Tuesday in February.
- The legislature adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
- The fiscal year begins July 1.
The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is also constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. New Jersey was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Mississippi received a grade of C+ and a numerical score of 79, indicating that Mississippi was "middling" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. New Jersey was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Four states, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia hold their state legislative elections in odd-numbered years. New Jersey began holding elections in odd numbered years when the state adopted a new constitution in 1947. Prior to the new constitution, members of the Assembly were elected to one-year terms, members of the Senate to three-year terms and governors to three-year terms. The new constitution changed the term structure to include two years for representatives and four year terms for senators and governors. Because the constitution was adopted in an odd-numbered year, elections were also held in odd-numbered years and have continued in such a manner to this day.
The notion also exists that the reason for odd year elections exists to insulate New Jersey politics from national politics. Former New Jersey Governor Alfred E. Driscoll made the following statement before the constitutional convention in 1947:
- ...the election for a Governor and for Assemblymen should not coincide with a Presidential election. The importance of a gubernatorial election merits an election that will not be overshadowed by a national contest for the Presidency. The problems confronting the State are frequently distinct from those confronting the nation...
This chart shows how many candidates ran for state house in New Jersey in past years and the cumulative amount of campaign contributions in state house races, including contributions in both primary and general election contests. All figures come from Follow The Money.
|Total contributions, New Jersey General Assembly|
|Year||Number of candidates||Total contributions|
Elections for the office of New Jersey General Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 4, 2013, and a general election on November 5, 2013.
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was January 7, 2011, and the primary Election Day was April 10, 2011.
|2011 Donors, New Jersey General Assembly|
|New Jersey State Laborers||$344,500|
|New Jersey Education Association||$325,900|
|New Jersey Republican Party||$296,965|
|New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters||$296,950|
|Election Fund of Cook Conaway & Singleton||$245,493|
|New Jersey Association of Realtors||$242,450|
|1199 Seiu United Healthcare Workers East||$185,400|
|Communications Workers New Jersey||$162,500|
|Cmte to Elect Lesniak Cryan & Quijano||$157,485|
|Democratic Assembly Campaign Cmte||$155,183|
Elections for the office of the New Jersey General Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 9, 2009, and a general election on November 10, 2009.
During the 2009 election, the total value of contributions to the Assembly candidates was $25,487,974. The top 10 contributors were:
|2009 Donors, New Jersey General Assembly|
|Fund of Joe Roberts Assembly Speaker||$861,000|
|New Jersey Education Association||$367,675|
|New Jersey Association of Realtors||$263,375|
|New Jersey Business & Industry Association||$220,475|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 9||$214,825|
|New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters||$212,710|
|Republican National Cmte||$174,340|
|Electrical Workers Local 351||$149,400|
|New Jersey Dental Association||$146,825|
|New Jersey Democratic Party||$146,623|
Elections for the office of the New Jersey General Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 5, 2007, and a general election on November. 6, 2007.
During the 2007 election, the total value of contributions to the Assembly candidates was $26,388,602. The top 10 contributors were:
|2007 Donors, New Jersey General Assembly|
|Panter & Mallet for Assembly||$935,740|
|Hudson County Democratic Organization||$803,942|
|New Jersey Republican Party||$573,008|
|New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters||$269,750|
|New Jersey Association of Realtors||$268,700|
|New Jersey State Laborers||$248,850|
|New Jersey Business & Industry Association||$205,735|
|New Jersey Education Association||$194,885|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 9||$191,950|
Elections for the office of the New Jersey General Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 7, 2005, and a general election on November 8, 2005.
During the 2005 election, the total value of contributions to the Assembly candidates was $23,299,489. The top 10 contributors were:
|2005 Donors, New Jersey General Assembly|
|Assembly Republican Victory 2005||$721,223|
|West New York Municipal Democratic Cmte||$368,200|
|New Jersey Education Association||$247,225|
|New Jersey State Laborers||$244,300|
|New Jersey Association of Realtors||$237,200|
|New Democratic Leadership Pac||$235,917|
|Doherty & Reilly for Assembly||$211,900|
|New Jersey Business & Industry Association||$210,620|
|New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters||$159,950|
Elections for the office of the New Jersey General Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 3, 2003, and a general election on November 4, 2003.
During the 2003 election, the total value of contributions to the Assembly candidates was $15,682,188. The top 10 contributors were:
|2003 Donors, New Jersey General Assembly|
|Hudson County Democratic Organization||$566,802|
|New Jersey New Democratic Assembly Leadership||$540,717|
|Assembly Republican Majority||$429,263|
|New Democratic Assembly Leadership Pac||$390,763|
|Camden County Democratic Cmte||$377,229|
|New Jersey Democratic Party||$279,900|
|New Jersey Education Association||$175,132|
|New Jersey State Laborers||$171,767|
|Medical Society of New Jersey||$146,967|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 9||$125,825|
Elections for the office of the New Jersey General Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 26, 2001, and a general election on November 6, 2001.
During the 2001 election, the total value of contributions to the Assembly candidates was $12,642,876. The top 10 contributors were:
|2001 Donors, New Jersey General Assembly|
|Assembly Republican Majority of New Jersey||$732,379|
|Camden County Democratic Cmte||$460,450|
|New Jersey Democratic Party||$444,370|
|Gloucester County Democratic Executive Cmte||$306,000|
|Republican National State Elections Cmte||$260,653|
|First Jersey Cmte||$254,125|
|Democratic National Cmte||$241,641|
|Cape May County Democratic Organization||$230,000|
|New Jersey Education Association||$219,572|
|Doria Democratic Leadership Fund||$204,500|
In order to be a candidate to run for the New Jersey General Assembly, a candidate must:
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Reside for no less than two years in the district the candidate plans to represent.
- Be 21 years of age or older.
- Obtain 100 signatures via petition and submit the signatures to the New Jersey Secretary of State.
- Disclose any criminal convictions.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
There are two ways to fill an vacancy in the house. For any vacancy that happens in session, a special election must be conducted within 51 days of the vacancy. All other vacancies must be filled by the county leadership of the political party that holds the seat.
- See also: Redistricting in New Jersey
Redistricting is handled by the bipartisan 10-member New Jersey Redistricting Commission.
The State of New Jersey received its local census data on February 3, 2011. From that point, the Commission had 60 days to ultimately settle on a map. The state's population grew five percent to 8.8 million from 2000 to 2010.
Unable to agree on a map within 30 days, Rutgers law professor Alan Rosenthal was appointed as the nonpartisan 11th member of the commission, as called for. When a compromise could not be reached, he cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Democratic map on April 3, 2011.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the New Jersey Legislature are paid $49,000/year. There is no per diem.
When sworn in
New Jersey legislators assume office at noon of the second Tuesday in January following the election.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of December 2014|
The Speaker of the Assembly is the presiding officer of the body.
- Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Budget Committee (Budget Hearings Only)
- Commerce and Economic Development
- Consumer Affairs
- Environment and Solid Waste
- Financial Institutions and Insurance
- Health and Senior Services
- Higher Education
- Homeland Security and State Preparedness
- Housing and Community Development
- Human Services
- Law and Public Safety
- Military and Veterans' Affairs
- Regulated Professions
- Regulatory Oversight
- State and Local Government
- Telecommunications and Utilities
- Tourism and Gaming
- Transportation and Independent Authorities
- Women and Children
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the New Jersey State House of Representatives for the last 12 years and the Republicans were the majority for the first 10 years.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
New Jersey was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period.
The chart below depicts the partisanship of New Jersey state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. New Jersey had Republican trifectas from 1994-2001 and Democratic trifectas from 2004-2009. There were four years when New Jersey finished in the top-10, all of those years with Republican trifectas.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 18.67
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 9.75
- SQLI average with divided government: 21.86
- New Jersey State Legislature
- New Jersey State Senate
- New Jersey state legislative districts
- State legislative scorecards in New Jersey
- Official website of the New Jersey Legislature
- Official list of the current members of the New Jersey Legislature
- Map of the Legislative districts
- census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
- census.gov, "Census 2000 PHC-T-2. Ranking Tables for States: 1990 and 2000," accessed May 15, 2014
- www.nj.com, "New N.J. Legislature sworn in as Democrats focus on taxes, Hurricane Sandy," accessed January 15, 2014
- Wall Street Journal, "Sandy Sets New Agenda for Christie ," January 6, 2013
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed July 7, 2014(Archived)
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- The Thicket of State Legislatures, Why do Four States Have Odd-Year Elections?, Aug. 25, 2011
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2011 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2011 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2009 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2007 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2005 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2003 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2001 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
- New Jersey Secretary of State, "Partisan Office Candidate Requirements," accessed December 18, 2013
- New Jersey Legislature, "New Jersey Constitution," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Section Article IV, Section 4, (1))
- Star Ledger, "With release of census data, N.J. Legislature has 60 days to come up with redistricting map," February 3, 2011
- Star-Ledger, "New census data shows N.J.'s population grew most in southern counties, became more racially diverse," February 3, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2012
- NorthJersey.com, "What N.J.'s legislative redistricting means to you," April 19, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2012
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- New Jersey Legislature, "New Jersey Assembly Leadership," accessed July 7, 2014
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