New Jersey Office of Legislative Services

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The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services is a nonpartisan, all-purpose legislative service agency that is dedicated to serving the members and staff of the New Jersey Legislature.

History

The Office of Legislative Services was created by the New Jersey Legislature in 1986 as part of an re-organization that merged the fiscal, research, and legal service agencies into one agency[1].

Governance

The Office of Legislative Services is governed by a Legislative Services Commission, which is a 16 member bi-partisan panel with equal representation from each house. The Legislative Services Commission selects the Executive Director and the heads of each division[2].

The OLS has one of the largest staffs out of any legislative service agency in the nation with 342 staff members[3]. During the 2008-2009 budget cycle, the Office of Legislative Services had a budget of $38.209 million[4]. The 2010-2011 budget proposed by Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie for the OLS is $28.958 million, which is nearly a $10 million dollar cut[5]. The New Jersey Legislature must determine if the OLS will have a reduced amount of staff[4].

Services offered

Data management

The Data Management Division of the OLS handles the maintenance, support, and security of the New Jersey Legislature's computer networks. The Data Management Division also provides training on the Legislature's computer systems to members of the legislature and their staffs[6].

Fiscal analysis

The Legislative Budget and Finance Office Division of OLS conducts all fiscal research and analysis related to New Jersey government and the state budget. The Budget and Finance Office presents all fiscal impact statements for legislation that is under consideration and approves the transfer of funds between two or more state accounts. Also, the Legislative Budget Office staffs the Joint Budget Oversight Committee[7].

General Administration

The OLS has a general administration unit that provides all payroll, purchasing, and other administrative services to the Legislature[8].

Legal services

The Legislative Counsel Division of the OLS is the Chief Legal Officer of the New Jersey Legislature. The Legislative Counsel can provide legal advice to legislators, legislative committees, leadership, and commissions. There is also legal counsel that is strictly focused to advising legislators and their staff on ethics law issues. All legal opinions are provided on request and are confidential[9].

Legislative Research

The Central Management Unit of the Office of Legislative Services handles all general research and bill drafting for members of the New Jersey Legislature. All bill drafts and resolutions are printed and processed. Also, the Central Management Unit staffs the Senate Rules and Order Committee[10].

Public Information

The Public Information Unit is responsible for coordinating the New Jersey Legislative hotline, bill tracking, publications, handling ceremonial resolutions, media requests, and an in-house reference library[11].

State Auditor

The New Jersey State Auditor's Office which is appointed by the Governor of New Jersey is a division of the Office of Legislative Services. The State Auditor's Office conducts audits on all units of state government in New Jersey including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches[12].

External links

References