New Jersey General Assembly

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New Jersey General Assembly

Seal of New Jersey.png
General Information
Type:   Lower house
Term limits:   None
2014 session start:   January 14, 2014
Website:   Official House Page
Leadership
House Speaker:  Vincent Prieto (D)
Majority Leader:   Louis Greenwald (D)
Minority leader:   Jon Bramnick (R)
Structure
Members:  80
  
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art IV, New Jersey Constitution
Salary:   $49,000/year
Elections
Last Election:  November 5, 2013 (80 seats)
Next election:  November 3, 2015 (80 seats)
Redistricting:  New Jersey Redistricting Commission
The New Jersey General Assembly is the lower house of the New Jersey State Legislature. There are 80 assembly members, two from each of the 40 legislative districts. Each member represents an average of 219,797 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented approximately 210,359 residents.[2]

As of October 2014, New Jersey is one of 13 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

See also: New Jersey State Legislature, New Jersey State Senate, New Jersey Governor

Sessions

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.

2014

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

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.[3]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 10, 2013, to January 13, 2014.

Major issues

The major issue for the Legislature is rebuilding the state after superstorm Sandy. Gun control is also expected to be addressed.[4]

2012

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.

2011

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 12, and remained in session throughout the year.[5]

2010

In 2010, the General Assembly convened on January 12, and remained in session throughout the year.[6]

Role in state budget

See also: New Jersey state budget

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[7][8]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in Augufst.
  2. State agency requests are submitted in October.
  3. Agency hearings are held in November and December.
  4. Public hearings are held in March and June.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the New Jersey State Legislature on or before the fourth Tuesday in February.
  6. The legislature adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
  7. The fiscal year begins July 1.

New Jersey is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[8]

The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is also constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget.[8]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[10]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

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.[11]

Elections

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.[12]

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:[12]

...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.[13]

Total contributions, New Jersey General Assembly
Year Number of candidates Total contributions
2011 215 $25,001,973
2009 205 $25,487,974
2007 204 $26,388,602
2005 212 $23,299,489
2003 233 $15,682,188
2001 218 $12,642,876
1999 216 $13,178,596
1997 138 $7,436,476

2013

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2013

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.

2011

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2011

Elections for the office of the New Jersey General Assembly were held in New Jersey on November 8, 2011. State house seats in all 40 districts were up for election in 2011.

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.

During the 2011 election, the total value of contributions to the 215 Assembly candidates was $25,001,973. The top 10 contributors were:[14]

2009

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2009

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:[15]

2007

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2007

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:[16]

2005

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2005

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:[17]

2003

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2003

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:[18]

2001

See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2001

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:[19]

Qualifications

In order to be a candidate to run for the New Jersey General Assembly, a candidate must:[20]

  • 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.

Vacancies

See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

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.[21]

Redistricting

See also: Redistricting in New Jersey

Redistricting is handled by the bipartisan 10-member New Jersey Redistricting Commission.

2010 census

The State of New Jersey received its local census data on February 3, 2011.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24]

Assemblymen

Salaries

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.[25]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

New Jersey legislators assume office at noon of the second Tuesday in January following the election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state houses
Party As of October 2014
     Democratic Party 48
     Republican Party 32
Total 80

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the New Jersey State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the New Jersey State House.PNG

Leadership

The Speaker of the Assembly is the presiding officer of the body.[26]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, New Jersey General Assembly
Office Representative Party
State Speaker of the Assembly Vincent Prieto Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Gerald Green Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Majority Conference Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly John Wisniewski Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Vacant
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Pamela Lampitt Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Patrick Diegnan, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Gary Schaer Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly L. Grace Spencer Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Shavonda Sumter Electiondot.png Democratic
State Deputy Speaker of the Assembly John Burzichelli Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Joseph Egan Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Giblin Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Reed Gusciora Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Annette Quijano Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore Wayne DeAngelo Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Majority Conference Leader Timothy Eustace Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Parliamentarian Patrick Diegnan, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Majority Whip Herbert Conaway, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Ralph Caputo Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Minority Conference Leader David Rible Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Deputy Minority Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Minority Whip Scott Rumana Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Amy Handlin Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Deputy Minority Leader David Wolfe Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Nancy Munoz Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Anthony Bucco, Jr. Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Minority Leader Caroline Casagrande Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Minority Whip Erik Peterson Ends.png Republican
State House Assistant Minority Whip Jack Ciattarelli Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Parliamentarian Michael Carroll Ends.png Republican

Current members

Current members, New Jersey General Assembly
District Representative Party Assumed Office
1 Samuel Fiocchi Ends.png Republican 2014
1 Bob Andrzejczak Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
2 Vincent Mazzeo Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
2 Chris Brown Ends.png Republican 2012
3 John Burzichelli Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
3 Celeste Riley Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
4 Gabriela Mosquera Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
4 Paul Moriarty Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
5 Gilbert Wilson Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
5 Angel Fuentes Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
6 Louis Greenwald Electiondot.png Democratic 1996
6 Pamela Lampitt Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
7 Herbert Conaway, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic 1998
7 Troy Singleton Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
8 Christopher J. Brown Ends.png Republican 2012
8 Maria Rodriguez-Gregg Ends.png Republican 2014
9 Brian Rumpf Ends.png Republican 2003
9 DiAnne Gove Ends.png Republican 2009
10 Gregory McGuckin Ends.png Republican 2012
10 David Wolfe Ends.png Republican 1992
11 Mary Pat Angelini Ends.png Republican 2008
11 Caroline Casagrande Ends.png Republican 2012
12 Ronald Dancer Ends.png Republican 2012
12 Robert Clifton Ends.png Republican 2012
13 Amy Handlin Ends.png Republican 2006
13 Declan O'Scanlon, Jr. Ends.png Republican 2012
14 Wayne DeAngelo Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
14 Daniel Benson Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
15 Reed Gusciora Electiondot.png Democratic 1996
15 Bonnie Watson Coleman Electiondot.png Democratic 1998
16 Jack Ciattarelli Ends.png Republican 2011
16 Donna Simon Ends.png Republican 2012
17 Joseph Danielsen Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
17 Joseph Egan Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
18 Nancy Pinkin Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
18 Patrick Diegnan, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
19 Craig Coughlin Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
19 John Wisniewski Electiondot.png Democratic 1996
20 Joseph Cryan Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
20 Annette Quijano Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
21 Jon Bramnick Ends.png Republican 2003
21 Nancy Munoz Ends.png Republican 2009
22 Gerald Green Electiondot.png Democratic 1992
22 Linda Stender Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
23 John DiMaio Ends.png Republican 2009
23 Erik Peterson Ends.png Republican 2009
24 Parker Space Ends.png Republican 2013
24 Alison McHose Ends.png Republican 2003
25 Michael Carroll Ends.png Republican 1996
25 Anthony Bucco, Jr. Ends.png Republican 2010
26 BettyLou DeCroce Ends.png Republican 2012
26 Jay Webber Ends.png Republican 2008
27 Mila Jasey Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
27 John McKeon Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
28 Ralph Caputo Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
28 Cleopatra Tucker Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
29 Eliana Pintor Marin Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
29 L. Grace Spencer Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
30 Sean Kean Ends.png Republican 2012
30 David Rible Ends.png Republican 2012
31 Jason O'Donnell Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
31 Charles Mainor Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
32 Vincent Prieto Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
32 Angelica Jimenez Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
33 Raj Mukherji Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
33 Carmelo Garcia Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
34 Thomas Giblin Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
34 Sheila Oliver Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
35 Shavonda Sumter Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
35 Benjie Wimberly Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
36 Marlene Caride Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
36 Gary Schaer Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
37 Gordon Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
37 Valerie Vainieri Huttle Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
38 Timothy Eustace Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
38 Joseph Lagana Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
39 Robert Auth Ends.png Republican 2014
39 Holly Schepisi Ends.png Republican 2012
40 Scott Rumana Ends.png Republican 2008
40 David Russo Ends.png Republican 1990

Standing committees

History

Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, New Jersey
Partisan breakdown of the New Jersey legislature from 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.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of New Jersey, the New Jersey State Senate and the New Jersey House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of New Jersey state government(1992-2013).PNG

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
Chart displaying the partisanship of New Jersey government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

External links

References

  1. census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. census.gov, "Census 2000 PHC-T-2. Ranking Tables for States: 1990 and 2000," accessed May 15, 2014
  3. www.nj.com, "New N.J. Legislature sworn in as Democrats focus on taxes, Hurricane Sandy," accessed January 15, 2014
  4. Wall Street Journal, "Sandy Sets New Agenda for Christie ," January 6, 2013
  5. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
  6. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed July 7, 2014(Archived)
  7. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  9. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  11. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Thicket of State Legislatures, Why do Four States Have Odd-Year Elections?, Aug. 25, 2011
  13. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2011 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
  14. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2011 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
  15. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2009 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2007 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2005 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2003 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "New Jersey General Assembly 2001 Candidates," accessed July 26, 2013
  20. New Jersey Secretary of State, "Partisan Office Candidate Requirements," accessed December 18, 2013
  21. New Jersey Legislature, "New Jersey Constitution," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Section Article IV, Section 4, (1))
  22. Star Ledger, "With release of census data, N.J. Legislature has 60 days to come up with redistricting map," February 3, 2011
  23. 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
  24. NorthJersey.com, "What N.J.'s legislative redistricting means to you," April 19, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2012
  25. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  26. New Jersey Legislature, "New Jersey Assembly Leadership," accessed July 7, 2014