New Jersey State Senate
|New Jersey State Senate|
|2013 session start:||January 10, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Stephen Sweeney, (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Loretta Weinberg (D)|
|Minority leader:||Thomas Kean, (R)|
| Democratic Party (24) |
Republican Party (16)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art Article IV, New Jersey Constitution|
|Last Election:||November 8, 2011 (40 seats)|
|Next election:||November 5, 2013 (40 seats)|
|Redistricting:||New Jersey Redistricting Commission|
Article IV of the New Jersey Constitution establishes when the New Jersey State Legislature, of which the Senate 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 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 10 to a date to be determined.
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 Senate began its legislative session on January 10.
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 12 through a date to be determined by the Legislature. 
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 senate in New Jersey in past years and the cumulative amount of campaign contributions in state senate races, including contributions in both primary and general election contests. All figures come from Follow The Money.
|Total contributions, New Jersey State Senate|
|Year||Number of candidates||Total contributions|
- See also: New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011
|2011 Donors, New Jersey State Senate|
|Senate Republican Majority of New Jersey||$1,079,798|
|Whelan for Senate Cooper & Tyner for Assembly||$716,500|
|New Jersey Republican Party||$471,297|
|Union City First||$245,323|
|New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters||$209,200|
|Cmte to Elect Lesniak Cryan & Quijano||$198,225|
|New Jersey Association of Realtors||$156,550|
|New Jersey State Laborers||$135,800|
|New Jersey Education Association||$134,100|
|New Jersey Automobile Dealers Assocation||$122,893|
As of the 2000 Census, New Jersey's 40 state senators each represented an average population of 210,359 people. In 2007, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $30,156,484 in campaign contributions.
The top 10 donors were:
|2007 Donors, New Jersey State Senate|
|Senate Democratic Majority of New Jersey||$2,274,904|
|Union City First||$870,637|
|Choice for Change||$461,800|
|Hudson County Democratic Organization||$409,971|
|New Jersey Republican Party||$291,187|
|New Jersey Democratic Party||$275,591|
|Manzo, Louis M||$224,293|
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
There are two ways to fill an vacancy in the Senate. If the vacancy happens in legislative session, a special election must be called 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.
Senators must be 30 years of age or older, have lived in the state for a minimum of four years, and have lived in the district they represent.
- 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 senates
|Party||As of May 2013|
At the organizational meeting, the Senate elects a President, President pro tempore, and Secretary, with each requiring 21 or more votes for approval. The Senate then appoints by resolution the other officers.
List of current members
Standing senate committees
The New Jersey Senate has 16 standing committees:
- Budget and Appropriations (Budget Hearings Only) Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Budget and Appropriations Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Commerce Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Community and Urban Affairs Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Economic Growth Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Education Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Environment Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Judiciary Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Labor Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Legislative Oversight Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee, New Jersey State Senate
- Senate Rules and Order Committee, New Jersey Senate
- State Government Committee, New Jersey Senate
- Transportation Committee, New Jersey Senate
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the New Jersey State Senate for the first 10 years and the Republicans were the majority for the last 10 years.
Across the country, there were 544 Democratic and 517 Republican State Senates from 1992-2013.
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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- ↑ Population in 2010 of the American states
- ↑ Population in 2000 of the American states
- ↑ Wall Street Journal, "Sandy Sets New Agenda for Christie ," January 6, 2013
- ↑ 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
- ↑ 2010 session dates for New Jersey Legislature
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Thicket of State Legislatures, Why do Four States Have Odd-Year Elections?, Aug. 25, 2011
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Follow the Money, "New Jersey State Senate 2011 Campaign Contributions"
- ↑ Follow the Money: "New Jersey Senate 2007 Campaign Contributions"
- ↑ New Jersey Legislature "New Jersey Constitution"(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 Senate 2010 Rules
- ↑ New Jersey Senate leadership
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