Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey
- See also: Current Lieutenant Governors
Under Article V, Section I, paragraph 4, officailly amended on January 17, 2006:
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be elected conjointly and for concurrent terms by the legally qualified voters of this State...
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Candidates for lieutenant governor must be:
- at least 30 years old
- a U.S. citizen for at least 20 years
- a resident of New Jersey for at least seven years
No lieutenant governor shall hold office in any other state or under the federal government, nor shall a sitting lieutenant governor be elected to any legislative seat. Lieutenant Governors who accept any state or federal position or profit are considered to have vacated their seat.
New Jersey belongs to the handful of states that hold off-year elections, that is, elections in off-numbered years that are neither Presidential nor midterm years. In New Jersey's case, elections are held in the year after a Presidential and before a midterm; thus, 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2021 are all lieutenant gubernatorial election years. Legally, the inauguration is always held the third Tuesday in the January after an election. Thus, January 21, 2014 and January 16, 2018 are inaugural days.
The New Jersey Lieutenant Governor took office for the first time in January 2010 following conjoint election with the governor of New Jersey. The position was created as the result of a Constitutional amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution passed by the voters on November 8, 2005 and effective as of January 17, 2006.
The Governor shall appoint the Lieutenant Governor to serve as the head of a principal department or other executive or administrative agency of State government, or delegate to the Lieutenant Governor duties of the office of Governor, or both. The Governor shall not appoint the Lieutenant Governor to serve as Attorney General. The Lieutenant Governor shall in addition perform such other duties as may be provided by law. (Article V, Section I, paragraph 10)
Need for a Lt. Governor
Justifications for the creation of a lieutenant governor position focused on three primary issues:
- Unelected / Non-representative Successor - The Senate president is chosen by the members of the New Jersey Senate, and was not elected by voters statewide to be a potential gubernatorial successor, those eligible to become senate president are elected to the senate by the voters in only one of the forty legislative districts statewide.
- Separation of Powers - In a state with an extremely powerful position of Governor, having the senate president assume the role of "Acting Governor" is a breach of the separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches.
- Political party disparity - There is no guarantee that the senate president (or the lieutenant governor) will follow the legislative platform of his predecessor. As the senate president may not even be from the same party, there is even greater concern that the policies of the "Acting Governor" might be in conflict with those of the preceding governor.
New line of succession
The amendment provides a new order of succession:
In the event of a vacancy in the office of Governor resulting from the death, resignation or removal of a Governor in office, or the death of a Governor-elect, or from any other cause, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor, until a new Governor is elected and qualifies.
In the event of simultaneous vacancies in both the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor resulting from any cause, the President of the Senate shall become Governor until a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies. In the event that there is a vacancy in the office of Senate President, or the Senate President declines to become Governor, then the Speaker of the General Assembly shall become Governor until a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies. In the event that there is a vacancy in the office of Speaker of the General Assembly, or if the Speaker declines to become Governor, then the functions, powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve for the time being upon such officers and in the order of succession as may be provided by law, until a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies. (Article V, Section I, paragraph 6)
Details of vacancies are addressed under Article V, Section I, paragraph 5.
The President Pro Tem of the Senate is the first to succeed if the governor's and lieutenant governor's chairs are simultaneously vacant. Second in line is the Speaker of the Assembly. Any officer serving as an Acting Lieutenant Governor holds the office until an election is held and has the full powers of the office.
A special election will be called to fill the office at the next general election, unless that election is less than 60 days away, in which case the office will be filled the second general election. Additionally, no special election may be scheduled in a year when the lieutenant governor's office would be elected anyway.
The Constitution requires that the Governor appoint the Lieutenant Governor to head at least one principle department or agency, though that position may not be the Attorney General's office.
She has such other responsibilities and duties as the Governor shall assign.
The lieutenant governor's pay is set by law and may not be increased or diminished effective during the current term.
As of 2010, the lieutenant governor is paid $141,00 a year, the 4th highest lieutenant gubernatorial salary in America.
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
- No official website.
Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia.