New Jersey Senate

Last updated

New Jersey Senate
New Jersey Legislature
Seal of New Jersey.svg
Term limits
New session started
January 9, 2018
Stephen M. Sweeney (D)
since January 12, 2010
Loretta Weinberg (D)
since January 10, 2012
Teresa Ruiz (D)
since January 9, 2018
Deputy Majority Leader
Paul Sarlo (D)
since January 8, 2008
Thomas Kean, Jr. (R)
since January 8, 2008
Diagram of State Senate 2018 New Jersey.svg
Political groups


Length of term
2 or 4 years
AuthorityArticle IV, New Jersey Constitution
Last election
November 7, 2017
(40 seats)
Next election
November 2, 2021
(40 seats)
Redistricting New Jersey Apportionment Commission
Meeting place
New Jersey State Senate in action, June 2013.JPG
State Senate Chamber
New Jersey State House
Trenton, New Jersey
New Jersey State Legislature

The New Jersey Senate was established as the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature by the Constitution of 1844, replacing the Legislative Council. There are 40 legislative districts, representing districts with average populations of 210,359 (2000 figure). Each district has one senator and two members of the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the legislature. Prior to the election in which they are chosen, senators must be a minimum of 30 years old and a resident of the state for four years to be eligible to serve in office. [1]

An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is usually smaller and often has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, the Canadian Senate, France's Sénat, Germany's Bundesrat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords and the United States Senate.

New Jersey Legislature the legislature of the U.S. state of New Jersey

The New Jersey Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of the U.S. state of New Jersey. In its current form, as defined by the New Jersey Constitution of 1947, the Legislature consists of two houses: the General Assembly and the Senate. The Legislature meets in the New Jersey State House, in the state capital of Trenton. Democrats currently hold super majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

New Jersey Legislative Council historic upper house of the New Jersey Legislature

The New Jersey Legislative Council was the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature under the New Jersey Constitution of 1776 until it was replaced by the New Jersey Senate under the Constitution of 1844.


From 1844 until 1965 (when redistricting could be done following the Reynolds v. Sims decision), each county was an electoral district electing one senator. Under the 1844 Constitution the term of office was three years, which was changed to four years with the 1947 Constitution. Since 1968 the Senate has consisted of 40 senators, who are elected in a "2-4-4" cycle. Senators serve a two-year term at the beginning of each decade, with the rest of the decade divided into two four-year terms. The "2-4-4" cycle was put into place so that Senate elections can reflect the changes made to the district boundaries on the basis of the decennial United States Census. [1] If the cycle were not put into place, then the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date. Thus elections for Senate seats take place in years ending with a "1", "3" or "7" (i.e. next elections in 2021, 2023 and 2027).

Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that the electoral districts of state legislative chambers must be roughly equal in population. Along with Baker v. Carr (1962) and Wesberry v. Sanders (1964), it was part of a series of Warren Court cases that applied the principle of "one person, one vote" to U.S. legislative bodies.

A term of office is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office. In many jurisdictions there is a defined limit on how long terms of office may be before the officeholder must be subject to re-election. Some jurisdictions exercise term limits, setting a maximum number of terms an individual may hold in a particular office.

United States Census Decenial census mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution

The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, which states: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States... according to their respective Numbers.... The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years”. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment states: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State." The United States Census Bureau is responsible for the United States Census. The Bureau of the Census is part of the United States Department of Commerce.

Interim appointments are made to fill vacant legislative seats by the county committee or committees of the party of the vacating person (since a constitutional amendment passed on November 8, 1988). The office is on the ballot for the next general election, even if the other Senate seats are not up for election in that year (such as in years ending with a "5" or "9", such as 2009 or 2015). The sole exception to this is if the vacancy occurred within 51 days of the election, in which case the appointment stands until the following general election. [2]

Senatorial courtesy

Senatorial courtesy is a senate tradition that allows home county legislators to intercede to prevent consideration of a local resident nominated by the Governor for a position that requires Senate confirmation. [3] Any of the senators from the nominee's home county can invoke senatorial courtesy to block a nomination, temporarily or permanently, without any obligation to justify the basis of their actions. [4]

Governor Corzine nominated Stuart Rabner on June 4, 2007, to be the next Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, replacing James R. Zazzali, who was nearing mandatory retirement age. [5] Shortly after the nomination, two members of the Senate from Essex County, where Rabner resides, blocked consideration of his confirmation by invoking senatorial courtesy. State Senator Ronald Rice had initially blocked the nomination, but relented on June 15, 2007, after a meeting with the governor. [6] Nia Gill dropped her block on June 19, 2007, but did not explain the nature of her concerns, though anonymous lawmakers cited in The New York Times indicated that the objection was due to Rabner's race and Governor Corzine's failure to consider a minority candidate for the post. [3]

Stuart Jeff Rabner is the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He has previously served as New Jersey Attorney General, Chief Counsel to Governor Jon Corzine, and as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.

James Ronald Zazzali was the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from October 26, 2006 until his retirement on June 17, 2007. He previously served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from June 14, 2000.

Essex County, New Jersey County in the United States

Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2018 Census estimate, the county's population was 799,767, making it the state's third-most populous county, an increase of 3.1% from the 2010 United States Census, when its population was enumerated at 783,969, in turn a decrease of 1.2% from the 793,633 enumerated in the 2000 census. In 2010, the county dropped down to third-largest, behind Middlesex County, and was one of only two counties in the state to see a decline between 2000 and 2010. Its county seat is Newark, the most populous city in the state. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area.

Also in June 2007, Loretta Weinberg used senatorial courtesy privileges to hold up consideration of a new term in office for Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli. [4]

Loretta Weinberg New Jersey State Senator

Loretta Weinberg is an American Democratic Party politician, who has served as a member of the New Jersey Senate since 2005, where she represents the 37th Legislative District. She currently serves as Senate Majority Leader. Weinberg served in the General Assembly before being selected to replace retiring Senator Byron Baer.

Acting governor

Until 2010, in the event of a gubernatorial vacancy, the New Jersey Constitution had specified that the President of the Senate (followed by the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly) would assume the role of Acting Governor and retain their role in the Senate (or Assembly). An Acting Governor would then assume the governorship while retaining the reins of power in their house of the legislature.[ citation needed ]

The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey took office for the first time on January 19, 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. While the amendment itself took effect as of January 17, 2006, and made some interim changes to the succession to the governorship, the first lieutenant governor was not elected until November 3, 2009.


(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
2016-2017 legislature2416400
2018-2019 legislature2515400
January 28, 2019 [7] [8] 2614400
Latest voting share65%35%

List of state senators

Members of the New Jersey Senate for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are:
Democratic senator
Republican senator NJ State Senate composition 2018.svg
Members of the New Jersey Senate for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are:
  Democratic senator
  Republican senator

Committees and committee chairs

Committee chairs for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are: [10]

List of past Senate Presidents

The following is a list of past Presidents of the New Jersey Senate since the adoption of the 1844 State Constitution: [11]

Past composition of the Senate

Related Research Articles

Richard Codey Member of the New Jersey Senate and Former Governor of New Jersey

Richard James Codey is an American Democratic Party politician who served as the 53rd Governor of New Jersey from 2004 to 2006. He has served in the New Jersey Senate since 1982 and served as the President of the Senate from 2002 to 2010. He represents the 27th Legislative District, which covers the western portions of Essex County and the southeastern portion of Morris County. Codey is the longest-serving state legislator in New Jersey history, having served in the New Jersey Legislature continuously since January 8, 1974.

New Jersey General Assembly lower house of the New Jersey Legislature

The New Jersey General Assembly is the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature.

Joseph Doria American politician

Joseph V. Doria Jr. is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs in the cabinet of Governor Jon Corzine from 2007 until his resignation in July 2009. He is a former Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, State Senator for the 31st Legislative District, and a former Mayor of Bayonne, New Jersey, a position he held from July 1998 to October 2007.

Nia Gill New Jersey State Senator

Nia H. Gill is an American Democratic Party politician, who has been serving in the New Jersey State Senate since 2002, where she represents the 34th Legislative District. She ran unsuccessfully as a candidate in the June 2012 primary election to fill the seat in Congress left vacant by the death of Donald M. Payne, the former U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 10th congressional district. Gill was the State Senate President pro Tempore from 2010 to 2018, succeeded by M. Teresa Ruiz.

Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey

The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is an elected constitutional officer in the executive branch of the state government of New Jersey in the United States. The lieutenant governor is the second highest-ranking official in the state government and is elected concurrently on a ticket with the governor for a four-year term. Because the position itself does not carry any powers or duties other than to be next in the order of succession, the state constitution requires that the lieutenant governor be appointed to serve as the head of a cabinet-level department or administrative agency within the governor's administration.

The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area is a federally designated National Heritage Area encompassing portions of fourteen counties in New Jersey that were the scene of significant actions in the American Revolutionary War in late 1776 through 1778. The designated area covers the Delaware and Hudson valleys in New Jersey and the central portion of the state between the valleys where the Continental Army fought forces under British command. The National Heritage Area includes Morristown National Historical Park and sites associated with the Battle of Monmouth as well as Princeton, New Jersey, the meeting place of the Continental Congress when peace was declared in 1783.

Elections in New Jersey

Elections in New Jersey are authorized under Article II of the New Jersey State Constitution, which establishes elections for the governor, the lieutenant governor, and members of the New Jersey Legislature. Elections are regulated under state law, Title 19. The office of the New Jersey Secretary of State has a Division of Elections that oversees the execution of elections under state law. In addition, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) is responsible for administering campaign financing and lobbying disclosure.

2008 United States House of Representatives elections in New Jersey

The 2008 congressional elections in New Jersey were held on November 4, 2008 to determine who would represent the state of New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives. New Jersey has thirteen seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms; those elected will serve in the 111th Congress from January 4, 2009 until January 3, 2011. The election coincided with the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Annette M. Quijano is an American Democratic Party politician, who was selected by Union County Democrats to fill a vacancy to represent the 20th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly and has since been re-elected three times to her Assembly seat. Quijano succeeded Neil M. Cohen, who resigned on July 28, 2008 amid allegations of child pornography on an official computer.

2009 New Jersey elections

The following offices were up for election in the United States State of New Jersey in the general election on November 3, 2009:

The Vice-President of Council of the New Jersey Legislature would succeed the Governor if a vacancy occurred in that office.

Senatorial courtesy is an unwritten rule practiced in the Senate of the U.S. state of New Jersey under which a State Senator can indefinitely block consideration of a nomination by the Governor of New Jersey for a gubernatorial nominee from the Senator's home county, without being required to provide an explanation. While the practice is infrequently invoked, it has brought calls for legislation that would forbid its use.

New Jersey Legislative Districts, 2011 apportionment

The members of the New Jersey Legislature are chosen from 40 electoral districts. Each district elects one Senator and two Assemblymen.

The 1973 New Jersey State Senate Senate elections coincided with Brendan Byrne's victory in the gubernatorial election. Byrne's large margin of victory over Republican Charles W. Sandman, Jr.—he won by 721,378 votes (66.4%-31.1%) helped Democrats gain 13 seats in the State Senate, giving Democrats control, 29-10, with one Independent. Republicans were also not helped by a divisive primary that saw the incumbent, William Cahill, a moderate, lose to the more conservative Sandman. Cahill barely supported Sandman in the general election. This election marked the first time since 1967 that Democrats controlled the State Senate.

1977 New Jersey State Senate election

The 1977 New Jersey State Senate election coincided with Brendan Byrne's re-election to a second term as Governor of New Jersey.

The 1971 New Jersey State Senate Elections was the mid-term election of Republican William Cahill's term as Governor of New Jersey. Democrats picked up nine Senate seats. Sixteen incumbents did not seek re-election.

New Jersey General Assembly, 2018–19 term

The New Jersey General Assembly is the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature. The 2018–2019 term begins on January 9, 2018 and will end on January 14, 2020. The Assembly members elected to this term were elected on November 7, 2017 and will serve until the end of the next term in 2020. This assembly session was preceded by the 2016–2017 session and will be followed by the 2020–2021 session.


  1. 1 2 Our Legislature, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 10, 2018. "Legislative elections are held in November of each odd-numbered year. Members of the Assembly serve two-year terms. Senators serve four-year terms, except for the first term of a new decade, which is only two years. This '2-4-4' cycle allows for elections from new districts as soon as possible after each reapportionment."
  2. New Jersey Constitution, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 10, 2018. "Any vacancy in the Legislature occasioned otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled by election for the unexpired term only at the next general election occurring not less than 51 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, except that no vacancy shall be filled at the general election which immediately precedes the expiration of the term in which the vacancy occurs. For the interim period pending the election and qualification of a successor to fill the vacancy, or for the remainder of the term in the case of a vacancy occurring which cannot be filled pursuant to the terms of this paragraph at a general election, the vacancy shall be filled within 35 days by the members of the county committee of the political party of which the incumbent was the nominee from the municipalities or districts or units thereof which comprise the legislative district. Article IV, Section IV, paragraph 1 amended effective December 8, 1988."
  3. 1 2 Jones, Richard G. "Senator Drops Objections to Corzine Court Nominee", The New York Times , June 20, 2007. Accessed June 20, 2007. "Senator Gill had delayed Mr. Rabner's confirmation hearing by using "senatorial courtesy" — an obscure practice through which senators who represent the home county of nominees may block consideration of their confirmations."
  4. 1 2 Carmiel, Oshrat. "Deadline looms for Molinelli's job", The Record (Bergen County) , June 20, 2007. Accessed June 20, 2007. "Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli, whose term expired last month, may have to wait until the fall to be considered again for a second term if state Sen. Loretta Weinberg doesn't sign off on his nomination today.... Weinberg is invoking an unwritten practice called senatorial courtesy, which allows state senators to block consideration of gubernatorial nominees from their home counties without explanation. The courtesy tradition, as applied to Molinelli, requires each senator from Bergen County to sign off on his nomination before the Judiciary Committee can consider the nomination."
  5. "Source: Corzine picks Rabner as chief justice, Milgram as AG" [ permanent dead link ], Courier News , May 31, 2007. Accessed May 31, 2007.
  6. Associated Press. "Opposition Ebbs on Corzine Judge", The New York Times , June 15, 2007. Accessed June 20, 2007. "Ronald L. Rice, an Essex County Democrat and state senator, said yesterday that he would no longer block Gov. Jon S. Corzine's nomination for chief justice of the State Supreme Court."
  7. Dawn Addiego (8th) changed party affiliation from Republican to Democratic.
  9. Legislative Roster 2018-2019 Session, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 10, 2018.
  10. New Jersey Legislature Committees and Membership 2018-2019 Legislative Session - Senate Committees, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed February 5, 2018.
  11. Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey. J.A. Fitzgerald. 1977.

Coordinates: 40°13′07″N74°45′51″W / 40.21869°N 74.76429°W / 40.21869; -74.76429