New Jersey Senate

New Jersey Senate
New Jersey State Senate
New Jersey State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Type Upper House
Term limits None
New session started January 12, 2011
President of the Senate Stephen M. Sweeney, (D)
since January 12, 2010
President Pro Tempore Nia Gill, (D)
since January 12, 2010
Majority Leader Barbara Buono, (D)
since January 12, 2010
Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., (R)
since January 8, 2008
Members 40
Political groups Democratic Party (24)
Republican Party (16)
Length of term 4 years
Authority Article IV, New Jersey Constitution
Salary $49,000/year
Last election November 8, 2011
(40 seats)
Next election November 5, 2013
(40 seats)
Redistricting Legislative Control
Meeting place
New Jersey Senate floor.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. From 1844 until 1965 New Jersey's counties elected one Senator, each. Under the 1844 Constitution the term of office was three years. The 1947 Constitution changed the term to four years. Since 1968 it has consisted of 40 Senators, who are elected in a "2-4-4" cycle, representing districts with average populations of 210,359 (2000 figures). 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. (If the cycle were not put into place, then the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date).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 2011, 2013 and 2017).

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), unless the vacancy occurred within 51 days of the election. Then the appointment stands until the following general election.


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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[1]

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.[2]

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.


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 23 17 40 0
Begin 23 17 40 0
March 1, 2010[5] 16 39 1
March 15, 2010[6] 17 40 0
October 18, 2010[7] 16 39 1
November 22, 2010[8] 24 40 0
Latest voting share 60.0% 40.0%


The leadership for the 214th legislative session, which started on January 12, 2010, is as follows:

List of New Jersey State Senators (by District)

  Democratic senator
  Republican senator

Committee Chairs

  • Budget and Appropriations - Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen)
  • Commerce - Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex)
  • Community and Urban Affairs - Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May)
  • Economic Growth - Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union)
  • Education - Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex)
  • Environment - Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex)
  • Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens - Sen. Loretta Weinberg
  • Judiciary - Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Union)
  • Labor - Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester)
  • Law and Public Safety - Sen. John Girgenti (D-Passaic)
  • Legislative Oversight - Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex)
  • Military and Veterans Affairs - Sen. James Beach (D-Camden)
  • State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation - Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic)
  • Transportation - Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson)

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:[9]

  • 1845-1848: John C. Smallwood, Gloucester
  • 1849-1850: Ephraim March, Morris
  • 1851: Silas D. Canfield, Passaic
  • 1852: John Manners, Hunterdon
  • 1853-1856: William C. Alexander, Mercer
  • 1857-1858: Henry V. Speer, Middlesex
  • 1859: Thomas H. Herring, Bergen
  • 1860: Charles L. C. Gifford, Essex
  • 1861: Edmund Perry, Hunterdon
  • 1862: Joseph T. Crowell, Union
  • 1863: Anthony Reckless, Monmouth
  • 1864: Amos Robbins, Middlesex
  • 1865: Edward W. Scudder, Mercer
  • 1866: James M. Scovel, Camden
  • 1867: Benjamin Buckley, Passaic
  • 1868-1869: Henry S. Little, Monmouth
  • 1870: Amos Robbins
  • 1871-1872: Edward Bettle, Camden
  • 1873-1875: John W. Taylor, Essex
  • 1876: William J. Sewell, Camden
  • 1877: Leon Abbett, Hudson
  • 1878: George C. Ludlow, Middlesex
  • 1879-1880: William J. Sewell
  • 1881-1882: Garret Hobart, Passaic
  • 1883: John J. Gardner, Atlantic
  • 1884: Benjamin A. Vail, Union
  • 1885: Abraham V. Schenck, Middlesex
  • 1886: John W. Griggs, Passaic
  • 1887: Frederick S. Fish, Essex
  • 1888: George H. Large, Hunterdon
  • 1889: George T. Werts, Morris
  • 1890: Henry M. Nevius, Monmouth
  • 1891-1893: Robert Adrain, Middlesex
  • 1894: Maurice A. Rogers, Camden
  • 1895: Edward C. Stokes, Cumberland
  • 1896: Lewis A. Thompson, Somerset (resigned March 30)
  • 1896-1897: Robert Williams, Passaic
  • 1898: Foster M. Voorhees, Union (became Acting Governor February 1)
  • 1898: William H. Skirm (pro tem), Mercer
  • 1899: Charles A. Reed, Somerset
  • 1900: William M. Johnson, Bergen
  • 1901: Mahlon Pitney, Morris
  • 1902: C. Asa Francis, Monmouth
  • 1903: Elijah C. Hutchinson, Mercer
  • 1904: Edmund W. Wakelee, Bergen
  • 1905: Joseph Cross, Union (resigned March 30)
  • 1905-1906: William J. Bradley, Camden
  • 1907: Bloomfield H. Minch, Cumberland
  • 1908: Thomas J. Hillery, Morris
  • 1909: Samuel K. Robbins, Burlington (resigned April 16)
  • 1909-1910: Joseph S. Frelinghuysen, Somerset
  • 1911: Ernest R. Ackerman, Union
  • 1912: John Dyneley Prince, Passaic
  • 1913: James F. Fielder, Hudson (became Acting Governor March 1)
  • 1913: James A. C. Johnson (pro tem), Bergen
  • 1914: John W. Slocum, Monmouth
  • 1915: Walter E. Edge, Atlantic
  • 1916: William T. Read, Camden (resigned March 29)
  • 1916-1917: George W. F. Gaunt, Gloucester
  • 1918: Thomas F. McCran, Passaic
  • 1919: William N. Runyon, Union
  • 1920: Clarence E. Case, Somerset
  • 1921: Collins B. Allen, Salem
  • 1922: William B. Mackay, Jr., Bergen
  • 1923: Joseph F. Wallworth, Camden
  • 1924: Firman M. Reeves, Cumberland
  • 1925: William H. Bright, Cape May
  • 1926: Morgan F. Larson, Middlesex
  • 1927: Francis B. Davis, Gloucester
  • 1928: William A. Stevens, Monmouth
  • 1929: Thomas A. Mathis, Ocean
  • 1930: Arthur N. Pierson, Union
  • 1931: Joseph G. Wolber, Essex
  • 1932: A. Crozer Reeves, Mercer
  • 1933: Emerson Lewis Richards, Atlantic
  • 1934: Clifford R. Powell, Burlington
  • 1935: Horace G. Prall, Hunterdon
  • 1936: John C. Barbour, Passaic (resigned June 26)
  • 1936-1937: Frank Durand, Monmouth
  • 1938: Charles E. Loizeaux, Union
  • 1939: Robert C. Hendrickson, Gloucester
  • 1940: Arthur F. Foran, Hunterdon
  • 1941-1942: I. Grant Scott, Cape May
  • 1943: George H. Stanger, Cumberland
  • 1944: Howard Eastwood, Burlington (resigned August 31)
  • 1944: George H. Stanger
  • 1945: Frank S. Farley, Atlantic
  • 1946: Haydn Proctor, Monmouth
  • 1947: Charles K. Barton, Passaic
  • 1948: John M. Summerill, Jr., Salem
  • 1949: David Van Alstyne, Bergen
  • 1950: Samuel L. Bodine, Hunterdon
  • 1951: Alfred B. Littell, Sussex
  • 1952: Harold W. Hannold, Gloucester
  • 1953: David Young III, Morris
  • 1954: W. Steelman Mathis, Ocean
  • 1955: Bruce A. Wallace, Camden
  • 1956: Wayne Dumont, Jr., Warren
  • 1957: Albert McCay, Burlington
  • 1958: Richard R. Stout, Monmouth
  • 1959: Wesley L. Lance, Hunterdon
  • 1960: George B. Harper, Sussex
  • 1961: Thomas J. Hillery, Morris
  • 1962: Robert C. Crane, Union (resigned January 9)
  • 1962: Frank S. Farley
  • 1963: William E. Ozzard, Somerset
  • 1964-1965: Charles W. Sandman, Cape May
  • 1966: John A. Lynch, Sr., 7th District
  • 1967: Sido L. Ridolfi, 6th District
  • 1968: Edwin B. Forsythe, 4B District
  • 1969: Frank X. McDermott, 9th District
  • 1970-1972: Raymond Bateman, 8th District
  • 1973: Alfred N. Beadleston, 5th District
  • 1974-1975: Frank J. Dodd, 26th District
  • 1976-1977: Matthew Feldman, 37th District
  • 1978-1981: Joseph P. Merlino, 13th District
  • 1982-1986: Carmen A. Orechio, 30th District
  • 1986-1990: John F. Russo, 10th District
  • 1990-1991: John A. Lynch, Jr., 17th District
  • 1992-2002: Donald DiFrancesco, 22nd District
  • 2002-2003: John O. Bennett, 12th District and Richard Codey, 27th District (co-presidents)
  • 2004-2008: Richard Codey (resigned January 7, 2008)
  • 2008: Bernard Kenny, 33rd District (served January 7 to January 8)
  • 2008-2010: Richard Codey
  • 2010–present: Stephen M. Sweeney, 3rd District


  1. ^ a b 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."
  2. ^ a b 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."
  3. ^ "Source: Corzine picks Rabner as chief justice, Milgram as AG", Courier News, May 31, 2007. Accessed May 31, 2007.
  4. ^ 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."
  5. ^ Republican Bill Baroni (District 14) resigned
  6. ^ Republican Tom Goodwin appointed to replace Baroni
  7. ^ Republican Phil Haines (District 8) resigned after being appointed to the Burlington County Supreme Court
  8. ^ Democrat Linda R. Greenstein sworn in to replace appointed Senator Goodwin. Republican Dawn Marie Addiego appointed to replace Haines.
  9. ^ Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey. J.A. Fitzgerald. 1977. 

External links

Coordinates: 40°13′07″N 74°45′51″W / 40.21869°N 74.76429°W / 40.21869; -74.76429

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