Government - Legislative
Senate and General Assembly make up the legislative
branch. The Senate has 40 members,
and the General Assembly has 80 members.
One senator and two assembly members are elected from each
of the 40 districts of New Jersey. The Senate and Assembly
chambers are located in the State
House in Trenton.
Legislature's main job is to enact laws. The Legislature can
also propose amendments to the New
Senate and General Assembly meet for about 40 sessions a year.
Sessions are held on Mondays and Thursdays. During the rest
of the week, the legislators often hold committee meetings
or public hearings. Since the legislature does not meet year-round,
legislative work is a part-time job. Most legislators have
another job as well.
leader of the Senate is the Senate President. The Speaker of
the General Assembly heads the General Assembly.
President and the Speaker schedule meetings and determine which
bills will be considered within their respective houses. They
also lead the legislative sessions.
legislator may start his or her day with a morning committee
meeting. Around lunchtime, he or she might meet with other
members of his or her political party. On a Monday or Thursday
afternoon, floor sessions are held where debates and votes
on bills are held in public.
both houses work on making and passing laws, the Senate and
Assembly have individual powers, too. The Senate approves the
people that the governor appoints to official positions. The
Assembly is the only group that can bring impeachment charges.
Impeachment is a charge of misconduct against an official.
But the Senate is the court of impeachment in New Jersey, where
the charges are tried. Any bills requiring revenue to be raised
start out in the Assembly. But, by custom, the Senate handles
the state budget.
legislator must live in the district he or she represents.
Senators have to be at least 30 and have to live in New Jersey
for at least four years before they are elected. Members of
the Assembly must be at least 21 and state residents for two
years. Legislators earn $35,000 per year. That salary will
rise to $49,000 in 2002.
is also leadership within the political parties in both houses.
The majority and minority leaders and the assistant leaders
come up with the each party's policies on the issues raised
in the bills. Additionally, there are many committees that
review legislation. Learn more about the role of committees
and the process of making a law in "How
a Bill Becomes a Law."
legislative branch is also made up of a number of staff members.
of Legislative Services provides legal advice and research
to members of both political parties. They also take care of
writing the bills. In addition, each party has its own staff
that performs similar functions, but only for that party. Each
legislator also has his or her own district office with a full