The Governor's rejection of a proposed law passed by
the Legislature. A bill vetoed in this manner cannot become
law unless the Legislature overrides the veto by a vote of at
least two-thirds of the members of each house.
(27 votes in the Senate; 54 votes in the General Assembly)
To refrain from voting either for or against a bill.
AD HOC STUDY COMMITTEE OR COMMISSION A committee or commission established by
law, resolution, or order of the presiding officer to investigate special issues and
make recommendations for legislative or executive agency action.
SINE DIE Literally
adjournment "without a day," it is an adjournment
without definitely fixing a day for reconvening. Since 1970 in New Jersey, it is the final adjournment of the two-year
legislative session and the end of all legislative business.
COMMITTEE A committee
that deals with internal housekeeping functions of the Senate
or General Assembly.
RULES Rules and
regulations issued by state executive branch agencies.
To vote official approval or acceptance.
LAW Advance copy
of each law published and distributed prior to printing of the
AND CONSENT The
power vested in the Senate by the State Constitution to review
and approve or reject the Governor's nominations for judges,
cabinet officers, and other officials.
Appointments are confirmed by an absolute majority vote.
(21 votes in the Senate)
Any modification made or proposed in a bill, resolution
or motion by adding, substituting or deleting language.
TO THE CONSTITUTION A change of the State Constitution proposed by the Legislature and
presented to the voters as a public question on the general
election ballot. If rejected by the voters, the proposal or
a similar one may not be resubmitted to the public for three
The allocation of legislative seats among the legislative
districts according to district population.
A legislative enactment authorizing the expenditure of
public funds for a specific governmental purpose.
(See GENERAL ASSEMBLY)
CLERK (See CLERK
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY)
MINUTES The official
record of the actions of the New Jersey General Assembly. This record is published in an annual volume.
SPEAKER (See SPEAKER
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY)
A legislature composed of two houses.
The New Jersey houses are the Senate and the General
SESSION A two-year
meeting period of a legislative body.
A proposal to establish a new law, or to change or repeal
an existing law.
DRAFTING The writing
of bills and resolutions according to a prescribed form.
STATEMENT A brief
statement printed at the end of a bill or resolution that described
its provision or purpose. It
is also called a "sponsor's statement."
An adjective indicating that a committee or group is
composed of members of both major political parties, or that
an action or idea has support from members of both parties.
A document of proposed governmental expenditures for
a given fiscal year and the proposed means of financing these
MESSAGE A general
description of the proposed annual budget presented by the Governor
before the Legislature and in writing.
(See PARTY CONFERENCE)
RESOLUTION A formal
statement by which a house honors an individual or organization
or pays tribute to the memory of a deceased citizen. Ceremonial resolutions are not subject to the same strict rules
of form and procedure as other resolutions.
The official room or location for meetings of a legislative
LAW Each act passed
by the Legislature and approved by the Governor. Chapter Laws are organized numerically in order
of the Governor's approval and compiled annually.
A certificate issued by a legislator to mark a notable
achievement by an individual or an organization or to offer
a memorial tribute. (See IN-MEMORIAM CERTIFICATE)
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY A person, not a member of the Legislature, who is elected by the
General Assembly to serve as its chief administrative officer. The Clerk's duties include reading all bills
and resolutions on first, second and third reading; recording
the vote on all bills and resolutions; and providing general
supervision over certain employees of the house.
OF LAWS The systematic arrangement of laws.
In New Jersey, chapter laws are codified according to
AIDE A professional
legislative staff member provided by the nonpartisan Office
of Legislative Services or partisan offices, to assist each
committee in administrative, technical and research capacities.
COMMITTEE CHAIR Committee
chairs are chosen by the presiding officers of the respective
Houses and are primarily responsible for overseeing committee
consideration of pending bills. A chair may also direct a review
of activity in any State agency.
COMMITTEE, COMMISSION A
group established by law, resolution or order of the presiding
officer to investigate a particular issue or area and make recommendations
for legislative or administrative action. Committees or commissions are frequently comprised
of legislators of one or both houses, subject area experts or
public members appointed by merit of the positions they hold
in state agencies and private organizations.
REPORT Report issued by
a committee after a meeting indicating all official action taken.
SUBSTITUTE When a standing
reference committee combines several bills that are related
in subject, to broaden or unify the legislation’s intent.
RESOLUTION A resolution
adopted by both the Senate and General Assembly to express the
policy or opinions of the Legislature; often used to petition
Congress to take certain actions; to establish study commissions
composed entirely of legislators or appointees of the presiding
officer, to adopt joint rules; and to propose amendments to
the State Constitution. Requires no action by the Governor.
VETO A veto in which
the Governor objects to parts of a bill and proposes amendments
that would make it acceptable.
If the Legislature re-enacts the bill with the recommended
amendments, it is presented again to the Governor for
OF INTEREST A situation
occurring when an official's private interests may benefit from
his or her public actions.
DISTRICT One of
13 districts in New Jersey from which a congressional representative
is elected. The districts are established by state law
and are redrawn following a decennial census to maintain equal
population in each.
LIST A list of bills
which, by prearrangement of the two parties, are passed without
objection or debate.
A resident of a legislator's district.
A written instrument defining and limiting the duties
and powers of a government and guaranteeing certain rights to
the people who are subject to that government's laws.
New Jersey's first constitution was adopted in 1776,
its present one in 1947.
The sponsor(s) of a bill or resolution in addition to
the prime sponsor.
The formal discussion and argumentation of a matter by
the members of the Senate and General Assembly during a session.
Precise limitations on debate in the New Jersey Legislature
have been set by the rules of each house.
A member of the Democratic Party, one of the two major political
parties in the U.S., which emerged in the late 1820s.
DISTRICT (See LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT)
OFFICES The offices
maintained by legislators in their respective districts for
the purpose of serving their constituents.
The copy of a preliminary bill, not yet officially introduced
IN THE HOPPER" Deliver
bill to House for introduction.
RESOLUTION A motion
used to expedite the passage of legislation by advancing a bill
from second and third reading on the same day.
Requires an affirmative vote of three-fourths of house
membership. (30 votes in the Senate; 60 votes in the General
BRANCH One of the
three branches of government, it is headed by the Governor and
includes the following principal departments: Agriculture; Banking
and Insurance; Community Affairs; Corrections; Education; Environmental
Protection; Health and Senior Services; Human Services; Labor;
Law and Public Safety; Military and Veterans’Affairs;
Personnel; State; Transportation; and Treasury.
Membership on a committee or board by virtue of a particular
office or position held.
Charges incurred, whether paid or unpaid.
REPRINT (SECOND, THIRD, ETC.) The designation that indicates the number of
times that a bill or resolution has been reprinted after being
amended either by committee or floor action.
NOTE A statement
that indicates the anticipated financial impact of proposed
legislation on state or local government.
YEAR An accounting
period of 12 months. In
New Jersey State government, this period runs from July 1 to
The area of the legislative chamber occupied by the members
and staff of the house. A legislator "has the floor" when
he or she has been granted permission by the presiding officer
to address the house.
The area of the legislative chamber from which proceedings
may be viewed by visitors.
ASSEMBLY In New
Jersey, one of the two houses that comprises the state Legislature.
The General Assembly has 80 members - 2 elected from
each legislative district - and is presided over by the Speaker
of the General Assembly.
The act of drawing legislative district boundaries to
gain partisan or factional political advantages.
The Governor is the chief executive officer of the State,
and responsible for oversight of all Executive Branch functions.
GRANDFATHER CLAUSE A
provision within a bill that allows activities, individuals
or groups involved prior to its enactment, to be exempt from
A formal meeting, usually of a committee or commission,
at which testimony on a question or issue is accepted from the
general public and /or invited witnesses.
This term can refer to the room or chamber in which a
legislative body meets, but most often refers to the body itself.
The Senate is one house and the General Assembly another.
UNDER CALL A motion
requiring all members of a house to remain in the legislative
chamber during a voting session until the house concludes its
business. This may be
done to maintain a quorum, or during consideration of an important
The privileges afforded by the Constitution whereby legislators
are exempt from arrest while attending a session or when traveling
to and from a session (except in cases of treason
or high misdemeanor, now classified as a crime of the third
degree or greater); also, the exemption from questioning on
remarks made in speech or debate during a session or committee
CERTIFICATE A certificate
issued by legislators to offer a memorial tribute.
The presentation of a bill or resolution to the legislative
body for its consideration.
It is formally accomplished when the Secretary of the
Senate or Clerk of the General Assembly, in open session, announces
the bill's number and sponsor(s) and reads its title.
RESOLUTION A formal
action adopted by both houses and approved by the Governor. A joint resolution has the effect of a law
and is often used instead of a bill when the purpose is of a
temporary nature, or to establish a commission or express an
SESSION The combined
meeting of the Senate and General Assembly for such purposes
as receiving the Governor's annual "State of the State"
and budget messages and other addresses by the Governor or distinguished
visitors, and to hold special commemorative ceremonies.
Also, the Constitution provides that the two houses meet
in joint session when appointing the State Auditor.
One of the three branches of government, the Judicial Branch,
under the direction of the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme
Court, is responsible for the operation of the State’s court
system and the regulation of attorneys.
A certificate attached to a bill confirming its passage
in one house before being delivered to the second house for
All the official rules and codes that govern citizens’
actions, including the Constitution, statutory laws enacted
by the Legislature, case laws established by court decisions,
and administrative law as set forth by executive branch agencies.
Officers and leaders are elected each legislative year
by members of the two Houses and respective parties. The Senate
elects a President and President Pro Tem and the General Assembly
elects a Speaker and Speaker Pro Tem. Party members within each
house elect a Majority or Minority Leader, Assistant Leaders,
employed by a legislator to perform a variety of duties, including
addressing concerns of constituents, researching and tracking
legislation, and handling administrative functions.
CALENDAR A free
publication listing the date, time, and location for legislative
sessions, committee and commission meetings, and public hearings.
COUNSEL The chief
legal officer of the Legislature and adviser to the legislative
leadership, committees and commissions on matters of parliamentary
procedure and legal matters affecting the Legislature as well
as issues pertaining to the Conflicts of Interest Law and the
Legislative Code of Ethics.
DELEGATION All the
legislators representing one district or county.
DIGEST A publication produced the day after a legislative session containing various
categories of bill status, including bills introduced, bills
passed, and bills signed into law since the last session.
DISTRICT One of
the forty areas in New Jersey from which one senator and two
General Assembly members are elected.
Districts, many of which cross county lines, are established
by a special Apportionment Commission and are of equal population.
INDEX A private publication that provides a cumulative listing
of all bills and resolutions introduced in each House. Includes
the action taken and synopsis of each.
INFORMATION AND BILL ROOM (LIBR) A unit under the Director of Public Information
of the Office of Legislative Services that supplies a variety
of information about the Legislature to legislators and the
LIAISON A person
who represents an executive department before the Legislature
and who assists the Legislature with technical expertise and
information about the department.
MANUAL A private
publication (commonly referred to as the Fitzgerald’s Red Book)
that serves as an almanac of information about the State of
New Jersey and its government, including biographies of present
and former governors, legislators and cabinet officials.
SERVICES COMMISSION A bipartisan panel, comprised of eight members from each house,
that oversees the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services
and coordinates other services for the Legislature, including
legislative facilities, computer services, legislative printing,
the district office program and personnel policies.
The formal two-year term for each New Jersey Legislature.
The term is divided into two annual sessions. (See SESSION YEAR) Scheduled voting meetings of either house are also called legislative
sessions. Voting sessions
(meeting days) of the New Jersey Legislature are usually held
on Mondays and/or Thursdays.
The elected, representative branch of State government
formed by the constitution to make and revise laws, approve
certain executive nominations, and propose constitutional changes.
with the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor serves as Governor
in the event of death, resignation or removal of the elected Governor
until a new Governor is elected. The Lieutenant Governor also
serves as Governor if the Governor is out of the state or is unable
to discharge the duties of the office. The Governor appoints the
Lieutenant Governor to serve as the head of a principal department
or other executive or administrative agency of State government,
or delegates duties of the office of Governor, or both.
VETO Applying only
to bills containing an appropriation, this veto action allows
the Governor to approve the bill but reduce or eliminate monies
appropriated for specific items.
A person who communicates with the Legislature and the
Governor to support or oppose legislation. Officially, a lobbyist
is called a legislative agent.
MINORITY These terms
refer to the political party having the most (majority) or fewest
(minority) representatives in either house.
LEADER The floor
leader of the majority party in each house, elected by the members
of the majority party.
LEADER The floor
leader of the minority party in each house, elected by the members
of the minority party.
A proposal calling for specific action.
Without political affiliation.
OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES An agency of the Legislature established by law to provide professional,
non-partisan staff services to the Legislature and its officers,
members, commissions and committees.
These services include general, legal and fiscal research
and analysis, bill drafting committee staffing, and computer
data base management.
RESOLUTION A resolution
adopted by one house to express policy or opinions, regulate
its internal organization or procedures, or establish a study
committee under its sole jurisdiction.
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (OPRA)
Law which defines the publics’ right to access government
DAY The second
Tuesday in January marks the official beginning of each annual
LAWS The official
name of the collection of New Jersey’s Chapter Laws. (See CHAPTER
A person skilled in
parliamentary rules, practice, and/or debate, who advises House
members as to the proper procedures for the conduct of legislative
PARTISAN STAFF Staff
members who serve under the direction of the majority and minority
leadership to provide research, policy, public relations and
administrative services to their respective party leaders and
CONFERENCE A meeting
of party members from one house of the Legislature to discuss
legislative business. Also
called a caucus.
PRIVILEGE The parliamentary
procedure whereby members of both houses have the opportunity
to express their feelings regarding the “safety, dignity, and
integrity” of the proceedings or the “rights, reputation and
conduct of members” by gaining recognition from the presiding
VETO The only type
of veto in which the Governor does not return the bill to the
Legislature for a possible vote to override.
This veto applies only to bills passed within the last
10 days of a 2-year legislative session.
The Governor, in essence, “pockets” the bill.
OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS The process whereby members and members-elect
the Legislature may file bills and resolutions for introduction
in the new annual legislative session before that session begins.
The pre-filing period runs from November 15 to the first
Tuesday in January, according to the Joint Rules of the Senate
and General Assembly. Bills
and resolutions filed in this way are numbered, printed and
available for distribution prior to the start of the new session. Formal introduction occurs after the session is commenced, at either
the first or second meeting of the house.
OF THE SENATE A
legislator, elected by members of the Senate to serve as the
chief presiding officer during sessions, who appoints committee
chairs and members of committees and commissions, refers bills
and resolutions to reference committees, sets the agenda for
session days, and supervises the administration of the day-to-day
business of the Senate.
OR SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE (PRO TEM) A member of the Senate or General Assembly
who is elected to serve as that house’s presiding officer in
the absence of the President or Speaker.
OFFICERS The highest-ranking legislative leadership
and administrative positions in the two Houses. The Senate elects
a President, and the General Assembly a Speaker.
SPONSOR The legislator
whose name appears first among the sponsors of a bill or resolution.
The prime sponsor has the right to select co-sponsors
and may exercise a number of other prerogatives in regard to
the proposed legislation.
The minimum number of members of a house of the Legislature
who must be present for the house to conduct business.
(21 members in the Senate; 41 members in the General
CALL A roll call
to determine whether a quorum of that house is present.
The reading of a bill’s number, sponsor(s) and title
in open session by the Senate Secretary or Assembly Clerk.
A bill must be read three times before it can be passed. A bill is given first reading upon introduction, second reading
when reported by a committee (or may be sent directly to second
reading without committee reference), and third reading when
posted for a final vote.
The redrawing of the state legislative districts by an
Apportionment Commission to maintain an equal population in
each district. New Jersey’s
districts are reapportioned every ten years following the federal
A temporary break during a floor session or a period
when no legislative sessions are held.
The redrawing of congressional districts, usually following
a new population census, to maintain an equal population in
A member of the Republican Party, one of the two major political
parties in the U.S., which was originally organized by Thomas
Jefferson, and reorganized in 1854.
To annul or undo a previously taken action.
An action of the Legislature that expresses the policies,
sentiment, opinions or direction of one or both houses. Types
include joint, concurrent, ceremonial, and one-house resolutions.
Income from taxes, fees, fines, federal grants and other
CALL VOTE The recording
of each member’s vote, usually electronically. Roll call votes are also known as recorded
or machine votes.
BUSINESS A period
during a daily legislative session, usually after all voting
is concluded, when the Secretary/Clerk records and reads bill
introductions, committee reports and takes administrative actions.
OF THE HOUSES Rules
established independently by each house to regulate its internal
organization, operation and procedures.
Houses also adopt joint rules to govern matters of mutual
OF THE SENATE A
person, not a member of the Legislature, who is elected by the
Senate to serve as its chief administrative officer.
The Secretary’s duties include reading all bills and
resolutions on first, second and third reading; recording the
vote on all bills and resolutions; and providing general supervision
over certain employees of the house.
COMMITTEE A legislative
committee established for a limited period that may be created
by either house and may include members of one or both houses
to study a specific subject area.
In New Jersey, one of the two houses that comprises the
state Legislature. The Senate has 40 members - 1 elected from
each legislative district - and is presided over by the President
of the Senate.
JOURNAL The official
record of the actions of the New Jersey Senate.
PRESIDENT (See PRESIDENT
OF THE SENATE)
SECRETARY (See SECRETARY
OF THE SENATE)
the custom in the advice and consent process whereby the Senator
from a nominee’s county must approve the nominee before the
nomination will be considered by the Senate.
A member of the session day staff under the jurisdiction
of the Secretary of the Senate or Clerk of the General Assembly
who assists in maintaining the security and decorum of the house.
(See LEGISLATIVE SESSION)
DAY STAFF Part-time
personnel, including sergeants-at-arms, clerks, supervisors
of bills, and pages, who perform functions related to the conduct
of a session.
YEAR New Jersey’s
session year begins on the second Tuesday of each January. All business conducted during the first year
of the two-year legislative session may be continued into the
second year, but unfinished business expires at the end of the
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY A member of the General Assembly who is elected by the members of
the house to serve as the chief presiding officer during sessions,
who appoints committee chairs and members of committees and
commissions, refers bills and resolutions to reference committees,
sets the agenda for session days, and supervises the administration
of the day-to-day business of the General Assembly.
A legislator who introduces a bill or resolution.
REFERENCE COMMITTEES Committees established by each house to consider bills and resolutions
referred by the presiding officer and to review activities of
HOUSE New Jersey’s
capitol building, located on State Street in the City of Trenton,
which is the official location of the State government. It houses both the executive (Governor’s offices)
and legislative branches (Senate and General Assembly chambers
HOUSE ANNEX The
building adjacent to the State House. It houses the Office of Legislative Services, legislative offices
and committee rooms.
HOUSE PRESS CORPS Media
representatives of daily and weekly New Jersey newspapers, national
news wire services and area radio and television stations who
cover legislative news. Most
have offices in the State House complex. Regular capitol reporters are known as “legislative correspondents.”
The laws created by acts of the Legislature.
THE CLOCK" An
infrequently used strategy on the morning of the end of the
annual legislative session, which occurs at noon on the second
Tuesday in January of each even-numbered year, whereby the proceedings
continue past noon but the journal indicates occurrence of the
action on the final legislative day.
SUBSTITUTE BILL (FLOOR) During a voting session, a
bill is substituted by an identical bill from the other House
which is further along in the legislative process, allowing
for speedier final passage.
To defer action on legislation.
OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE" During debate, a legislator’s way of referring to members of the
“other” political party. The phrase pertains to the custom of seating
all Democrats in one area of the legislative chamber and Republicans
in another, separated by an aisle.
A legislature composed of one-house, e.g. the Nebraska
An official action of the Governor to nullify legislative
action. Forms include absolute veto, conditional veto, line item veto and
VETO MESSAGE The Governor’s comments
explaining reasons for vetoing a bill and setting conditions
VOTE A method of
voting in which individual votes are not recorded, but instead
the members respond orally, in unison, to vote yes or no.
A legislator who assists the party floor leader in maintaining
party discipline and ensuring attendance at legislative sessions
and committee meetings.