The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) operates under
the jurisdiction of the Legislative Services Commission,
a 16-member bipartisan panel with equal representation from
each house. The commission establishes general operating
and budgetary policies for OLS, appoints its primary officers
(executive director, legislative counsel, legislative budget
and finance officer and director of public information)
and delegates authority for day-to-day operations and personnel
actions to the executive director. As nonpartisan employees
of the Legislature, members of the OLS staff are prohibited
from engaging in political activity or taking a public position
with regard to any matter before the Legislature.
Type of Services
The Office of Legislative Services is an agency of the Legislature
established by law to provide professional, nonpartisan
staff support services to the Legislature and its officers,
members, committees and commissions. The services which
are available include:
and fiscal research and analysis
ceremonial resolution drafting
fiscal note preparation
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bills and legislative documents
Nature of Assistance
By law, all communications
between legislators and OLS are confidential. The Office
will not disclose to a third party the nature of an assignment
nor the name of the legislator requesting the information
or research unless so authorized by the legislator. Similarly,
drafts of bills and other research products will not be
released except upon specific direction of the legislator.
The Office has no authority
to formulate legislative policy and may only undertake bill
drafting or research assignments upon the initiative of
a legislator or committee. In assisting a legislator in
the preparation of a bill, OLS will provide guidance for
technical form and may offer suggestions as to content and
legal or constitutional issues, but the final decision regarding
the bill's substantive provisions rests with the legislator.
Requests for Assistance
While a legislator may contact
any member of the OLS staff for assistance, the Office recommends
that requests for research and bill drafting be made directly
to the Central Management Unit (609-847-3880). Requests
for other services should be directed to the appropriate
OLS unit as described in this directory. For information
concerning committee activities, a legislator should contact
the committee aide.
Although OLS does not provide
research assistance to the general public, it does maintain
a toll-free information service in New Jersey (800-792-8630)
through which the public (as well as legislators) may inquire
as to the status of a bill, the calendar of events, legislative
rosters, legislative procedures and other general information.
For Hearing Impaired users: Dial 711 for NJ Relay. The Office
will also assist other State and local government agencies
to the extent that resources allow.
Organization of the Office
As a result of a 1986 reorganization,
the separate divisions that housed the legal, research and
fiscal functions were eliminated and the three staffs were
integrated within ten sections organized by subject area.
These sections report through the Central Management Unit
to the Executive Director. Other OLS functions are established
in units: Legislative Counsel, Legislative Budget and Finance,
Public Information, Administrative, Data Management, Human
Resources, and the Office of the State Auditor.
The Office of Legislative
Services is housed in the State House Annex, except for
the Office of the State Auditor, which is located at 125
South Warren Street in Trenton.