SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 71

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 27, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  PETER J. BARNES, III

District 18 (Middlesex)

Senator  RAYMOND J. LESNIAK

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Proposes constitutional amendment to provide for elected Attorney General.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


A Concurrent Resolution proposing to amend Articles II, IV and V of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey to make the office of the Attorney General elective.

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

     1.    The following proposed amendments to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey are agreed to:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

 

     a.    Amend Article II, Section 1 of paragraph 1, to read as follows:

     1.    General elections shall be held annually on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November; but the time of holding such elections may be altered by law.  The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and members of the Legislature shall be chosen at general elections.  Local elective officers shall be chosen at general elections or at such other times as shall be provided by law.

(cf: Art. II, Sec. I, par. 1, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     b.    Amend Article IV, Section V, paragraph 1, to read as follows:

     1.    No member of the Senate or General Assembly, during the term for which the member shall have been elected, shall be nominated, elected or appointed to any State civil office or position, of profit, which shall have been created by law, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased by law, during such term.  The provisions of this paragraph shall not prohibit the election of any person as Governor, as Lieutenant Governor, as Attorney General, or as a member of the Senate or General Assembly.

(cf: Art. IV, Sec. V, par. 1, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     c.    Amend Article V, Section I, paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, to read as follows:

     2.    The Governor and Attorney General shall be not less than thirty years of age, and each such officer shall have been for at least twenty years a citizen of the United States, and a resident of this State seven years next before election to the respective office, unless [the Governor] such officer shall have been absent during that time on the public business of the United States or of this State.  A person shall be eligible for the office of Lieutenant Governor only if eligible under this Constitution for the office of Governor.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 2, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     3.    No member of Congress or person holding any office or position, of profit, under this State or the United States shall be Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General.  If the Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General, or person administering the office of Governor or Attorney General shall accept any other office or position, of profit, under this State or the United States, the office of Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General, as the case may be, shall thereby be vacated.  No Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General shall be elected by the Legislature to any office during the term for which [the person] that officer shall have been elected Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General, as the case may be.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 3, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     4. a. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be elected conjointly and for concurrent terms by the legally qualified voters of this State, and the manner of election shall require each voter to cast a single vote for both offices.  The candidate of each political party for election to the office of Lieutenant Governor shall be selected by the candidate of that party nominated for election to the office of Governor.  The selection of the candidate for election to the office of Lieutenant Governor shall be made within 30 days following the nomination of the candidate for election to the office of Governor.  A person shall not seek election to both offices simultaneously.  The joint candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be elected; but if two or more joint candidacies shall be equal and greatest in votes, one set of joint candidates shall be elected by the vote of a majority of all the members of both houses in joint meeting at the regular legislative session next following the election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor by the people.  Contested elections for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be determined in such manner as may be provided by law.

     b.    The Attorney General shall be elected to serve for concurrent terms with the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor by the legally qualified votes of this State.  A person shall not seek election to more than one of these offices simultaneously.  The candidate for Attorney General receiving the greatest number of votes shall be elected; but if two or more candidates for Attorney General shall be equal and greatest in votes, one candidate shall be elected by the vote of a majority of all the members of both houses in joint meeting at the regular legislative session next following the election.  Contested elections for the office of Attorney General shall be determined in such manner as may be provided by law. 

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 4, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     5.    The [term] terms of office of the Governor [and of the], Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General shall be four years, beginning at noon of the third Tuesday in January next following their election, and ending at noon of the third Tuesday in January four years thereafter.  No person who has been elected Governor or Attorney General for two successive terms, including an unexpired term, shall again be eligible for [that] the same office until the third Tuesday in January of the fourth year following the expiration of the second such successive term.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 5, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     6. a. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Governor resulting from the death, resignation or removal of a Governor in office, or the death of a Governor-elect, or from any other cause, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor, until a new Governor is elected and qualifies.

     In the event of simultaneous vacancies in both the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor resulting from any cause, the President of the Senate shall become Governor until a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies.  In the event that there is a vacancy in the office of Senate President, or the Senate President declines to become Governor, then the Speaker of the General Assembly shall become Governor until a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies.  In the event that there is a vacancy in the office of Speaker of the General Assembly, or if the Speaker declines to become Governor, then the functions, powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve for the time being upon such officers and in the order of succession as may be provided by law, until a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies.

     b.    In the event of a vacancy in the office of the Attorney General resulting from any of the causes enumerated above, the functions, powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve as shall be provided by law, until a new Attorney General shall be elected and qualifies.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 6, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     7.    a. In the event of the failure of the Governor-elect to qualify, or of the absence from the State of a Governor in office, or the Governor's inability to discharge the duties of the office, or the Governor's impeachment, the functions, powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve upon the Lieutenant Governor, until the Governor-elect qualifies, or the Governor in office returns to the State, or is no longer unable to discharge the duties of the office, or is acquitted, as the case may be, or until a new Governor is elected and qualifies.  In the event that the Lieutenant Governor in office is absent from the State, or is unable to discharge the duties of the office, or is impeached, or if the Lieutenant Governor-elect fails to qualify, or if there is a vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor, the functions, powers, duties, and emoluments of the office of Governor shall devolve upon the President of the Senate.  In the event there is a vacancy in the office of the President of the Senate, or of the Senate President's absence from the State, inability to discharge the duties of the office, or impeachment, then such functions, powers, duties, and emoluments shall devolve upon the Speaker of the General Assembly. In the event there is a vacancy in the office of Speaker of the General Assembly, or of the Speaker's absence from the State, inability to discharge the duties of the office, or impeachment, then such functions, powers, duties, and emoluments shall devolve upon such officers and in the order of succession as may be provided by law.  The functions, powers, duties, and emoluments of the office of Governor shall devolve upon the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly or another officer, as the case may be, until the Governor-elect or Lieutenant Governor-elect qualifies, or the Governor or Lieutenant Governor in office returns to the State, or is no longer unable to discharge the duties of the office, or is acquitted, or until a new Lieutenant Governor is appointed, as the case may be, or a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies.

     b.    Vacancies for like cause in the office of the Attorney General shall be determined and declared in the same manner as vacancies in the office of the Governor, and during the continuation of any such vacancy, or until such times as the new Attorney General shall be elected and qualify into office, the functions, powers, duties, and emoluments of the office shall devolve in such manner as shall be provided b y law. 

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 7, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     8.    Whenever a Governor-elect [or], Lieutenant Governor-elect, or Attorney General-elect shall have failed to qualify within six months after the beginning of the term of office, or whenever for a period of six months a Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General in office, or person administering the office, shall have remained continuously absent from the State, or shall have been continuously unable to discharge the duties of the office by reason of mental or physical disability, the office shall be deemed vacant.  Such vacancy shall be determined by the Supreme Court upon presentment to it of a concurrent resolution declaring the ground of the vacancy, adopted by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of each house of the Legislature, and upon notice, hearing before the Court and proof of the existence of the vacancy.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 8, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     9.    a. In the event of  a vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor or Attorney General resulting from the death, resignation or removal of a Lieutenant Governor or Attorney General in office or the death of a Lieutenant Governor-elect or Attorney General-elect, or from any other cause, the Governor shall appoint a Lieutenant Governor or Attorney General, as the case may be, within forty-five days of the occurrence of the vacancy to fill the unexpired term.

     b.    If a Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor, or in the event of simultaneous vacancies in the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, a Governor and a Lieutenant Governor shall be elected to fill the unexpired terms of both offices at the next general election, unless the assumption of the office of Governor by the Lieutenant Governor, or the vacancies, as the case may be, occur within sixty days immediately preceding a general election, in which case they shall be elected at the second succeeding general election.  No election to fill the unexpired terms shall be held in any year in which a Governor and Lieutenant Governor are to be elected for full terms.  A Governor and Lieutenant Governor elected for unexpired terms shall assume their offices immediately upon their election.

     c.    In the event of a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, an Attorney General shall be elected to fill the unexpired term at the next general election, unless the vacancy shall occur within sixty days immediately preceding a general election, in which case the Attorney General shall be elected at the second succeeding general election.  No election to fill the unexpired term shall be held in any year in which an election for a full term is to be held.  An Attorney General elected for an unexpired term shall assume office immediately upon election. 

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 9, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     10. a. The Governor [and], the Lieutenant Governor, and the Attorney General shall each receive for [services] service in their respective offices a salary, which shall be neither increased nor diminished during the period for which the Governor [or], Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General shall have been elected or appointed.

     b.    The Governor shall appoint the Lieutenant Governor to serve as the head of a principal department or other executive or administrative agency of State government, or delegate to the Lieutenant Governor duties of the office of Governor, or both.  The Governor shall not appoint the Lieutenant Governor to serve as Attorney General.  The Lieutenant Governor shall in addition perform such other duties as may be provided by law.

     c.    The Attorney General shall serve as the chief law officer of the State and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may now or hereafter be conferred upon or required of the Attorney General, either by the Constitution or by the common and statutory law of the State.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. I, par. 10, amended effective January 17, 2006)

     d.    Amend Article V, Section IV, paragraphs 1 and 3, to read as follows:

     1.    All executive and administrative offices, departments, and instrumentalities of the State government, including the offices of Secretary of State and Attorney General, and their respective functions, powers and duties, shall be allocated by law among and within not more than twenty principal departments, in such manner as to group the same according to major purposes so far as practicable. Temporary commissions for special purposes may, however, be established by law and such commissions need not be allocated within a principal department.  No diminution in the functions, powers, and duties of the Attorney General, whether by law or by executive order or proclamation, enacted, adopted or issued after the election of any person to that office shall, take effect until another person has been elected to succeed that person and has qualified into office.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. IV, par. 1)

     3.    The Secretary of State [and the Attorney General] shall be nominated and appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate to serve during the term of office of the Governor, except the Governor may appoint the Lieutenant Governor to serve as Secretary of State without the advice and consent of the Senate.

(cf: Art. V, Sec. IV, par. 3, amended effective January 17, 2006)

 

     2.    When this proposed amendment to the Constitution is finally agreed to pursuant to Article IX, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election occurring more than three months after the final agreement and shall be published at least once in at least one newspaper of each county designated by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Secretary of State, not less than three months prior to the general election.

 

     3.    This proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to the people at that election in the following manner and form:

     There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

     a.    In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

     If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

     b.    In every municipality the following question:


 



 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR THE ELECTION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

 

YES

     Do you approve amending the Constitution to provide for the election of the State Attorney General? 

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

     This change would make the office of the Attorney General of New Jersey an elected office.

     The election of the Attorney General would take place at the same time as the election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

     Currently, the Attorney General is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. 

 

 

 

SCHEDULE

 

     The first election of the Attorney General shall be for a term of four years and shall be held at the next general election, following the general election at which these amendments are approved, at which a Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected for a full four-year term.

 

STATEMENT

 

     This proposed Constitutional amendment makes the office of Attorney General elective.  Under the amendment, the Attorney Genera is to be elected to four-year terms at the same time as the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and, like the Governor, is to be barred from serving more than two successive terms.  A vacancy in the office is to be filled by election for the unexpired term in the same manner as is now provided for filling a vacancy in the office of Governor.  Pending such an election, the vacancy would be filled on an interim basis in such manner as may be provided by law.  The proposed amendment also provides that neither the Governor nor the Legislature, by decree or statute, can diminish the functions, powers and duties of the Attorney General during the incumbency of any person elected to that office.