1. The legislative power shall be vested in a Senate and General Assembly.
2. No person shall be a member of the Senate who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and have been a citizen and resident of the State for four years, and of the district for which he shall be elected one year, next before his election. No person shall be a member of the General Assembly who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one years and have been a citizen and resident of the State for two years, and of the district for which he shall be elected one year, next before his election. No person shall be eligible for membership in the Legislature unless he be entitled to the right of suffrage.
Article IV, Section I, paragraph 2 amended effective December 8, 1966.
3. Each Legislature shall be constituted for a term of 2 years beginning at noon on the second Tuesday in January in each even numbered year, at which time the Senate and General Assembly shall meet and organize separately and the first annual session of the Legislature shall commence. Said first annual session shall terminate at noon on the second Tuesday in January next following, at which time the second annual session shall commence and it shall terminate at noon on the second Tuesday in January then next following but either session may be sooner terminated by adjournment sine die. All business before either House or any of the committees thereof at the end of the first annual session may be resumed in the second annual session. The legislative year shall commence at noon on the second Tuesday in January of each year.
Article IV, Section I, paragraph 3 amended effective December 3, 1968. (Applicable to the 1970 Legislature and thereafter.)
4. Special sessions of the Legislature shall be called by the Governor upon petition of a majority of all the members of each house, and may be called by the Governor whenever in his opinion the public interest shall require.
1. The Senate shall be composed of forty senators apportioned among Senate districts as nearly as may be according to the number of their inhabitants as reported in the last preceding decennial census of the United States and according to the method of equal proportions. Each Senate district shall be composed, wherever practicable, of one single county, and, if not so practicable, of two or more contiguous whole counties.
2. Each senator shall be elected by the legally qualified voters of the Senate district, except that if the Senate district is composed of two or more counties and two senators are apportioned to the district, one senator shall be elected by the legally qualified voters of each Assembly district. Each senator shall be elected for a term beginning at noon of the second Tuesday in January next following his election and ending at noon of the second Tuesday in January four years thereafter, except that each senator, to be elected for a term beginning in January of the second year following the year in which a decennial census of the United States is taken, shall be elected for a term of two years.
3. The General Assembly shall be composed of eighty members. Each Senate district to which only one senator is apportioned shall constitute an Assembly district. Each of the remaining Senate districts shall be divided into Assembly districts equal in number to the number of senators apportioned to the Senate district. The Assembly districts shall be composed of contiguous territory, as nearly compact and equal in the number of their inhabitants as possible, and in no event shall each such district contain less than eighty per cent nor more than one hundred twenty per cent of one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State as reported in the last preceding decennial census of the United States. Unless necessary to meet the foregoing requirements, no county or municipality shall be divided among Assembly districts unless it shall contain more than one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State, and no county or municipality shall be divided among a number of Assembly districts larger than one plus the whole number obtained by dividing the number of inhabitants in the county or municipality by one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State.
4.Two members of the General Assembly shall be elected by the legally qualified voters of each Assembly district for terms beginning at noon of the second Tuesday in January next following their election and ending at noon of the second Tuesday in January two years thereafter.
Article IV, Section II, paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4 amended effective December 8, 1966.
1. After the next and every subsequent decennial census of the United States, the Senate districts and Assembly districts shall be established, and the senators and members of the General Assembly shall be apportioned among them, by an Apportionment Commission consisting of ten members, five to be appointed by the chairman of the State committee of each of the two political parties whose candidates for Governor receive the largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election. Each State chairman, in making such appointments, shall give due consideration to the representation of the various geographical areas of the State. Appointments to the Commission shall be made on or before November 15 of the year in which such census is taken and shall be certified by the Secretary of State on or before December 1 of that year. The Commission, by a majority of the whole number of its members, shall certify the establishment of Senate and Assembly districts and the apportionment of senators and members of the General Assembly to the Secretary of State within one month of the receipt by the Governor of the official decennial census of the United States for New Jersey, or on or before February 1 of the year following the year in which the census is taken, whichever date is later.
2. If the Apportionment Commission fails so to certify such establishment and apportionment to the Secretary of State on or before the date fixed or if prior thereto it determines that it will be unable so to do, it shall so certify to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey and he shall appoint an eleventh member of the Commission. The Commission so constituted, by a majority of the whole number of its members, shall, within one month after the appointment of such eleventh member, certify to the Secretary of State the establishment of Senate and Assembly districts and the apportionment of senators and members of the General Assembly.
3. Such establishment and apportionment shall be used thereafter for the election of members of the Legislature and shall remain unaltered until the following decennial census of the United States for New Jersey shall have been received by the Governor.
Article IV, Section III, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 amended effective December 8, 1966.
1. Any vacancy in the Legislature occasioned otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled by election for the unexpired term only at the next general election occurring not less than 51 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, except that no vacancy shall be filled at the general election which immediately precedes the expiration of the term in which the vacancy occurs. For the interim period pending the election and qualification of a successor to fill the vacancy, or for the remainder of the term in the case of a vacancy occurring which cannot be filled pursuant to the terms of this paragraph at a general election, the vacancy shall be filled within 35 days by the members of the county committee of the political party of which the incumbent was the nominee from the municipalities or districts or units thereof which comprise the legislative district.
Article IV, Section IV, paragraph 1 amended effective December 8, 1988.
2. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of all its members shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties, as each house may provide.
3. Each house shall choose its own officers, determine the rules of its proceedings, and punish its members for disorderly behavior. It may expel a member with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its members.
4. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same. The yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, on demand of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
5. Neither house, during the session of the Legislature, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, or to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.
6. All bills and joint resolutions shall be read three times in each house before final passage. No bill or joint resolution shall be read a third time in either house until after the intervention of one full calendar day following the day of the second reading; but if either house shall resolve by vote of three-fourths of all its members, signified by yeas and nays entered on the journal, that a bill or joint resolution is an emergency measure, it may proceed forthwith from second to third reading. No bill or joint resolution shall pass, unless there shall be a majority of all the members of each body personally present and agreeing thereto, and the yeas and nays of the members voting on such final passage shall be entered on the journal.
7. Members of the Senate and General Assembly shall receive annually, during the term for which they shall have been elected and while they shall hold their office, such compensation as shall, from time to time, be fixed by law and no other allowance or emolument, directly or indirectly, for any purpose whatever. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly, each by virtue of his office, shall receive an additional allowance, equal to one-third of his compensation as a member.
8. The compensation of members of the Senate and General Assembly shall be fixed at the first session of the Legislature held after this Constitution takes effect, and may be increased or decreased by law from time to time thereafter, but no increase or decrease shall be effective until the legislative year following the next general election for members of the General Assembly.
9. Members of the Senate and General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason and high misdemeanor, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sitting of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any statement, speech or debate in either house or at any meeting of a legislative committee, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
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, or as a member of the Senate or General Assembly.
Article IV, Section V, paragraph 1 amended effective January 17, 2006.
2. The Legislature may appoint any commission, committee or other body whose main purpose is to aid or assist it in performing its functions. Members of the Legislature may be appointed to serve on any such body.
3. If any member of the Legislature shall become a member of Congress or shall accept any Federal or State office or position, of profit, his seat shall thereupon become vacant.
4. No member of Congress, no person holding any Federal or State office or position, of profit, and no judge of any court shall be entitled to a seat in the Legislature.
5. Neither the Legislature nor either house thereof shall elect or appoint any executive, administrative or judicial officer except the State Auditor.
1. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the General Assembly; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
2. The Legislature may enact general laws under which municipalities, other than counties, may adopt zoning ordinances limiting and restricting to specified districts and regulating therein, buildings and structures, according to their construction, and the nature and extent of their use, and the nature and extent of the uses of land, and the exercise of such authority shall be deemed to be within the police power of the State. Such laws shall be subject to repeal or alteration by the Legislature.
3. Any agency or political subdivision of the State or any agency of a political subdivision thereof, which may be empowered to take or otherwise acquire private property for any public highway, parkway, airport, place, improvement, or use, may be authorized by law to take or otherwise acquire a fee simple absolute or any lesser interest, and may be authorized by law to take or otherwise acquire a fee simple absolute in, easements upon, or the benefit of restrictions upon, abutting property to preserve and protect the public highway, parkway, airport, place, improvement, or use; but such taking shall be with just compensation.
4. The Legislature, in order to insure continuity of State, county and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack, shall have the power and the immediate and continuing duty by legislation (1) to provide, prior to the occurrence of the emergency, for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices, of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices, and (2) to adopt such other measures as may be necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations. In the exercise of the powers hereby conferred the Legislature shall in all respects conform to the requirements of this Constitution except to the extent that in the judgment of the Legislature to do so would be impracticable or would admit of undue delay.
Article IV, Section VI, paragraph 4 added effective December 7, 1961.
1. No divorce shall be granted by the Legislature.
2. No gambling of any kind shall be authorized by the Legislature unless the specific kind, restrictions and control thereof have been heretofore submitted to, and authorized by a majority of the votes cast by, the people at a special election or shall hereafter be submitted to, and authorized by a majority of the votes cast thereon by, the legally qualified voters of the State voting at a general election, except that, without any such submission or authorization:
A). It shall be lawful for bona fide veterans, charitable, educational, religious or fraternal organizations, civic and service clubs, senior citizen associations or clubs, volunteer fire companies and first-aid or rescue squads to conduct, under such restrictions and control as shall from time to time be prescribed by the Legislature by law, games of chance of, and restricted to, the selling of rights to participate, the awarding of prizes, in the specific kind of game of chance sometimes known as bingo or lotto, played with cards bearing numbers or other designations, 5 or more in one line, the holder covering numbers as objects, similarly numbered, are drawn from a receptacle and the game being won by the person who first covers a previously designated arrangement of numbers on such a card, when the entire net proceeds of such games of chance are to be devoted to educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited uses, and in the case of senior citizen associations or clubs to the support of such organizations, in any municipality, in which a majority of the qualified voters, voting thereon, at a general or special election as the submission thereof shall be prescribed by the Legislature by law, shall authorize the conduct of such games of chance therein;
B). It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize, by law, bona fide veterans, charitable, educational, religious or fraternal organizations, civic and service clubs, senior citizen associations or clubs, volunteer fire companies and first-aid or rescue squads to conduct games of chance of, and restricted to, the selling of rights to participate, and the awarding of prizes, in the specific kinds of games of chance sometimes known as raffles, conducted by the drawing for prizes or by the allotment of prizes by chance, when the entire net proceeds of such games of chance are to be devoted to educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited uses, and in the case of senior citizen associations or clubs to the support of such organizations, in any municipality, in which such law shall be adopted by a majority of the qualified voters, voting thereon, at a general or special election as the submission thereof shall be prescribed by law and for the Legislature, from time to time, to restrict and control, by law, the conduct of such games of chance;
C). It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize the conduct of State lotteries restricted to the selling of rights to participate therein and the awarding of prizes by drawings when the entire net proceeds of any such lottery shall be for State institutions and State aid for education; provided, however, that it shall not be competent for the Legislature to borrow, appropriate or use, under any pretense whatsoever, lottery net proceeds for the confinement, housing, supervision or treatment of, or education programs for, adult criminal offenders or juveniles adjudged delinquent or for the construction, staffing, support, maintenance or operation of an adult or juvenile correctional facility or institution;
D.) It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law the establishment and operation, under regulation and control by the State, of gambling houses or casinos within the boundaries, as heretofore established, of the city of Atlantic City, county of Atlantic, and to license and tax such operations and equipment used in connection therewith. Any law authorizing the establishment and operation of such gambling establishments shall provide for the State revenues derived therefrom to be applied solely for the purpose of providing funding for reductions in property taxes, rental, telephone, gas, electric, and municipal utilities charges of eligible senior citizens and disabled residents of the State, and for additional or expanded health services or benefits or transportation services or benefits to eligible senior citizens and disabled residents, in accordance with such formulae as the Legislature shall by law provide. The type and number of such casinos or gambling houses and of the gambling games which may be conducted in any such establishment shall be determined by or pursuant to the terms of the law authorizing the establishment and operation thereof;
E.) It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize, by law, (1) the simultaneous transmission by picture of running and harness horse races conducted at racetracks located within or outside of this State, or both, to gambling houses or casinos in the city of Atlantic City and (2) the specific kind, restrictions and control of wagering at those gambling establishments on the results of those races. The State's share of revenues derived therefrom shall be applied for services to benefit eligible senior citizens as shall be provided by law; and
F.) It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize, by law, the specific kind, restrictions and control of wagering on the results of live or simulcast running and harness horse races conducted within or outside of this State. The State's share of revenues derived therefrom shall be used for such purposes as shall be provided by law.
Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 2 amended effective December 2, 1999.
3. The Legislature shall not pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or depriving a party of any remedy for enforcing a contract which existed when the contract was made.
4. To avoid improper influences which may result from intermixing in one and the same act such things as have no proper relation to each other, every law shall embrace but one object, and that shall be expressed in the title. This paragraph shall not invalidate any law adopting or enacting a compilation, consolidation, revision, or rearrangement of all or parts of the statutory law.
5. No law shall be revived or amended by reference to its title only, but the act revived, or the section or sections amended, shall be inserted at length. No act shall be passed which shall provide that any existing law, or any part thereof, shall be made or deemed a part of the act or which shall enact that any existing law, or any part thereof, shall be applicable, except by inserting it in such act.
6. The laws of this State shall begin in the following style: "Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey."
7. No general law shall embrace any provision of a private, special or local character.
8. No private, special or local law shall be passed unless public notice of the intention to apply therefor, and of the general object thereof, shall have been previously given. Such notice shall be given at such time and in such manner and shall be so evidenced and the evidence thereof shall be so preserved as may be provided by law.
9. The Legislature shall not pass any private, special or local laws:
(1) Authorizing the sale of any lands belonging in whole or in part to a minor or minors or other persons who may at the time be under any legal disability to act for themselves.
(2) Changing the law of descent.
(3) Providing for change of venue in civil or criminal causes.
(4) Selecting, drawing, summoning or empaneling grand or petit jurors.
(5) Creating, increasing or decreasing the emoluments, term or tenure rights of any public officers or employees.
(6) Relating to taxation or exemption therefrom.
(7) Providing for the management and control of free public schools.
(8) Granting to any corporation, association or individual any exclusive privilege, immunity or franchise whatever.
(9) Granting to any corporation, association or individual the right to lay down railroad tracks.
(10) Laying out, opening, altering, constructing, maintaining and repairing roads or highways.
(11) Vacating any road, town plot, street, alley or public grounds.
(12) Appointing local officers or commissions to regulate municipal affairs.
(13) Regulating the internal affairs of municipalities formed for local government and counties, except as otherwise in this Constitution provided.
The Legislature shall pass general laws providing for the cases enumerated in this paragraph, and for all other cases which, in its judgment, may be provided for by general laws. The Legislature shall pass no special act conferring corporate powers, but shall pass general laws under which corporations may be organized and corporate powers of every nature obtained, subject, nevertheless, to repeal or alteration at the will of the Legislature.
10. Upon petition by the governing body of any municipal corporation formed for local government, or of any county, and by vote of two-thirds of all the members of each house, the Legislature may pass private, special or local laws regulating the internal affairs of the municipality or county. The petition shall be authorized in a manner to be prescribed by general law and shall specify the general nature of the law sought to be passed. Such law shall become operative only if it is adopted by ordinance of the governing body of the municipality or county or by vote of the legally qualified voters thereof. The Legislature shall prescribe in such law or by general law the method of adopting such law, and the manner in which the ordinance of adoption may be enacted or the vote taken, as the case may be.
11.The provisions of this Constitution and of any law concerning municipal corporations formed for local government, or concerning counties, shall be liberally construed in their favor. The powers of counties and such municipal corporations shall include not only those granted in express terms but also those of necessary or fair implication, or incident to the powers expressly conferred, or essential thereto, and not inconsistent with or prohibited by this Constitution or by law.
12. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution and irrespective of any right or interest in maintaining confidentiality, it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law the disclosure to the general public of information pertaining to the identity, specific and general whereabouts, physical characteristics and criminal history of persons found to have committed a sex offense. The scope, manner and format of the disclosure of such information shall be determined by or pursuant to the terms of the law authorizing the disclosure.
Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 12 added effective December 7, 2000.
1. Members of the Legislature shall, before they enter on the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of Senator (or member of the General Assembly) according to the best of my ability." Members-elect of the Senate or General Assembly are empowered to administer said oath or affirmation to each other.
2. Every officer of the Legislature shall, before he enters upon his duties, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly promise and swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully, impartially and justly perform all the duties of the office of ................, to the best of my ability and understanding; that I will carefully preserve all records, papers, writings, or property entrusted to me for safekeeping by virtue of my office, and make such disposition of the same as may be required by law."