is the Legislature? The
legislature is the branch of government that makes new
laws and changes old ones. It is made up of 120 members
in 40 districts in New Jersey. These men and women represent
the views and concerns of the people in their part of
are Houses? The
New Jersey Legislature is divided into two bodies
called Houses. The Houses of the New Jersey Legislature
are the Senate and the General Assembly. There are
40 Senators and 80 General Assembly members, who are
elected by the voters in their legislative districts.
The members of the two Houses also are divided into
political groups, called parties. The two major parties
are Democrats and Republicans. The group having the
largest number of members is called the majority party.
The other group is the minority party.
is the difference between the Legislature and the Congress? Our
State Legislature makes laws only for New Jersey, just
as Pennsylvania's Legislature makes laws only for its
state. Congress meets in our nation's capital, Washington,
D.C., and creates laws for all fifty states.
can be a legislator? A
State Senator must be at least 30 years old, and must
have lived in New Jersey for at least four years. A
member of the General Assembly must be at least 21 years
old and must have lived in the state for at least two
years. Both must live in their legislative districts
for one year before the election.
are legislative districts? New
Jersey is divided into 40 legislative districts. The
people of each district elect one Senator and two General
Assembly members. Each district has about the same number
of people in it, so each legislator represents about
the same number of people. New boundary lines for the
districts are drawn every ten years after an official
count or census has been taken of the people and where
they live. The shapes of the districts may be changed
to show changes in the population. City districts are
usually small because more people live in a small area.
Suburban and rural legislative districts may be very
large, which shows that the people live farther apart.
does the Legislature meet?
usually meet on Mondays and Thursdays all year long.
Meetings to vote on proposed laws, called bills, are
voting sessions. The Legislature meets in the State
House in Trenton, New Jersey's capital city. In most
years both Houses take a break, or recess, during July