Government of New Jersey facts for kids
The government of the State of New Jersey is separated into three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The powers of the state are vested by the Constitution of New Jersey, enacted in 1947, in a bicameral state legislature (consisting of the General Assembly and Senate), the Governor, and the state courts, headed the New Jersey Supreme Court. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of the state legislature, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court. Like most states, the state allows the incorporation of county, and other local municipal government.
The state executive is the Governor of New Jersey. The executive branch is organized into departments, which may not number more than twenty according to the constitution; there are eighteen departments and fifty-six agencies. Temporary commissions may be allocated by law for special purposes outside of the departments.
The New Jersey Register is the official journal of state agency rulemaking containing the full text of agency proposed and adopted rules, notices of public hearings, Gubernatorial Orders, and agency notices of public interest. The New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) is a compilation of all rules adopted by state agencies.
The Governor of New Jersey is head of the executive branch. The office of governor is an elected position, for which elected officials serve four-year terms. Governors cannot be elected to more than two consecutive terms, but there is no limit on the total number of terms they may serve. The official residence for the governor is Drumthwacket, a mansion located in Princeton, New Jersey; the office of the governor is at the New Jersey State House in Trenton. The Governor is responsible for appointing two constitutionally created officers, the New Jersey Attorney General and the Secretary of State of New Jersey, with the approval of the senate.
The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is the second highest-ranking official in the state government. The office of lieutenant governor is elected on a ticket with the governor for a four-year term concurrent with the governor. Because the position lacks distinct powers or purpose other than to exist solely as next in the order of succession, the state constitution requires that the lieutenant governor be appointed to serve as the head of a cabinet-level department or administrative agency within the Governor's administration. However, pursuant to the state constitution, a lieutenant governor cannot serve as the state's Attorney General.
Prior to 2010, New Jersey was one of a few states in the United States that did not have a Lieutenant Governor to succeed to the governorship in the event of a vacancy in that office. For most of the state's (and previously the colony's) history, a vacancy in the position of governor was filled by the president of the State Senate (called the "Legislative Council" from 1776 to 1844), or during the colonial era by the president of the royal governor's Provincial Council. After several episodes where the state had multiple "acting governors" in the span of a few years following the resignations of Governor Christine Todd Whitman in 2001 and Governor James E. McGreevey in 2004, popular sentiment and political pressure from the state's residents and news media outlets sought a permanent and tenable solution to the issue of succession when the governor's office became vacant. A 2005 referendum to amend the constitution provided for the position of lieutenant governor to be created, to change the order of succession, and that the post would be filled in next gubernatorial election (2009).
Republican Kim Guadagno is the first to serve in the post in its modern form. Guadagno, previously the sheriff in Monmouth County, was chosen by Governor Chris Christie to be his running-mate on the Republican party ticket in the 2009 election. In addition to being lieutenant governor, Guadagno serves in Governor Christie's cabinet as New Jersey's 33rd Secretary of State.
The state constitution provides that the governor appoints the heads of up to 20 principal departments. As of 2013, there are 15 cabinet-level or principal departments in the state's executive branch.
|Principal department||Notes||Cabinet Member|
|Department of Agriculture||
|Department of Banking and Insurance||
|Department of Children and Families||
|Department of Community Affairs||
|Department of Corrections||Gary Lanigan|
|Department of Education||
|Department of Environmental Protection||
|Department of Health||
|Department of Human Services||
|Department of Labor and Workforce Development||
|Department of Law and Public Safety||
|Department of Military and Veterans Affairs||
||Brigadier General Michael Cunniff|
|Department of State||
|Department of Transportation||
|Department of the Treasury||
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Government of New Jersey Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.