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Since the election of 1967 (1968 Session), the Assembly has consisted of 80 members. Two members are elected from each of New Jersey's 40 legislative districts for a term of two years, each representing districts with average populations of 210,359 (2000 figures). To be eligible to run, a potential candidate must be at least 21 years of age, and must have lived in their district for at least one year prior to the election, and have lived in the state of New Jersey for two years. They also must be residents of their districts. Membership in the Assembly is considered a part-time job, and many members have employment in addition to their legislative work. Assembly members serve two-year terms, elected every odd-numbered year in November. Several members of the Assembly hold other elective office, as they are grandfathered in under a New Jersey law that banned multiple office holding in 2007.
The Assembly is led by the Speaker of the Assembly, who is elected by the membership of the chamber. After the Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey and the President of the New Jersey Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly is third in the line of succession to replace the Governor of New Jersey in the event that he or she is unable to execute the duties of that office. The Speaker decides the schedule for the Assembly, which bills will be considered, appoints committee chairmen, and generally runs the Assembly's agenda. The current Speaker is Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge).
Salary and costs
Members of the NJ General Assembly receive an annual base salary of $49,000 with the Senate President and the Assembly Speaker earning slightly more. Members receive $110,000 for staff salaries. In addition, they receive 12,500 postage stamps, stationery and a telephone card. They receive New Jersey State health insurance and other benefits. The total cost to the State of New Jersey for each member of the general assembly is approximately $200,000 annually.
Note: The first three subsections below end with a constitutional year: 1776, 1844 or 1947. The fourth subsection ends in 1966, the year of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that required legislative apportionment based on the principle of "one person, one vote".
The following is a list of Speakers of the Assembly since 1703.
On December 6, 1775, Gov. William Franklin prorogued the New Jersey Legislature until January 3, 1776, but it never met again. On May 30, 1776, Franklin attempted to convene the legislature, but was met instead with an order by the New Jersey Provincial Congress for his arrest. On July 2, 1776, the Provincial Congress approved a new constitution which ordered new elections; on August 13 an entire new legislature was elected.
^Journal of the Governor and Council Vol. VI (1769-1775), Archives of the State of New Jersey, First Series, Vol. XVIII; The John L. Murphy Publishing Co., Printers, Trenton, New Jersey, 1893. p. 566
^"The Governors of New Jersey 1664-1974: Biographical Essays", New Jersey Historical Commission, Trenton, New Jersey, 1982. p. 75
^Also in the Constitution of 1844, the Legislative Council was renamed the Senate, to be composed of one member from each of the state's 19 counties, serving a three-year term. In addition, the new constitution provided for a direct popular election of the governor, with the power to veto bills passed by the Legislature. See: New Jersey Legislature#The Constitution of 1844.