40 Member Legislative Body. Non-staggered four year terms. |
The 1947 Constitution established a 21 member Senate comprised of one member
from each county.
On June 15, 1964, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Reynolds vs. Sims,
that representation in state legislatures must be based on population only.
On the following Nov. 16, the New Jersey Senate, by a change in its rules, adopted a
weighted voting system. The senator from Cape May County would have one vote
and the senator from Essex, 19; the others would range in between.
The weighted voting action of the Senate was challenged in State Supreme Court on
Dec. 14, 1964, and declared a nullity not in compliance with the State Constitution.
On Dec. 17, 1964, the Senate unanimously recinded the plan.
In 1965, the Senate was reapportioned into 14 districts represented by 29 Senators.
Under Chapter 43, Laws of 1965, a Constitutional Convention was authorized to draft
a permanent apportionment plan.
The Constitutional Convention, fifth in New Jersey history, was held in New Brunswick
from March 21 to June 14, 1966. The convention proposed that the State Senate have
40 members and the General Assembly 80 members (increased from 60), all elected
An Apportionment Commission was to draw the lines.
The voters approved the proposal in a referendum on November 8, 1966.
(Abridged from Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, 2002)