New Jersey’s constitution, the third in its history, was adopted in 1947. It grants considerable power to the governor, who may serve two consecutive four-year terms and be elected to a third after a lapse of four years. Constitutional amendments may be initiated either by the senate or the assembly. The final adoption of an amendment requires the approval of the voters in a general election.
The governor is the only elected executive officer. All other state officers are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. These include the secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and heads of the various executive departments. The president of the senate succeeds the governor in case of death. In 1974, New Jersey became the first state to provide for public financing of gubernatorial election campaigns.
The legislature consists of a 40-member Senate and an 80-member Assembly. Senators are elected for four-year terms and assembly members for two. Legislative sessions begin each year on the second Tuesday in January and last until business is completed. Special sessions may be called by the governor or by petition of a majority in each house. A two-thirds vote in each house is needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
All judges in the state are appointed by the governor with the approval of the state senate, except municipal judges, who are appointed by the municipal governments. The state supreme court consists of a chief justice and six associate justices, all of whom serve seven-year terms. The supreme court hears appeals. Below the supreme court are a superior court, county courts, and inferior courts with limited jurisdiction.
The counties are governed by bodies of officials known as freeholders, who are elected for three-year terms and are responsible for the maintenance of county properties and institutions. The term freeholder originated in colonial times when only property owners, or freeholders, could hold office. The smaller municipalities are called cities, towns, boroughs, townships, or villages, depending on their form of government. Most have a mayor and a city council, but some have city managers or commissions. Smaller municipalities usually have a mayor-committee or mayor-council form of government. New Jersey elects two U.S. senators and 13 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The state casts 15 electoral votes. "New Jersey" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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