Legislative elections are held in November of every odd-numbered year. (The state is in this regard unusual, as most states hold legislative elections in even-numbered years, when Congressional elections are also held.) Assemblymen serve two-year terms, while Senators serve four-year terms, except in the first term of a new decade, which only lasts for two years. The "2-4-4" cycle was put into place so that Senate elections can reflect the changes made to the district boundaries on the basis of the decennial United States Census. (If the cycle were not put into place, then the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date.)
The New Jersey Constitution provides that each Legislature is constituted for a term of two years, split into two annual sessions. Because the Constitution also specifies that all business from the first year may be continued into the second year, the distinction between the two annual sessions is more ceremonial than actual. The two-year legislative term begins at noon on the second Tuesday in January of each even-numbered year, which for the 2008-2010 term was on January 8, 2008. At the end of the second year, all unfinished business expires.
The General Assembly is headed by the Speaker, while the Senate is headed by the President. Each house also has a Majority Leader, a Minority Leader, assistant Leaders, and whips.
The Legislature is empowered to make new law, subject to the Governor of New Jersey's power to veto a bill. However, the veto may be overridden by the Legislature if there is a two-thirds majority in favor of overriding in each House.
Furthermore, by a three-fifths vote, the Legislature may propose an amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution. An amendment may also be proposed if the Legislature passes it by a majority in two consecutive years. Whichever manner is adopted, the Amendment must be approved in a referendum to become valid as a part of the Constitution. Another major legislative power is vested in the Senate, which has the sole authority to confirm or reject gubernatorial nominees for judicial and some executive positions.
Unlike most state legislatures, many New Jersey legislators also concurrently hold another office at the county or municipal level. The practice — frequently referred to as "Double dipping" — has recently been banned by the legislature, although the 19 legislators holding multiple offices as of February 1, 2008 were grandfathered into the system.
The members of the New Jersey Legislature are chosen by forty electoral districts, each district electing one member to the Senate and two members of the Assembly.
Districts are redefined by the New Jersey Apportionment Commission after each decennial U.S. Census. Based on the results of the United States 2000 Census conducted by the Census Bureau, the following district definitions went into effect in 2001.
Avalon Borough, Buena Borough, Buena Vista Township, Cape May City, Cape May Point Borough, Dennis Township, Lower Township, Maurice River Township, Middle Township, Millville City, North Wildwood City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Somers Point City, Stone Harbor Borough, Upper Township, Vineland City, West Cape May Borough, West Wildwood Borough, Wildwood City, Wildwood Crest Borough, Woodbine Borough
Absecon City, Atlantic City, Brigantine City, Corbin City, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Estell Manor City, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Linwood City, Longport Borough, Margate City, Mullica Township, Northfield City, Pleasantville City, Port Republic City, Ventnor City, Weymouth Township
Alloway Township, Bridgeton City, Carneys Point Township, Clayton Borough, Commercial Township, Deerfield Township, Downe Township, East Greenwich Township, Elk Township, Elmer Borough, Elsinboro Township, Fairfield Township, Greenwich Township (Cumberland), Greenwich Township (Gloucester), Harrison Township, Hopewell Township, Lawrence Township, Logan Township, Lower Alloways Creek Township, Mannington Township, Mantua Township, National Park Borough, Oldmans Township, Paulsboro Borough, Penns Grove Borough, Pennsville Township, Pilesgrove Township, Pittsgrove Township, Quinton Township, Salem City, Shiloh Borough, South Harrison Township, Stow Creek Township, Swedesboro Borough, Upper Deerfield Township, Upper Pittsgrove Township, Wenonah Borough, West Deptford Township, Woodstown Borough, Woolwich Township
Audubon Borough, Barrington Borough, Bellmawr Borough, Brooklawn Borough, Camden City, Deptford Township, Gloucester City, Haddon Heights Borough, Hi-Nella Borough, Lawnside Borough, Magnolia Borough, Mount Ephraim Borough, Runnemede Borough, Somerdale Borough, Stratford Borough, Westville Borough, Woodbury City, Woodbury Heights Borough, Woodlynne Borough
Audubon Park Borough, Berlin Borough, Berlin Township, Cherry Hill Township, Chesilhurst Borough, Collingswood Borough, Gibbsboro Borough, Haddon Township, Haddonfield Borough, Oaklyn Borough, Pine Hill Borough, Pine Valley Borough, Tavistock Borough, Voorhees Township, Waterford Township, Winslow Township
Beverly City, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson Township, Delanco Township, Delran Township, Edgewater Park Township, Florence Township, Maple Shade Township, Merchantville Borough, Mount Holly Township, Palmyra Borough, Pennsauken Township, Riverside Township, Riverton Borough, Westampton Township, Willingboro Township
Eastampton Township, Evesham Township, Hainesport Township, Lumberton Township, Mansfield Township, Medford Lakes Borough, Medford Township, Moorestown Township, Mount Laurel Township, Pemberton Borough, Pemberton Township, Shamong Township, Southampton Township, Springfield Township, Tabernacle Township, Woodland Township, Wrightstown Borough
Barnegat Light Borough, Barnegat Township, Bass River Township, Beach Haven Borough, Beachwood Borough, Berkeley Township, Eagleswood Township, Folsom Borough, Hammonton Town, Harvey Cedars Borough, Lacey Township, Lakehurst Borough, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Manchester Township, Ocean Gate Borough, Ocean Township, Pine Beach Borough, Ship Bottom Borough, Stafford Township, Surf City Borough, Tuckerton Borough, Washington Township
Bay Head Borough, Brick Township, Island Heights Borough, Lavallette Borough, Manasquan Borough, Mantoloking Borough, Point Pleasant Beach Borough, Point Pleasant Borough, Seaside Heights Borough, Seaside Park Borough, South Toms River Borough, Toms River Township
Allenhurst Borough, Asbury Park City, Atlantic Highlands Borough, Avon-by-the-Sea Borough, Belmar Borough, Bradley Beach Borough, Brielle Borough, Deal Borough, Eatontown Borough, Highlands Borough, Interlaken Borough, Lake Como Borough, Loch Arbour Village, Long Branch City, Monmouth Beach Borough, Neptune City Borough, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Rumson Borough, Sea Bright Borough, Sea Girt Borough, Spring Lake Borough, Spring Lake Heights Borough, Wall Township, West Long Branch Borough
Colts Neck Township, East Windsor Township, Englishtown Borough, Fair Haven Borough, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hightstown Borough, Little Silver Borough, Manalapan Township, Marlboro Township, Millstone Township, Oceanport Borough, Red Bank Borough, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls Borough
Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, Bound Brook Borough, Branchburg Township, Bridgewater Township, Far Hills Borough, Hillsborough Township, Manville Borough, Mendham Borough, Millstone Borough, Montgomery Township, Peapack-Gladstone Borough, Raritan Borough, Rocky Hill Borough, Somerville Borough, South Bound Brook Borough
Berkeley Heights Township, Chatham Township, Cranford Township, Garwood Borough, Harding Township, Long Hill Township, Madison Borough, Millburn Township, Mountainside Borough, New Providence Borough, Roselle Park Borough, Springfield Township, Summit City, Warren Township, Watchung Borough, Westfield Town
Clark Township, Dunellen Borough, Fanwood Borough, Green Brook Township, Linden City, Middlesex Borough, North Plainfield Borough, Plainfield City, Rahway City, Scotch Plains Township, Winfield Township
Alexandria Township, Allamuchy Township, Alpha Borough, Belvidere Town, Bethlehem Township, Blairstown Township, Bloomsbury Borough, Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Delaware Township, East Amwell Township, Flemington Borough, Franklin Township (Hunterdon County), Franklin Township (Warren County), Frelinghuysen Township, Frenchtown Borough, Glen Gardner Borough, Greenwich Township, Hackettstown Town, Hampton Borough, Hardwick Township, Harmony Township, High Bridge Borough, Holland Township, Hope Township, Independence Township, Kingwood Township, Knowlton Township, Lambertville City, Lebanon Borough, Lebanon Township, Liberty Township, Lopatcong Township, Mansfield Township, Milford Borough, Oxford Township, Phillipsburg Town, Pohatcong Township, Raritan Township, Readington Township, Stockton Borough, Union Township, Washington Borough, Washington Township, West Amwell Township, White Township
Andover Borough, Andover Township, Branchville Borough, Byram Township, Califon Borough, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Frankford Township, Franklin Borough, Fredon Township, Green Township, Hamburg Borough, Hampton Township, Hardyston Township, Hopatcong Borough, Lafayette Township, Montague Township, Mount Olive Township, Netcong Borough, Newton Town, Ogdensburg Borough, Sandyston Township, Sparta Township, Stanhope Borough, Stillwater Township, Sussex Borough, Tewksbury Township, Vernon Township, Walpack Township, Wantage Township, Washington Township
Boonton Town, Boonton Township, Denville Township, Dover Town, Jefferson Township, Mendham Township, Mine Hill Township, Morris Township, Morristown Town, Mount Arlington Borough, Mountain Lakes Borough, Randolph Township, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury Township, Victory Gardens Borough, Wharton Borough
Bloomingdale Borough, Butler Borough, Chatham Borough, East Hanover Township, Florham Park Borough, Hanover Township, Kinnelon Borough, Lincoln Park Borough, Montville Township, Morris Plains Borough, Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Pequannock Township, Pompton Lakes Borough, Riverdale Borough, West Milford Township
Caldwell Township, Essex Fells Township, Fairfield Township, Livingston Township, Maplewood Township, Newark City (partial), North Caldwell Township, Orange Township, Roseland Borough, South Orange Village Township, West Caldwell Township, West Orange Township
Note: This district is not geographically contiguous.
Allentown Borough, Bordentown City, Bordentown Township, Chesterfield Township, Farmingdale Borough, Fieldsboro Borough, Howell Township, Jackson Township, Lakewood Township, New Hanover Township, North Hanover Township, Plumsted Township, Roosevelt Borough, Upper Freehold Township, Robbinsville Township (known as Washington Township until 2007)
Carlstadt Borough, East Rutherford Borough, Garfield City, Lyndhurst Township, Moonachie Borough, North Arlington Borough, Nutley Township, Passaic City, Rutherford Borough, Wallington Borough, Wood-Ridge Borough
Bergenfield Borough, Bogota Borough, Englewood City, Englewood Cliffs Borough, Hackensack City, Leonia Borough, Maywood Borough, Palisades Park Borough, Ridgefield Park Village, Rochelle Park Township, Teaneck Township, Tenafly Borough
Cliffside Park Borough, Edgewater Borough, Elmwood Park Borough, Fair Lawn Borough, Fort Lee Borough, Hasbrouck Heights Borough, Little Ferry Borough, Lodi Borough, Paramus Borough, Ridgefield Borough, Saddle Brook Township, South Hackensack Township, Teterboro Borough
Allendale Borough, Alpine Borough, Closter Borough, Cresskill Borough, Demarest Borough, Dumont Borough, Emerson Borough, Harrington Park Borough, Haworth Borough, Hillsdale Borough, Ho-Ho-Kus Borough, Montvale Borough, New Milford Borough, Northvale Borough, Norwood Borough, Old Tappan Borough, Oradell Borough, Park Ridge Borough, Ramsey Borough, River Edge Borough, River Vale Township, Rockleigh Borough, Saddle River Borough, Upper Saddle River Borough, Waldwick Borough, Washington Township, Westwood Borough, Woodcliff Lake Borough,
Cedar Grove Township, Franklin Lakes Borough, Little Falls Township, Mahwah Township, Midland Park Borough, Oakland Borough, Ridgewood Village, Ringwood Borough, Verona Township, Wanaque Borough, Wayne Township, Wyckoff Township