214th Legislature set to organize at noon

The State Senate and General Assembly will meet at noon today to organize the 214th session of the New Jersey State Legislature.  Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford), the head of an ironworkers union and the Gloucester County Freeholder Director, will become the new Senate President, and Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) will become the first African American woman to serve as Assembly Speaker. 

Richard Codey (D-Roseland), who was defeated for re-election by Sweeney, still has two years left in his current Senate term.  Joseph Roberts (D-Camden), the Speaker since 2006, did not seek re-election to the Assembly.

Seven new members — Anthony Bucco, Jr. (R-Boonton), Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), Domenick DiCicco (R-Franklin Twp.), Angel Fuentes (D-Camden), Charles Mainor (D-Jersey City), Donald Norcross (D-Camden) and Robert Schroeder (R-Washington) – will take their oaths as new members of the Assembly.

Democrats have a 23-17 majority in the Senate; special elections were held last November in two districts and both were retained by the parties that held them previously.  In the Assembly, Republicans picked up one seat in the last election and Democrats now have a 57-33 majority.

Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen) will be the new Senate Majority Leader.  Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) will take Buono’s place as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) will replace Sarlo at the helm of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Joseph Cryan (D-Union), the Democratic State Chairman, will become the new Assembly Majority Leader.  He replaces Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), who made an unsuccessful bid for Speaker.

Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) and Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) will serve as Senate and Assembly Minority Leader, respectively.

The 214th Legislature will serve one week while Democrat Jon Corzine is governor, and the remaining 103 weeks under Republican Gov. Christopher Christie.

The legislative leadership has scheduled a 10:30 AM news conference to discuss their plans for the upcoming session.

214th Legislature set to organize at noon