TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Sharpe James which would ban the practice of dual office-holding in New Jersey was approved by the Senate yesterday by a vote of 32-2, receiving final legislative approval.
“One of the first bills I put forward after being elected to the Senate in 1999 was a ban on dual office-holding,” said Senator James, D-Essex and Union. “As a former mayor of New Jersey’s largest city and a legislator, I know firsthand how difficult it is to fulfill the duties of both offices. I’m glad that we can finally take the steps needed to abolish this practice once and for all in New Jersey.”
The bill, S-3008, would prohibit members of the Legislatures, as well as county and municipal elected officials, from simultaneously holding an additional elective office. The bill would grandfather in elected officials serving in a dual capacity before February 1, 2008, as long as they continuously hold both elected offices. The bill stipulates that should an official lose an election or run for a new office (such as an Assemblyman running for a Senate seat), the official’s grandfathered status would cease.
“I know that New Jersey has more than enough talented, capable people to run for elected office,” said Senator James. “New Jersey is not brain-damaged to the point that one person must hold two elected positions. No one official should have to serve in more than one elected capacity, and be forced to respond to the needs of multiple constituencies. This bill will make sure that, from this point forward, elected leaders in the Garden State will devote their full energy only to one office.”
The bill was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 69-3 with 8 abstentions last week. It now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.