TRENTON – New Jersey voters are one step closer to choosing a Lieutenant Governor as a measure sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner to create the Office of Lieutenant Governor received Senate committee approval today.
“It is clearly time for New Jersey to bring its gubernatorial line of succession up to date,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Given the fact that in the last five years we have more Acting Governors than Governors elected by the entire state, there is a definite need for an elected Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey. The people of this state deserve to have a say in who serves in the Governor’s place when he must leave office early.”
Senator Turner’s bill, SCR-2, would create the constitutionally mandated office of Lieutenant Governor that would be elected on the same ticket as the Governor and would serve a concurrent four year term. The Lieutenant Governor would serve as Acting Governor when the Governor goes out of town and would assume the office until the end of the current term in case of death, resignation or removal. The proposed constitutional amendment would need to be approved by the voters before it would become law.
“We were lucky with the last two gubernatorial resignations that we had Senate Presidents who were more than qualified to become Acting Governor,” added Senator Turner. “With an elected Lieutenant Governor, we will put into place a line of succession that maintains the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of state government and ensure that every New Jersey resident has a say in who is sitting behind the Governor’s desk.”
Senator Turner also noted that 42 currently have an elected Lieutenant Governor and an additional three states have an elected Secretary of State who is the first in line of succession.
Under the bill, candidates for the office of Lieutenant Governor would have the same requirements as candidates for the office of Governor: be at least 30 years old; a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years; and a resident of the State for at least 7 years leading up to the election. The Lieutenant Governor would also be subject to the identical dual office holding restrictions as the Governor.
The resolution passed the Senate State Government Committee by a vote of 3-0. It now goes to the full Senate for their consideration.