New Jersey Legislative Update
February 2022

The following report is from NJBMDA Lobbyist, Scot Mackey of MBI GluckShaw.

Did You Know?

The lumber and building materials industry employs more than 103,000 people in N.J.

Lobby Day

The NJBMDA Legislative Committee is currently planning our 2023 lobby day which will take place in Trenton on June 8th.

Republicans and Democrats Agree on New Legislative Map, Leaving Southern Democrats Disappointed

Democrats and Republicans charged with drawing new state legislative district boundaries came to an agreement in February on a compromise map that will be in place for the rest of the decade.

The map of the state’s 40 legislative districts was adopted by a 9-2 vote during a meeting at the Statehouse, with only former state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union) and Democratic commissioner Cosmo Cirillo objecting. It will likely allow Democrats to keep their majorities in the Senate and Assembly but creates new opportunities for Republicans — especially in South Jersey — while putting two pairs of longtime Democratic incumbents in districts together.

The map, will be in place beginning with the 2023 elections and remain in effect until a new map is adopted ahead of the 2031 elections. Its adoption was delayed by a year because the pandemic delayed the 2020 Census results.

The new boundaries put two rival Democratic power brokers — state Sens. Brian Stack and Nicholas Sacco, the mayors of neighboring Union City and North Bergen, respectively — together in one district comprised of towns in northern Hudson County. However, Sacco quickly announced his retirement.

State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex), who began his legislative career in the Assembly in 1974 and is the longest-serving state lawmaker in New Jersey history, is now in the same district as Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex), who has often been his political ally. It’s not yet clear whether both will run.

There was some dissatisfaction with the new state legislative district map.

Democrats originally planned to split Jersey City three ways, though that posed potential issues since the state Constitution bars splitting towns into more than one district. The exceptions are Jersey City and Newark, which are too populous for a single district.

Democrats had put together legal arguments in favor of again splitting Newark and Jersey City into three district. But when Jersey City Mayor Fulop wrote a letter to the commission suggesting he would file a legal challenge to a map that split Jersey City three ways. Democrats also had an iteration of a map that would have split Newark three ways.

Without the option to carve the state’s largest and heavily Democratic cities into three districts, Democrats found their options in Hudson County constrained, unable to find an acceptable way to keep Sacco and Stack in different districts while appeasing all their members’ interests and other map-making standards. An aggressive strategy that Democratic mapmakers believed could help the party pick up seats by the end of the decade fell apart.

This is the first time the state legislative redistricting commission has come to a bipartisan agreement on a map, and it provided a stark contrast to the acrimonious congressional redistricting that concluded in December.

Did You Know?

The lumber and building materials industry employs more than 103,000 people in N.J.

Did You Know?

The NJBMDA Legislative Committee is currently planning our 2023 lobby day. We will share more information once it is available.