Power Brokers Rule New Jersey Legislature

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TRENTON—Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver was chosen as the next General Assembly Speaker on Monday.

Oliver’s full-time employment as the Essex County administrator is at the whim of Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.


Her appointment came as part of a move to depose Senate President Richard Codey, who will be replaced by Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney, a close ally of South Jersey political boss George Norcross.

Democratic senators convened behind closed doors to oust Codey, who served as governor for a year following the resignation of disgraced ex-Gov. Jim McGreevey. Codey was forced out of a campaign for election to a full term in 2005 by Wall Street billionaire Jon Corzine, whose money earned the support of power brokers like Norcross, Sen. Raymond Lesniak and convicted former state Sen. John Lynch.

Six Senate committees and seven Assembly committees met Monday to move legislation before the end of the lame duck legislative session.

The two most talked about bills, marriage equality and medical marijuana, were not scheduled for any action on the first lame duck day, but members of both houses voted to put the lawmaking bodies under the control of the state’s top power brokers.

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