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The Legislature is the branch of government that makes new laws and changes old ones. It is made up of 120 members in 40 districts in New Jersey. These men and women represent the views and concerns of the people in their part of the state.
The New Jersey Legislature is divided into two bodies called Houses. The Houses of the New Jersey Legislature are the Senate and the General Assembly. There are 40 Senators and 80 General Assembly members, who are elected by the voters in their legislative districts. The members of the two Houses also are divided into political groups, called parties. The two major parties are Democrats and Republicans. The group having the largest number of members is called the majority party. The other group is the minority party.
Our State Legislature makes laws only for New Jersey, just as Pennsylvania’s Legislature makes laws only for its state. Congress meets in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and creates laws for all fifty states.
A State Senator must be at least 30 years old and must have lived in New Jersey for at least four years. A member of the General Assembly must be at least 21 years old and must have lived in the state for at least two years. Both must live in their legislative districts for one year before the election.
New Jersey is divided into 40 legislative districts. The people of each district elect one Senator and two General Assembly members. Each district has about the same number of people in it, so each legislator represents about the same number of people. New boundary lines for the districts are drawn every ten years after an official count or census has been taken of the people and where they live. The shapes of the districts may be changed to show changes in the population. City districts are usually small because more people live in small areas. Suburban and rural legislative districts may be very large, which shows that the people live farther apart.
The Houses usually meet on Mondays and Thursdays all year long. Meetings to vote on proposed laws, called bills, are voting sessions. The Legislature meets in the State House in Trenton, New Jersey's capital city. In most years both Houses take a break, or recess, during July and August.
Tour and program availability is limited - especially in the spring. Reservations should be made as far in advance as possible.
To ensure a safe and meaningful experience, tour groups are limited to 50 people and Make-A-Law! programs are limited to 35, with a minimum of 15 participants. If your group is larger, we will arrange for multiple programs or tours.
Before you call to book a tour, please be prepared with the following information:
Reservations can be made by calling the Tour Office at 609-847-3150 between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.
Yes. A confirmation email will include information about your tour, programs, publication material, and bus parking information.
All programs and tours are offered free of charge.
Outdoor picnic tables are available on a first come, first served basis at the New Jersey State Museum.
Older students and adults are to pass through a magnetometer. All bags, including lunches and backpacks, are subject to inspection and/or electronic screening and therefore are discouraged. Full security guidelines are sent as part of tour confirmation materials. All adults must have a photo ID to enter the Capitol Complex.
The Tour Office provides several free publications for school groups. Publications also can be ordered by submitting the Publication Request Order Form included in confirmation materials. The order will be ready when you arrive for your tour.
The Governor and legislators do not routinely greet visiting school groups at the capitol. You can invite your legislator to your school by contacting them directly. You can find your legislators on the New Jersey Legislature website.
Please report cancellations directly to the Tour Office as soon as possible. For groups that would like to reschedule, the Tour Office staff will do their best to make other arrangements. The more advance notice, the more options for rescheduling.
If your school closes due to inclement weather on the day of your trip, please call the Tour Office as soon as possible. If the State House closes due to inclement weather, a staff member will call the contact person on your reservation. Under both circumstances, the Tour Office staff will do their best to find another date and time to reschedule your group.
No. Souvenirs are available for purchase at the State Museum, Old Barracks Museum, and Trent House.
Tours and programs at other nearby attractions can further your appreciation of state and local history. Each organization must be contacted separately to make tour plans.
Information about these and other local sites is available on the Local Attractions page.
Noteworthy sites on the State House grounds are highlighted on the Around the State House page.
The State House Tour Program operates under the auspices of the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services Office of Public Information, which prides itself on providing accurate and unbiased information pertaining to the New Jersey Legislature.
As of March 22, 2022, all Covid-19 restrictions, including proof of vaccination, have been lifted from the State House Complex.
The State House is located at 125 West State Street in Trenton. Tours begin in the adjacent State House Annex located at 145 West State Street.
State House security is maintained by the New Jersey State Police. All adult visitors are required to go through magnetometers and show a valid photo ID to enter the complex.
Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 10 am, 11 am, noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm. All tours require advance registration and begin in the State House Annex. To make a reservation, call the Tour Office at 609-847-3150.
The State House is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays, including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. (Please note that holidays occurring on a Saturday are observed on the preceding Friday and holidays occurring on a Sunday are observed on Monday.)
Yes, reservations are required to tour the State House Complex. Please call the Tour Office to make a reservation at 609-847-3150.
No, self-guided tours are not available. Staff and volunteer tour guides escort visitors through the building, explaining its history, art and architecture, and the legislative process.
Limited free parking is available in the capitol parking garage on weekdays. The garage entrance on West State Street is located between the New Jersey State Library (185 W State Street) and the New Jersey State House Annex (145 W State Street). The garage can also be accessed from the rear entrance to the Capitol Complex, off Route 29. Proceed to the guard booth and have a picture ID ready to gain access to the garage. Metered, on-street parking is available along West State Street. Several pay lots are located within walking distance. Parking for wheelchair users is available on West State Street and in the garage.
Visit our directions page for more information.
Tours begin in the State House Annex (145 W State Street) in the first-floor lobby.
All tours are offered free of charge.
You will see the legislative and executive portions of the State House including the General Assembly and Senate Chambers, Rotunda, and other significant interior spaces. Visit the building highlights page for more information.
Photography for personal use is allowed with the exception of the Governor’s Reception Room.
The Tour Office strives to accommodate guests with disabilities. Please call the Tour Office at 609-847-3150 for specific arrangements or visit the Visitors with Disabilities page for more information.
The Governor and legislators do not routinely greet visitors. You can find contact information for your legislator on the New Jersey Legislature website.
Yes, we can stamp your passport or provide an individual souvenir postcard to memorialize your visit to the New Jersey State House.
We welcome day camps, faith-based youth groups, and scouts. A visit to the State House supports a Girl Scout badge for Brownies (Celebrating Community), Juniors (Inside Government), Cadettes (Finding Common Ground), Seniors (Behind the Ballot), and Ambassadors (Public Policy). Potential Boy Scout merit badges include Citizenship in the Nation, American Heritage, and Citizenship in the Community.
Staff is available to answer questions between 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday by calling 609-847-3150 or by emailing NJ State House Tours.
Casual eateries are located nearby, primarily on Warren Street. Picnicking on the grounds is permitted.
Our capital city is rich in historic sites and cultural attractions.
Designated areas on the capitol grounds are available for wedding photography. To obtain a permit and for more information, contact a representative of the Public Use Program at 609-847-3135.
Volunteers need to conduct a minimum of 12 tours annually to ensure being in "active" status.
Volunteers have assigned courtesy parking spaces on level 3 of the capitol parking garage. Additional spaces are available in visitor parking.
In on-site sessions, volunteers learn tour content and how to engage visitors, followed by shadowing professional guides. Tour staff will accompany volunteers on their initial attempts and periodically thereafter in order to provide constructive feedback. Volunteers may also attend classes to become Make-A-Law! program facilitators.
We typically have approximately 20 to 25 members in our community volunteer corps.
No. Volunteers are to present themselves in appropriate business casual attire, have comfortable walking shoes, and wear an official identification badge when in the Capitol Complex.
Volunteers for the Office of Legislative Services are to refrain from activity that gives the appearance of partiality to a political party, candidate, or pending public policy initiative.
As of March 22, 2022, all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted from the State House Complex.