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Welcome to Hangout NJ-- the state's Web site for kids! In this Government section, you will find lots of information about how New Jersey government works. Use the "Meet the Governor" link (above) to learn more about Governor Phil Murphy, and his work.

State Government - State Constitution

The first constitution of the state of New Jersey was written in 1776. The constitution was written during the Revolutionary War to create a basic government framework for the state. It is different from the United States Constitution, which provides the structure for the government of the whole country.

The constitution has been replaced twice to address problems and new issues within government. In the mid-1800s New Jersey citizens wanted a more democratic state government. The 1844 constitution separated the powers of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. A bill of rights was included in the constitution. The new constitution also gave the people (instead of the legislature) the right to elect the governor.

Today, the constitution can be changed through amendments. Amendments can be proposed by the legislature. Three-fifths of both houses of the legislature must approve an amendment. It can also pass by receiving a majority vote for two straight years. Voters must also approve amendments in the general election.

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