The office of the President pro Tempore is decorated in the rich red shades that dominate the Senate Chamber and contains several Renaissance Revival antiques once used by previous state leaders.
The President pro Tempore is the central figure in the policy-making and politics of the State Senate and is elected by a vote of all the Senators as the leader of the Upper House. He or she is responsible for its administration, policy agenda, and its relationships with the Assembly and the Executive Branch.
There is a President of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor. Under the Constitution, he or she exercises only one function in the house: the right to cast a vote in the case of a tie. By tradition, he or she may preside at ceremonial occasions upon invitation.
The President pro Tempore chairs the Senate Rules Committee, working with the four other committee members to confirm certain appointments made by the Governor. The committee is also responsible for assigning senators to various committees and appointing committee chairpersons. It then refers legislation to the standing or temporary committees for hearings. Senators are elected to serve on the Rules Committee by a vote of the full Senate membership.
The Rules Committee establishes standing Senate Committees at the beginning of each two-year legislative session. Since it is not possible to discuss each bill at length on the Senate floor, the Senate Committees are in charge of analyzing proposed legislation before it is sent to the Senate floor for debate among all members.
By communicating your ideas to your Senators, you are enabling them to propose legislation that addresses your interests.