The author of more than 230 bills that have been signed into law, Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. is in his 22nd year as a state legislator.
Senator Diegnan currently chairs the Senate Transportation Committee and serves on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
He served eight terms in the General Assembly before joining the Senate in 2016.
Senator Diegnan is a former Deputy Speaker and Parliamentarian of the General Assembly, where he also chaired the Education and Higher Education committees.
Senator Diegnan graduated from Seton Hall University in 1970, earned a juris doctorate at Seton Hall Law School in 1973, and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1974. He has a private law practice in South Plainfield.
A former instructor of law and accounting at Middlesex College, Senator Diegnan has sponsored numerous bills supporting education. They include the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJSTARS) program, which provides scholarships to qualified high school students to attend county colleges and universities. Senator Diegnan’s landmark legislation reformed New Jersey’s teacher tenure law, protecting the bargaining rights of teachers while ensuring accountability in the classroom.
Senator Diegnan’s legislation regarding sudden cardiac arrest, concussion and exertional heat stroke helped make New Jersey the country’s leader in health and safety policies for high school student-athletes, according to the Korey Stringer Institute’s national rankings.
Senator Diegnan led legislation ending dangers synthetic plastic microbeads commonly used in personal care products posed to state waterways and maritime life. Congress adopted his “New Jersey Microbeads Law,” which President Obama signed into law.
His legislation requiring New Jersey to implement an electric school bus program to provide students with a healthier and more environmentally friendly transportation is also now law.
In response to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care facilities statewide during the pandemic, Senator Diegnan authored legislation requiring long-term care facilities and hospitals to have PPE readily available in the event of a public health emergency. Another of his bills establishes a commission to create the New Jersey COVID19 Frontline and Healthcare Worker Memorial for those who valiantly fought and risked their lives battling the coronavirus.
The youngest of seven children, Senator Diegnan was born to parents who experienced the Great Depression firsthand after emigrating from Ireland in the late 1920s. The Diegnan children learned the value of hard work, family, and faith from their parents.
Senator Diegnan and his wife, Anita, to whom he has been wed for 46 years, are the proud parents of daughters Heather Paragano-Utt and Tara Webster, and proud grandparents of Vanessa, Alexa, Brooke, and Andrew.
The Arc of New Jersey, Legislator of the Year, 2022
Association of Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped, Legislator Award, 2021
New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians, Public Service Award, 2021
State Trooper Fraternal Association, Legislator of the Year, 2019 and 2020
Brain Injury Alliance, James & Sarah Brady Award for Public Service, 2019
Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey, Presidential Award, 2011 and 2019
Military Order of the Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Award, 2018
Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey, President’s Award, 2018
Education Law Center, Morheuser Humanitarian Award, 2016
New Jersey Biliteracy Association, Legislator of the Year, 2016
New Jersey Police Officers Brotherhood, Legislative Support Award, 2015
Association of Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped, Legislator of the Year, 2015
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, Legislator of the Year, 2015
New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Award, 2014
Middlesex County Education Association, Friend of Education Award, 2013
Middlesex County Good Scout Award, 2013
Peace Island Institute, Education Award, 2012
AFL-CIO Labor Council, Hubert H. Humphrey Friend of Labor Award, 2012
Friend of the YMCA Award, 2010
New Jersey Council of County Colleges, Legislative Excellence Award, 2008
ArtPride NJ, Distinguished Arts Advocate Award, 2008
Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Irishman of the Year, 2007