The author of more than 200 pieces of legislation that have been signed into law, Senator Diegnan is in his 21st year as a state legislator.
He joined the Senate on May 9, 2016 – filling a vacancy – and won re-election in November of the same year. The senator previously served eight terms in the state Assembly.
Senator Diegnan is a former Deputy Speaker and Parliamentarian of the General Assembly, a former Chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and a former Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee.
He currently chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, serves on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and serves on the Senate Select Committee on New Jersey Transit.
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 County College, Senator Diegnan has sponsored numerous bills supporting education including the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJSTARS) program, which provides scholarships to qualified high school students to attend county college and universities.
Senator Diegnan wrote landmark legislation that reformed New Jersey’s teacher tenure law and protected the bargaining rights of teachers while ensuring accountability in the classroom.
His 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 2018 and 2019 national rankings.
Senator Diegnan led legislation to end the dangers that synthetic plastic microbeads commonly used in personal care products posed to New Jersey’s waterways and maritime life. Congress adopted the “NJ Microbeads Law,” which President Obama signed into law in 2015.
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Senator Diegnan authored legislation to combat Personal Protective Equipment shortages in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The youngest of seven children, Senator Diegnan was born to parents who emigrated from Ireland in the late 1920s and who experienced the Great Depression firsthand.
All of 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 44 years, are the proud parents of daughters Heather and Tara, and proud grandparents of Vanessa, Alexa, Brooke and Andrew.
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 Purpose Heart, Distinguished Service Award, 2018
Foreign Language Educators of NJ, 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 & 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