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 General 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 NJ 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.


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 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