Some New Jersey lawmakers have received plum committee assignments for the new two-year legislative session.

Others who openly bucked Democratic leaders have been relegated to the bench.

The biggest loser appears to be Assemblyman John McKeon, who was stripped of the Environmental Committee chairmanship and dumped from the panel after he backed Democratic leader Joe Cryan in a failed attempt to unseat Sheila Oliver, the first black female speaker of the lower house.

Senate President Steve Sweeney replaced Barbara Buono as majority leader and knocked her down a peg, to vice chair, of the Legislative Oversight Committee.

Both Sweeney and Buono have taken initial steps to position themselves for future runs at statewide office.

Statehouse veteran Sen. Ray Lesniak says power shifts are inevitable after leadership challenges.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)