Christmas is over. For some it was a time and period of joy and family reunion. For others it was an ordeal; no family visits, severely restricted activities, and no family dinners. But now it’s time to look to the new year which starts, believe it or not, tomorrow.

The first challenge we have as a country is the contested election and the possible activities that could occur on Jan 6. While the electoral college has determined that Joe Biden is the president-elect, President Trump has continued to charge significant fraud in the November election. Although the courts have elected to not address his charges, the court of last result happens in less than a week. Here the Congress is presented with the results of the electoral college and they have the opportunity to object to the results.

Objections to individual state returns must be made by at least one member of the House of Representatives and one member from the Senate. If this occurs, the joint session of Congress recesses and the two houses separate and debate the question for a maximum of two hours. They then vote as separate houses to accept or reject the objection. An objection to a state electoral vote must be approved by both houses in order for any contested votes to be excluded.

If after all the objections have been heard and neither Joe Biden nor President Trump have achieved 270 electoral votes, then the president is selected by the House of Representatives and the vice president is selected by the Senate. Each State delegation gets one vote. Thus 26 votes representing 26 states are needed for one of the two individuals to be named president. The same procedure happens in the Senate where they select the vice president. And yes, while not likely, we could have a Democrat president and a Republican vice president.

And then the next week, a little closer to home, the Texas Legislature meets for its biannual 140 day session. A couple of important things here. First, the Texas Legislature can only meet once every two years and their session cannot exceed the 140 days. Second, they must produce a two year balanced budget for the state of Texas. And as my former boss Bill McGowan, who founded and was head of MCI Telecommunications, said, “I don’t sleep much at night when the Legislation is in session because no telling what they will do next.”

Property tax remains a big complaint of many citizens. Will the Legislation address this again after their failed attempt last time to fix the problem? Education is always high on the list of action items, which should become even more important now that our school systems have had to address almost a year of trying to educate using remote and in class  instruction. With the effects of COVID on the economy, balancing the budget may be even more difficult than usual. And then there are the usual attempted bill submissions from various members that take up time to process but generally fall into the category of “No way and you must be kidding.”

So the next two weeks may end up being pretty exciting! But believe it or not, things are starting to look better. Hang on for another three to six months and this mess should be cleared up and we can go back to our “normal” life. And “Just think, when we were kids we wanted to be older ... this is just not what we expected.”

Jerry Hogan is a former Rockwall County judge and can be reached at 214-394-4033.

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