Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008. Her written work and data journalism has appeared in online and print outlets including The (Macon) Telegraph, Creative Loafing and

Georgia senator wants to silence Gold Dome liars

By: - February 19, 2020

A Georgia state lawmaker says people should be muzzled if they’re caught lying to senators who are trying to tend to the people’s business at the Capitol. So State Sen. Jeff Mullis said Tuesday he wants a ban on any new testimony from people who have lied to him and other lawmakers during hearings on […]

Georgia House rejects some of governor’s proposed budget cuts

By: - February 18, 2020

Georgia’s House is set to vote Wednesday on a short-term spending plan to pay for state services through June. 30. And House members aren’t supportive of many of the cuts proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp to mental health, training for future rural doctors, accountability courts and other line items department heads set for elimination in […]

Georgia counties watch state budget process warily for shifting expenses

By: - February 18, 2020

The state of Georgia and its counties split the cost for all kinds of things, from 4-H clubs, to health department dentistry to public defense lawyers. That’s why county leaders these days are watching the action at the Capitol in Atlanta carefully as lawmakers consider trimming the state’s share of some community-based programs. The House, […]

Rural Georgia fury over power plants burning railroad ties spurs legislation

By: - February 12, 2020

Folks in a pair of northeast Georgia counties knew two new wood-burning power plants might mean nuisances or pollution — but they also knew the plant owners could be valuable taxpayers. But the noise, the chemical-laced logs and state environmental citations angered people enough in a rural area north of Athens that now some influential […]

Georgia lawmakers put a hold on the calendar to zero in on budget

By: and - February 6, 2020

Fighting temptation to rush through their 40 days of lawmaking in Atlanta in order to hit the campaign trail in early April, Georgia legislators voted Tuesday to postpone full meetings in the House and Senate chambers until Feb. 18. It’s the first such extended break in the General Assembly’s calendar since lawmakers needed time to […]

Carrying hemp? You might need to carry a license for that

By: - February 6, 2020

After Georgia’s 2019 legalization of hemp, the low-THC, no-high cousin of marijuana, some prosecutors stopped pursuing small illegal weed cases because they can’t easily tell the difference between the two. In response, lawmakers in the Georgia House are mulling a requirement that everybody who’s legally carrying a green, leafy substance in the cannabis family better […]

Budget stalemate bogs down legislation to tamp down jury awards

By: - February 5, 2020

Georgia leaders boast it’s the “No. 1 state for business,” slapping the brand on stickers, websites, photo-op backdrops and peppering it in political speeches. But some business-backed groups with members that tend to get sued complain that civil courts in Georgia are more likely than other places in the country to hand out big judgments […]

Ga. lawmakers push to end ‘subsidizing’ coal ash imports

By: - February 5, 2020

Georgia will require local governments to collect more money from coal-fired power producers that are dumping toxic ash in their community, under a bill gaining traction in the state Senate. Lately, it’s cheaper to bury household garbage in Georgia than to bury coal ash, which can contain toxins like boron and arsenic. “In essence, the […]

Georgians might get to vote, in time, on springing forward, falling backward

By: - February 4, 2020

Every time it’s time for clocks to spring forward or fall back, state Rep. Wes Cantrell knows his constituents will ask him to stop the seasonal schedule shakeup.  And he’ll have to explain again that powerful forces – from Congress to businesses to organizers of sports played during summer vacation – are set in their […]

Ga. freight commission plans more reliance on rail, money yet to roll in

By: - January 30, 2020

A joint state House-Senate study commission agreed Thursday that Georgia should spend money to try and speed freight trains more effectively around the state. But with Gov. Brian Kemp mandating budget cuts, the money is likely to roll out slowly for projects that deliver things like more efficient railroad crossings and better access to industry. […]

Georgia Senate committee not champing at the bit for race track

By: - January 30, 2020

Supporters of horse racing and wagering in Georgia for decades have pressed the state Legislature to legalize parimutuel betting and open the gate to horse tracks. Lawmakers from both the state’s legislative chambers pondered the possibilities of expanding legalized gambling during study committee hearings last fall. But now that the 2020 General Assembly is officially […]

State budget cuts threaten support for juvenile detainee transition

By: - January 28, 2020

The leader of Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice said proposed cuts of about 150 vacant jobs in his department wouldn’t force him to change operations. After years of changes to state law under so-called criminal justice reform, his youth detention centers are about one-third vacant. But some people worry that cutting the budget for the […]