Mark Niesse

Georgia government reporter

Mark Niesse covers Georgia government. He previously covered DeKalb government and Atlanta schools. Before coming to the AJC, he worked for The Associated Press and The Daily Report.

Latest from Mark Niesse

Bill to replace Georgia voting machines introduced
 A broad elections bill introduced Thursday would replace Georgia’s electronic voting system with touchscreens that print ballots before they’re counted. The printed ballots would create a paper trail to check the accuracy of election results. Georgia’s current direct-recording electronic voting machines lack a...

Posted: 18 hours ago

A broad elections bill introduced Thursday would replace Georgia’s electronic voting system with touchscreens that print ballots before they’re counted. The printed ballots would create a paper trail to check the accuracy of election results. Georgia’s current direct-recording electronic voting machines lack a...
Georgia bill seeks in-state cultivation, sale of medical marijuana
 Legislation filed Thursday would allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to patients in Georgia. The proposal calls for medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the state’s rising number of registered patients — more than 8,400 so far. The drug would be legally grown, manufactured, tested, tracked and distributed for the first...

Posted: a day ago

Legislation filed Thursday would allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to patients in Georgia. The proposal calls for medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the state’s rising number of registered patients — more than 8,400 so far. The drug would be legally grown, manufactured, tested, tracked and distributed for the first...
2 Republicans advance to runoff for South Georgia House seat
 Two Republican candidates will face off in a runoff election next month for a South Georgia seat in the state House of Representatives. None of the four candidates in the race won a majority in Tuesday’s special election for House District 176. The seat became open when former Gov. Nathan Deal appointed state Rep. Jason Shaw to the...

Posted: 2 days ago

Two Republican candidates will face off in a runoff election next month for a South Georgia seat in the state House of Representatives. None of the four candidates in the race won a majority in Tuesday’s special election for House District 176. The seat became open when former Gov. Nathan Deal appointed state Rep. Jason Shaw to the...
Georgia bill aims to open elections to more third-party candidates
 A bill introduced in the Georgia House would make it easier for independent and third-party candidates to appear on the ballot. The measure, House Bill 191, would reduce the number of signatures required for candidates to seek office. Georgia has some of the most restrictive ballot-access laws in the country. Currently, candidates...

Posted: 2 days ago

A bill introduced in the Georgia House would make it easier for independent and third-party candidates to appear on the ballot. The measure, House Bill 191, would reduce the number of signatures required for candidates to seek office. Georgia has some of the most restrictive ballot-access laws in the country. Currently, candidates...
Marriage age could rise to 17 in Georgia
 Young couples  might have to wait until they’re 17 years old to get married in Georgia. A bill introduced in the Georgia House would raise the minimum marriage age from 16 to 17 with parental consent. If approved, Georgia would join 11 other states where couples have to be 17 or older to marry, according to information from the ...

Posted: 3 days ago

Young couples might have to wait until they’re 17 years old to get married in Georgia. A bill introduced in the Georgia House would raise the minimum marriage age from 16 to 17 with parental consent. If approved, Georgia would join 11 other states where couples have to be 17 or older to marry, according to information from the ...
Georgia House backs bill to let local power companies sell internet
 The Georgia House voted unanimously Monday to expand internet access in rural areas by allowing local electricity cooperatives to sell online service. The legislation, House Bill 23, would permit Georgia’s 41 electric membership corporations to offer high-speed internet service as well as power. EMCs often serve sparsely populated areas...

Posted: 3 days ago

The Georgia House voted unanimously Monday to expand internet access in rural areas by allowing local electricity cooperatives to sell online service. The legislation, House Bill 23, would permit Georgia’s 41 electric membership corporations to offer high-speed internet service as well as power. EMCs often serve sparsely populated areas...
Watch what’s next: Georgia might tax Netflix and downloads
 Possibly coming soon to a screen near you: a tax on Netflix and just about everything else you download or stream. Georgia lawmakers, coaxed by dozens of lobbyists swarming the state Capitol, are pushing for a tax on digital video, books, music and video games. That means you’d pay more for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Kindle...

Posted: 4 days ago

Possibly coming soon to a screen near you: a tax on Netflix and just about everything else you download or stream. Georgia lawmakers, coaxed by dozens of lobbyists swarming the state Capitol, are pushing for a tax on digital video, books, music and video games. That means you’d pay more for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Kindle...
Kemp’s proposal sparks Georgia Medicaid waiver debate
 What to do about Georgia’s thousands of poor adults without health coverage sparked a wave of debate Friday, one day after Gov. Brian Kemp was quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution embarking on plans to address it. Democrats decried Kemp’s plan to spend $1 million on researching and developing a more conservative Georgia...

Posted: 6 days ago

What to do about Georgia’s thousands of poor adults without health coverage sparked a wave of debate Friday, one day after Gov. Brian Kemp was quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution embarking on plans to address it. Democrats decried Kemp’s plan to spend $1 million on researching and developing a more conservative Georgia...
Competing Georgia bills protect or remove Confederate monuments
 Confederate monuments are back on state lawmakers’ minds, with two Atlanta-area Democrats proposing measures that would remove them from prominent public places, while a North Georgia Republican wants to add more protections for the controversial markers. The bills were filed after Georgia narrowly avoided a clash between white...

Posted: 6 days ago

Confederate monuments are back on state lawmakers’ minds, with two Atlanta-area Democrats proposing measures that would remove them from prominent public places, while a North Georgia Republican wants to add more protections for the controversial markers. The bills were filed after Georgia narrowly avoided a clash between white...
Judge removes Georgia representative from office over disputed election
 A judge wrote in an order Friday that state Rep. Chris Erwin is no longer a member of the Georgia House because his election must be redone a third time. Erwin, a Republican from Homer, loses his northeast Georgia House seat while the election is in doubt, according to state law. He took office Jan. 14. Senior Superior Court Judge...

Posted: 6 days ago

A judge wrote in an order Friday that state Rep. Chris Erwin is no longer a member of the Georgia House because his election must be redone a third time. Erwin, a Republican from Homer, loses his northeast Georgia House seat while the election is in doubt, according to state law. He took office Jan. 14. Senior Superior Court Judge...
Georgia voters suing for paper ballots win appeal to 11th Circuit
 A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a judge’s ruling that said Georgia’s electronic voting system poses a “concrete risk” to secure elections. The decision from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows the voting system lawsuit to move forward.  The plaintiffs, who are election integrity advocates...

Posted: 7 days ago

A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a judge’s ruling that said Georgia’s electronic voting system poses a “concrete risk” to secure elections. The decision from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows the voting system lawsuit to move forward.  The plaintiffs, who are election integrity advocates...