Can I allow users to PUBLISH articles in certain categories without giving them the ability to publish to any category. It seems that they can create articles but then the article requires someone with PUBLISH permission to actually publish the article.
We have a feature called Access Control List (ACL), with this
you can create
a user groups and assign them permissions to access, create, edit or delete
content or modify certains parts of your site like articles, categories, modules,
global configurations, etc.
For example, we have the user group "Author", in the screenshot you can see a
category called "Blog", in the "Permissions" tab we can allow or denied actions.
Here some docs: https://docs.joomla.org/ACL
Here a full example: https://docs.joomla.org/J3.x:Access_Control_List_Tutorial