Donna Lowry

Capitol Correspondent

Donna Lowry is an award-winning journalist with a passion for storytelling. She currently serves as Capitol correspondent for GPB’s Lawmakers.

Donna spent nearly 30 years at WXIA-TV, 11Alive News, the NBC affiliate, where she created the acclaimed Class Act and Class Notes segments, which allowed her to honor hundreds of metro Atlanta teachers while giving her a unique view of education in action.

Most recently, she served as chief communications officer for Fulton County Schools. She also worked as director of communications for the Cobb County School District. Both managerial positions allowed her to continue spotlighting innovative, creative and exceptional news in education.

Her work has garnered her seven Emmys and three Gabriel Awards. She has also won prestigious honors for her work from the National Association of Black Journalists, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, Georgia Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). Her educational background in journalism began at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she received a degree in Mass Communications/Administration and Management.

After a short stint in radio at KQV in Pittsburgh, she obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Her professional affiliations include the Atlanta Press Club, the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, the Atlanta Association of Media Women and the Southeastern Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS SE).

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Black Women Film Network, the Student Production Awards committee for NATAS SE, and the Marketing Committee for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. Her previous board or advisory positions include the following non-profits: Sheltering Arms Child Care Early Learning and Family Centers; West End Boys and Girls Clubs; Old National Christian Academy; Save the Children; Georgia Association of Family Daycare Providers; the Statewide Belt Task Force; and, the Georgia School-Age Care Association.

Donna is in her tenth year as a Girl Scout Leader and has led troops of girls ranging in age from kindergarten through 12th grade. Her community service affiliations include the Magnolia Chapter of Links, Inc.; the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America; and, the Nu Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Donna and her husband, Army Major (Ret) Bennet W. Reid, Jr., live in the City of South Fulton and are the parents of three daughters.

GPB

Sine Die is over and so is the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Lawmakers considered almost a hundred bills over a period of 14 hours on Tuesday.

GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler was there for the whole 40 days of the session, and he gave continuing updates to On Second Thought listeners throughout those weeks. Lawmakers capitol correspondent Donna Lowry provided ongoing coverage for GPB television viewers. They both stopped by the show after Sine Die to recap the closing hours of the session.


Donna Lowry | GPB

The House has passed a substitute to a controversial bill that would give the state control of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

In the waning days of the 2019 legislative session, a "franken-bill" of several transportation priorities combined into one bill returns to the Senate after a vote of 104-70.

Donna Lowry / GPB

Georgia first lady Marty Kemp took center stage at a press conference Thursday to announce a way to enhance the state’s roadways with Georgia plants.  It’s a partnership between the agriculture and transportation departments.

Donna Lowry

Families seeking help using medical marijuana in Georgia are frustrated about a bill that would make it legal for them to obtain it. They expressed their frustration at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“This medicine (cannabis oil) saved my life,” said Kyle White, who has used the oil to treat post-traumatic stress disorder he developed from his stint in Afghanistan medically. His step-daughter also takes medicine for autism and monoconidial disease.

Donna Lowry

It looks like Georgia’s certified teachers could get the full $3,000 pay raise Gov. Brian Kemp promised.

Early Thursday morning the Senate Appropriations added back the $225 taken away in the House version – and still made sure librarians and counselors will get the hike.

“I think it’s time. I think it’s time that to do the pay raise just as the governor has promised,” said Chairman of Senate Appropriations Sen. Jack Hill.

Donna Lowry / GPB

The Georgia House has a new representative who will only be on the job for the last nine days of the 2019 session.

James Burchett (R-Waycross) was sworn into House seat 176 Monday morning before work in the chamber got underway.

Burchett won a runoff election last week to fill the seat vacated by Jason Shaw.  Governor Nathan Deal appointed Shaw to the Public Service Commission.

We're in the final weeks of the 2019 legislative session, and lawmakers are not going out quietly. They're debating changes to Georgia's abortion laws. House Bill 481, otherwise known as the "heartbeat" bill, already passed the House last week. Republican Rep. Ed Setzler of Acworth, the bill's sponsor, says he aims to prevent doctors from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler and "Lawmakers" Capitol correspondent Donna Lowry stopped by "On Second Thought" with an update on that legislation and other bills making their way through the Gold Dome.


The Georgia General Assembly session begins on January 14, 2019.
Ken Lund / Creative Commons

By the end of crossover day, bills must be clear of one chamber or the other to remain in play for the rest of the legislative session. The state House and Senate passed a wave of legislation by the deadline, including a "heartbeat" abortion bill. GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler and Capitol correspondent for GPB TV's "Lawmakers," Donna Lowry, joined "On Second Thought" to discuss this week in Georgia politics.


Donna Lowry / GPB

The Georgia House on Thursday passed what could become the state’s first hate crimes legislation. Georgia is one of five states that does not currently have such a bill.

“Hate can be used as a tool for evil to undermine the law and order that we take for granted some times,” Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula).

Skylar Nicholson / GPB

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has thrown down the gauntlet over a bill that would allow the state to take control of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

“I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s what I call an act of war,” Bottoms said during an interview for GPB’s Lawmakers show which airs  7 p.m. Monday.  “When you live in a glass house, you shouldn’t throw stones.  The state has had its own challenges.”

Senate feed screenshot

Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank stopped by the Georgia Capitol on Thursday to thank lawmakers and fans across Georgia for their support of the teams Major League Soccer championship.

Donna Lowry / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Thursday a boost for Georgia’s workforce. Solar energy will power 400 new jobs in Early County, in the southwest part of the state.

Donna Lowry / GPB

The Georgia House expects to take up the FY 2020 budget Thursday, and right now, it looks like teachers may get a little less than the promised $3,000 pay raises because of an expansion of the definition of a teacher.

The four-day week for lawmakers following Monday’s Presidents Day holiday ended with the General Assembly finishing on Day 20, which is the halfway point on the 40-day session. 

The first hurdles of overhauling state’s voting system dominated the week. Lawmakers will continue to wrestle over specifics of the legislation in the coming weeks.

Ten years after a hit-and-run driver killed a Cobb County man police investigators still have no idea who struck him, but Thursday at the state Capitol his family received some comfort in knowing they have helped future victims.

The Senate passed SB 1 known as "C.J.'s Law" after Charlie "CJ" Jones, 23, who while walking in North Cobb on Piedmont Road and Rio Drive was struck by a car in which the driver kept going.  Jones remained in the street, and someone else struck him again.

GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday signed his first law since taking office.

"This was a team effort from the general assembly, law enforcement, educators and concerned citizens to do the right thing and help save kid’s lives," Kemp said.

Senate Bill 25 was the first measure Republicans passed under the Kemp Administration, and the law makes it illegal for oncoming traffic to drive past a stopped school bus in a road divided by a turn lane.

GPB

Georgia has a new tool to help those suffering from mental health issues.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced an app to go along with the Georgia Crisis and Access Line or GCAL. The hotline, which launched in 2006, receives almost 1,000 calls each day. Now, the state is adding a GCAL app.

GPB

Rep. Matt Barton (R Calhoun) called his first day as the newest member of the Georgia House “Lucky 13.”  That’s because he’s beginning his first term on the day 13 of the legislative session.

GPB

The Senate passed its first significant legislation Thursday to clarify a law about when vehicles must stop for school buses.

For years, Georgia law required motorists – on both sides of the road – to stop when a school bus extends its stop arm unless the way had a grassy or concrete median, and in that case, oncoming traffic could continue to move.

However, last year on the last day of the legislative session lawmakers passed a bill allowing vehicles to catch a school bus if the road had a turning lane.

GPB News

A move toward expanding school choice is expected to come up during this legislative session because both  Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan campaigned on the issue.

School choice can range from private to charters to magnet schools. Each are funded differently.

GPB News

Voters in Banks, Stephens, and Habersham counties are hoping three is the final number.

For the third time since December, voters will have to go to the polls to decide the race between incumbent Rep. Dan Gasaway and former Banks County School Superintendent Chris Erwin.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

As the hearings continue on the governor’s proposed budget, among the proposals gaining wide-ranging, bi-partisan support is the $69 million proposed for school safety.

In Fulton County Schools, thanks to voter support of SPLOST or the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, the district is taking school security to the next level.

“The days of James Bond sci-fi is here in Fulton County Schools,” said Shannon Flounnory, the school system's executive director of safety and security.

Georgia’s high-speed internet deserts in the rural areas of the state appear closer to getting help.

State House Committee on Economic Development and Tourism held a hearing Monday on two bills that would authorize telephone companies and Electric Membership Cooperatives to provide broadband.

GPB

At the state Capitol, it’s time to take a deeper dive into Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed budget.  GPB's "Lawmakers" will continue work on the amended budget for the fiscal year 2019 and the general budget for the fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1, 2019.

Hours after his swearing-in on Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order on sexual harassment.  The Senate also passed rules on the same issue for its members.

Among other things, Kemp's order combines the complaint system for sexual harassment into one system, rather than several departments handling the issues raised by employees.

The governor's order includes: