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.

Erick Requadt / U.S. Air Force

Georgia's new hate crimes law goes into effect this week. 

It means stiffer penalties for violence against a person based on things such as race, religion, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation and disabilities.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

With the historic 2020 legislative session drawing to a close, GPB News is live blogging the frenzied final day. Follow for all the latest.

10:15 p.m. - Sine Die!

That's it! The session is done.

9:45 p.m. - It will not look liked a blizzard of papers in the House.

Another casualty of the coronavirus at the Capitol will be a less-messy Sine Die.  House Speaker David Ralston told lawmakers not to throw papers into the air, despite the "time-honored tradition," because will be no one to pick them up.

There have been fewer people working under the Gold Dome during this shortened legislative session. Ralston suggested lawmakers begin cleaning out their desks.
 

8:38 p.m. - House passes budget 104 to 52.

The budget has passed and heads to the governor. 

8:20 p.m. - The House takes up the budget.

 The House is finally looking at 2021 budget, House BIll 793.

Appropriations Chair Terry England introduced the legislation.

"We have managed to do some truly remarkable work for our state," said England. "You have a conservative budget… while confronting the challenges in front of us."

The $25.9 billion spending plan was crafted with more than $2 billion in spending cuts, primarily in education.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced Wednesday the Senate’s version of a bill that would create a hate crimes statute in Georgia, setting up a tug-of-war with a House-backed measure that was passed more than a year ago.

Duncan said the four-page Senate bill would go further than the House bill.

GPB/Donna Lowry

Georgia state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday to finish the legislative session that was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Only 10 working days remain in the session. In that time, lawmakers need to pass a budget, including an 11-percent cut because of pandemic-related revenue losses.


GPB News

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact. 

Donna Lowry spoke with Cassie Marcelus, a Georgia nurse treating COVID-19 patients in New York, for an update in the pandemic hotspot last week.

 

GPB News

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact. 

Karla McKinney and Bill Mann, sister and brother, lost their 84-year-old mother and aunt to the coronavirus just six days apart. They spoke with GPB Lawmakers host Donna Lowry as they deal with death and grieve their family members.

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and flow.

GPB News

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact. 

Daryn Kagan from DarynKagan.com is using her website to spread good news in Georgia and all across the nation during the coronavirus outbreak. She talks about the importance of positive news at this time with GPB News's Donna Lowry.

GPB News

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact. 

Medical professionals from Atlanta have volunteered to go to New York City as part of an emergency response team where the coronavirus outbreak is the largest in the nation. Cassie Marcelus, a nurse, is part of a team assigned to a hospital in the Bronx. She describes her experience to GPB News reporter Donna Lowry. 

GPB News

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact. 

GPB Lawmakers host Donna Lowry spoke with Dr. Sally Goza, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, about the stresses of being at home with family for long periods of time.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order to close all public schools in Georgia beginning Wednesday. Schools from elementary through college and technical schools are included in the order to remained closed from March 18 through March 31.

David Ralston in 2016
DAVID GOLDMAN / AP

Georgia lawmakers have been in session for only 12 days, but they're taking another break to examine the budget.

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.

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