Stephen Fowler

Reporter

Stephen Fowler is an award-winning reporter and photographer focusing on politics from McDonough, Georgia. He graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, writing his thesis on the rise of the internet rapper and giving a TEDx talk on the storytelling power of music. He also served as the first-ever Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel, where he helped lead the paper into a modern digital era.

He got his start at GPB with All Things Considered in Atlanta, where he helped create live shows everywhere from a brewery to a baseball game to a rooftop midway, was part of award-winning hurricane coverage and (occasionally) filled in as the afternoon news host.

His reporting takes him many places, like the collapsed rubble of I-85, a soul food restaurant in the foothills of the mountains and protests in the streets of Atlanta. His stories can be heard on Marketplace, Here and Now, All Things Considered and NPR’s national newscasts.

PRINCE WILLIAMS / WIREIMAGE

The Atlanta-based rapper held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention earlier this year has donated $25,000 to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

21 Savage, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, spent nine days in custody in February after ICE said the U.K. national overstayed a visa when he was a minor. He was released on bond and attorneys now say he is working with immigrations officials to secure legal residency.

Georgia Chamber

Gov. Brian Kemp took part in a bipartisan roundtable of governors, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, President Donald J. Trump and other administration officials Thursday.

Gov. Brian Kemp announces his first international trade mission to South Korea.
Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp will be taking his first international trade mission to South Korea at the end of the month.

The trip will include visits to companies that currently have a presence in Georgia, in addition to courting potential new investors.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

A Georgia government agency tasked with enforcing campaign finance laws is drawing scrutiny for how it is investigating former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Lawyers for Abrams say the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission didn’t follow its own rules in its investigation, including when it issued subpoenas in April to the campaign and a number of independent advocacy groups that supported Abrams.

Bob Andres / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia — and the country — is divided over so-called "heartbeat" bills and other new state laws restricting abortion. Many are confused about who could be prosecuted and what, exactly, constitutes a violation of the law.

On Second Thought leaves the flashpoints of politics behind and attempts to get some clarity on the legal questions raised by HB 481.


Another federal judge is allowing a second lawsuit alleging problems with Georgia's current voting system to continue.

Judge Steve Jones Thursday denied the state's request to dismiss the case, filed by Stacey Abrams-affiliated Fair Fight Action, Care in Action and a slew of local churches. 

Marco Verch / Flickr

A flood of major entertainment companies have issued cautious statements about future filming in Georgia if a new abortion law takes effect, amidst national calls for a boycott and local concern over the state's booming film and television industry.

CBS, Sony, AMC, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Disney and Netflix will monitor what could be a lengthy legal fight over the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, which would effectively ban abortions in the state except for cases of rape and incest with a police report, when the health of the mother is in jeopardy or the pregnancy is declared "medically futile."

The law also gives personhood rights to an embryo once cardiac activity is detected.


Stephen Fowler / GPB

Access to fresh, healthy food is not a given in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks areas here that are low-income and have limited access to grocery stores, also referred to as “food deserts.”

This month, GPB News is looking into creative, local solutions to food access issues in a series called “Full Plates: How Georgia Fights Hunger.”  Reporters Emily Jones and Stephen Fowler stopped by On Second Thought to discuss what two communities are doing to get fresh food to residents.


It’s been three weeks since Gov. Brian Kemp signed one of the toughest abortion laws in the country, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act that outlaws most abortions.

Since that time, there have been calls to boycott Georgia’s film industry, including a recent statement from Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos, who claimed that the streaming giant would fight to oppose the bill and rethink its relationship with the state if the bill becomes law. 

GPB political reporter Stephen Fowler spoke with Leah Fleming to recap the latest developments.


Netflix

Entertainment giant Netflix says it may "rethink" its investment in Georgia if a controversial abortion law survives legal challenges. 

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement the company will work with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act in court.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

In Rome, a men’s homeless shelter has been cultivating a backyard farm with a variety of veggies to feed its residents.

The shelter has been so successful, they’re looking to share, bringing fresh food to the northwest Georgia community in a tricked-out school bus.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

A newly-signed abortion law in Georgia has some district attorneys saying women who have abortions could face criminal charges for their actions. But, others say it's not possible to file charges because of existing statutes and case law, or won't because of prosecutorial discretion.  

A survey of Georgia's 49 elected district attorneys shows a range of reactions to the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, which would ban nearly all abortions once cardiac activity is detected in an embryo, usually around six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.  

A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit challenging Georgia's current voting system to continue, even as the secretary of state's office is reviewing proposals to replace it. 

Judge Amy Totenberg denied the state's request to dismiss the case, brought by a group of election integrity advocates and concerned Georgia voters.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Holding signs reading “Stop the bans,” "Our bodies, our choice" and “You, yes you: run for office!” several hundred people spilled out from the steps to the street outside the Gold Dome Tuesday afternoon.

They chanted, "Abortion is a human right, and we won't go without a fight," and "Hey hey, ho ho, abortion bans have got to go," while speakers from groups such as Sister Song and the American Civil Liberties of Georgia reminded the crowd abortion is still legal in Georgia and urged them to stay involved in their calls for expanded reproductive rights.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp has appointed 15 people to five different state boards and commissions, including the Georgia Department of Economic Development Board of Directors, Board of Community Affairs, State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia, Georgia Student Finance Commission Board of Commissioners, and Georgia Composite Medical Board.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke against a slew of abortion restrictions passed in states across the country Thursday at the Georgia state Capitol.

“Right now, entirely too much of the conversation about what women can do with our own bodies is being driven by a group of right-wing male politicians,” Gillibrand said, flanked by female state lawmakers, health providers and abortion rights supporters. “It’s time for that conversation to be led by the actual experts: women and doctors.”

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Holding ceremonies everywhere from Cairo to Camilla to his ceremonial office in the Capitol, Gov. Brian Kemp signed more than 300 bills from the 2019 legislative session in the last three months.

GPB

The busy season for Georgia state lawmakers is now over.  Yes, the legislative session wrapped up April 2, but Sunday marked the final close to the 2019 lawmaking season.  Gov. Brian Kemp had 40 days after Sine Die to publicly sign or veto bills.  Now, everything that hasn’t seen his pen automatically becomes law.


The dust has now settled on bills sent to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk from this year’s legislative session.

Kemp had 40 days from Sine Die to weigh in on more than bills and resolutions passed by the state House and Senate during the 40-day legislative session.

The governor vetoed 14 measures plus several line items in the record-setting $27.5 billion FY2020 budget, including mandatory recess for some elementary school students, a study committee to revisit the state’s border with Tennessee and North Carolina and some tightened school safety measures.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed the record-breaking $27.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1.

This year's budget includes a 2% pay raise for state employees and a $3,000 raise for teachers and other certified school employees, and fully funds the state's education formula for the second year in a row. Kemp has called the raise a "down payment" on his campaign promise of $5,000 for teachers.

Bob Andres / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Editor's note: This story was updated at 1:47 p.m. Tuesday to include information from HB 481 signing protests

Starting Jan. 1, Georgia will have one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, if it survives legal challenges from abortion rights advocates and civil rights groups.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed HB 481, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act Tuesday morning.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp will be signing a controversial measure Tuesday that effectively bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and gives certain personhood rights to a fetus. 

HB 481 will be signed at 10 a.m. in the governor's ceremonial office at the Capitol.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a series of education-focused bills Thursday at Wheeler High School in Marietta. 

One bill, SB 48, gives Georgia its first dyslexia mandate. Starting in 2024, all elementary schools in the state must screen kindergarten students for dyslexia, and students in first through third grade who have been identified as having dyslexic traits. 


Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson during an appearance on Political Rewind.
GPB

One day after Stacey Abrams made the announcement she would not seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate next year, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson formally announced her campaign. 

Tomlinson most recently served two terms as mayor of Georgia's second-largest city and is a partner at Atlanta law firm Hall Booth Smith.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

After months of speculation, it’s official: Stacey Abrams is not running for U.S. Senate against David Perdue (R-GA) in 2020.

In an interview with GPB News Monday night, Abrams said that she is also not ruling out a White House run next year but will also not provide a timeline for any decision on that race. There are currently 20 candidates running for the Democratic nomination.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Georgia has a lot of official state “things” – such as the brown thrasher as the state bird, the Cherokee Rose as the state flower and even grits as the state’s prepared food.

Some lawmakers, conservationists and fishermen want to add another “thing” to the list: the shoal bass. 

They say raising awareness of this fish in the Flint and other rivers could benefit the environment and the rural economy.

 


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

It’s been 100 days since Gov. Brian Kemp was sworn into office, and he says those days have been filled with keeping promises he made on the campaign trail.

In between the whir and whine of planes taking off at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Wednesday, Kemp said his administration has been strengthening rural communities, reforming state government and investing in education throughout his first legislative session.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds announced on Monday the head of a new anti-gang task force.

The anti-gang task force is part of Kemp’s campaign pledge to “stop and dismantle criminal gangs,” and will be used as a tool to help local prosecutors build cases against alleged street gangs across Georgia.


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.


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.


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