Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association.

Former state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, leaves the U.S. Federal Building in Nashville, Tenn. on July 27, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Kelsey bail argument tries to lay groundwork for conviction appeal

By: - September 22, 2023

It’s growing ever clearer that former Sen. Brian Kelsey’s case is clear as mud. At least that’s what the defense wants the judge to think. Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys turned down U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw’s offer Thursday for an evidentiary hearing to decide whether Kelsey should be allowed to remain free on […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State revenue falls amid tax holidays, business break

By: - September 21, 2023

After two years of tax windfalls, Tennessee’s revenue leveled off in August amid sales tax breaks and a one-time business tax cut, all of which are forerunners to permanent business tax reductions that could affect the state budget. Finance and Administration Commissioner Jim Bryson reported revenues came in at $1.5 billion for August, $39.4 million […]

Main gates at Tennessee State University in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee State University’s Glover urges state to pony up $2.1 billion

By: - September 20, 2023

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover is urging the state to follow federal recommendations and boost funding by $2.1 billion at the historically Black college to make up for a three-decades-plus shortfall. A 2021 report found the state shorted TSU by $544 million in matching funds for land grant institutions. “That’s no small sum, but […]

Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. (Photo:

State Building Commission backs new Moccasin Bend mental hospital despite Chattanooga opposition

By: - September 19, 2023

The State Building Commission is plowing ahead with construction of a new Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga in spite of concerns about a potential clash with Native Americans and a national park plan. The commission recently authorized work to start on a $260 million replacement facility for the state’s psychiatric hospital there after […]

House Minority Leader Karen Camper of Memphis, photographed on Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House minority leader blasts Republican rep’s letter supporting Tuberville delays

By: - September 18, 2023

House Minority Leader Karen Camper is criticizing state Rep. John Ragan’s letter backing delays in key military appointments until the Pentagon relents on abortion policy. Camper, a Memphis Democrat and mayoral candidate, issued a statement Monday saying she is “shocked by the level of vitriol and carelessness for the men and women in uniform expressed” […]

Sign at the entrance to the John S. Wilder Youth Development Center. Reports have chronicled instances of verbal, physical and sexual assault of juveniles housed at the facility. (Photo: Google Earth)

Department of Children’s Services spending $400M on intake, juvenile detention projects

By: - September 15, 2023

The Department of Children’s Services is embarking on more than $400 million worth of construction projects to handle children entering state custody and improve problematic detention centers. Six months after removing the last children from state offices because they had nowhere else to go, the department received approval to start work on an assessment center […]

Tennessee Senate leaders, including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Majority Leader Jack Johnson, photographed on Aug. 29, the final day of a special legislative session on public safety. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Demise of autopsy bill helped bring special session to close

By: - September 15, 2023

The “autopsy bill” was supposed to be a victory of sorts for Covenant School parents who, along with their children, are coping with the horror of a mass shooting. Since Republican lawmakers refused to take up Gov. Bill Lee’s extreme risk protection order bill, it would be one way to make them feel the Legislature […]

Rep. Justin J. Pearson, photographed at the I Am a Man Plaza in Memphis on Sept. 5, 2023. at the launch of Rep. Gloria Johnson's U.S. Senate race. Pearson has formed a PAC to support progressive candidates. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Memphis rep’s new PAC to give $100K to Turner in city’s mayoral race

By: - September 14, 2023

First-term state Rep. Justin J. Pearson’s newly-formed political action committee is set to inject $100,000 into Van Turner’s Memphis mayoral campaign during the final three weeks of the race. Pearson, who raised about $1 million this year amid international outrage after being expelled from the state House for leading an anti-gun rally on the chamber […]

House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, will again propose a juvenile justice bill that would transfer juvenile offenders to the adult court system when the legislature returns in January. ( Photo: John Partipilo)

Special session bills expected to revive in 2024

By: - September 13, 2023

A measure by House Speaker Cameron Sexton designed to stiffen sentences for serious juvenile crimes is one of several bills expected to be revived in 2024 after dying in a truncated special session on public safety. Sexton, a Crossville Republican, contends Memphis officials, including Mayor Jim Strickland and District Attorney General Steve Mulroy, support his […]

Jim Seabury, Tennessee Golf Foundation board chairman, talks to PGA Tour player Brandt Snedeker at an unveiling Thursday for upgrades to Shelby and Vinny Links golf courses in East Nashville. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Metro, Tennessee Golf Foundation to put $2M-plus into Shelby, Vinny Links courses

By: - September 8, 2023

PGA Tour player Brandt Snedeker grew up playing the hilly Donald Ross-designed Shelby Golf Course, and he hopes a $2 million upgrade will renew interest in the nearly 100-year-old East Nashville tract. Memories of walking the course with his father came flooding back to the nine-time tour winner and 2012 FedEx Cup champion when he […]

Participants in prayer ceremony encircle the Tennessee Capitol prior to the start of a special legislative session on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Moderation becoming extinct in Tennessee politics

By: - September 8, 2023

Young Democrats in the state House are riding a wave of Republican blunders that could reshape the state’s political landscape, eventually leaving moderates without a home. Republicans forced middle-of-the-roaders out last year when they defeated GOP Rep. Bob Ramsey of Maryville and redrew the district of independent Rep. John Mark Windle, who had already dropped […]

U.S. Rep.-elect Andy Ogles opposes the election of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Federal election officials threaten Ogles with campaign finance audit or enforcement – again

By: and - September 6, 2023

The Federal Election Commission sent a new batch of warnings to U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles that it could audit his campaign finance account or take “enforcement action” for a spate of violations, including excessive contributions from the House Freedom Caucus’ political action committee and possibly illegal corporate donations.  The agency notified Ogles’ treasurer, Thomas Datwyler, […]