Author

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.

The Tennessee State Capitol with gates locked.

Democrats cry foul on redistricting

By: - December 7, 2021

Redistricting maps haven’t been released, but some House Democrats are already complaining that supermajority Republicans are trying to draw them out of existence. “It’s a huge power play in Middle Tennessee,” says House Democratic Caucus Chairman Vincent Dixie. Because of population loss, Upper East Tennessee as well as urban Memphis and rural West Tennessee are […]

Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he will sign the COVID-19 omnibus bill passed in a recent special legislative session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor backs Comptroller decision despite business trepidation

By: - December 3, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee said Friday he agrees with the Tennessee Comptroller’s decision to suspend exemptions from the state’s new COVID-19 law in spite of concerns raised by the business community. Lee also said he doesn’t believe any confusion exists for Tennessee’s companies because no vaccine mandate is in effect. “The mandates have been temporarily shut […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Legislature could rescind much of COVID-19 law

By: - December 3, 2021

Barely a month after the Legislature passed a COVID-19 omnibus bill cobbled together in a secret meeting, some lawmakers are ready to unwind it. Much of the legislation was nearly rendered moot by two federal court rulings that put a hold on President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, followed by Comptroller Jason Mumpower’s move to suspend […]

Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, and Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga question a recent special legislative session after the Tennessee comptroller suspended COVID-19 exemptions. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers question special session after Comptroller suspends COVID-19 exemptions

By: - December 1, 2021

Comptroller Jason Mumpower office suspended exemptions Wednesday from the state’s new COVID-19 law after two federal judges issued preliminary injunctions against President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirement. While the decision satisfied legislative leaders opposed to the president’s mandate, the move also raised questions among some legislators about whether the General Assembly was hasty in holding a […]

Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he will sign the COVID-19 omnibus bill passed in a recent special legislative session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State of emergency still in place despite governor’s move

By: - December 1, 2021

A state of emergency remains in effect for Tennessee, partially to deal with COVID-19, even though the governor recently declined to extend a 20-month-old executive order in response to the pandemic. Tennessee is at a level 3 emergency to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and six other federally recognized disasters, according to TEMA spokesman Dean Flener. […]

Gov. Bill Lee at a July press conference. (Photo: John Partipilo))

Lee chairs right to work amendment while tiptoeing on Ford question

By: - November 22, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee will chair a Yes on 1 campaign to put the state’s right to work law in the Tennessee Constitution, but when it comes to Ford Motor Co., the governor won’t say whether he’ll actively campaign against unionization at the West Tennessee plant scheduled to open in 2025. Lee joined business groups and […]

Gov. Bill Lee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor won’t renew state of emergency

By: - November 19, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday he will not extend Tennessee’s state of emergency when it expires at midnight, lifting measures put in place 20 months ago to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes even though the Tennessee Department of Health reported 1,749 new cases in the last day, 694 total hospitalizations and seven […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Secretary of State backs future election audits

By: - November 19, 2021

Secretary of State Tre Hargett confirmed this week he is supporting a move to audit Tennessee’s elections, but maybe not for the 2020 count, which has been much-maligned by Republicans nationally. In an abbreviated interview Wednesday with the Tennessee Lookout, Hargett said an audit bill will be forthcoming in the 2022 legislative session. Hargett referred […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

Weary of social media prying, lawmakers delve into data privacy 

By: - November 18, 2021

State Sen. Mike Bell recalls telling his son he planned to buy new duck hunting waders. The next time he logged on to Facebook, he started receiving ads about those very hunting accessories. “That’s a little spooky when that happens,” Bell said in a recent meeting of a legislative committee studying data privacy and the […]

A map of Tennessee's congressional districts as drawn by legislative Democrats. (Map courtesy of Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus)

Democrats’ congressional district map draws ice-water reaction

By: - November 17, 2021

Tennessee Democrats are submitting a congressional redistricting map that keeps Davidson County whole and puts communities of interest together, but at least one state senator is pouring cold water on the plan. The proposal is likely to draw heat, not just because Republicans control the House and Senate, but because it draws a new 4th […]

Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro balks at new state law forbidding mask mandates

By: - November 15, 2021

Metro Nashville Public Schools is bucking a state law the governor signed into action Friday preventing school districts from requiring students to wear masks to ward off the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes after U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw in Middle Tennessee issued an order Sunday allowing the status quo for mask rules to […]

COMMENTARY
Rep. Glen Casada, R- Franklin, photographed by John Partipilo on Jan. 12, 2021.

Stockard on the Stump: Casada resigns without the funky chicken hanging around

By: - November 12, 2021

Less than a year after the feds knocked on his front door, former House Speaker Glen Casada is set to leave the Legislature in 2022 holding the dubious distinction of the shortest speakership in state history. The only thing missing is a funky chicken. That odd creature was joined by a creepy penguin, a half-naked […]