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.

Gov. Bill Lee at a Sept. 2 press conference. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor extending mask opt-out order despite three court rulings

By: - September 30, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee, hamstrung by three federal court rulings, said Thursday he is extending an executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of school district mask requirements. “I’ve been incredibly disappointed by rulings from the federal judges who’ve chosen to legislate from the bench,” Lee said Thursday after an event at Stewart Builder […]

Gov. Bill Lee, third from right, with Ford Motor Co. CEO, to his right, and Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Bob Rolfe, to Ford's right, at Monday's announcement of the Ford Blue Oval Campus. (Photo: Gov. Bill Lee official Facebook page)

COVID could creep into Blue Oval special session

By: - September 29, 2021

With a legislative special session likely in two weeks to approve the state’s Blue Oval City deal, talk is circulating about COVID-19 issues sneaking into the debate. Gov. Bill Lee could call the General Assembly together Oct. 18-20 to approve a $500 million incentive package for the Ford-SK Innovation deal at the Memphis Regional Megasite, […]

A site plan of the Memphis Megasite. (Photo: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development)

Ford’s Blue Oval City to set up union shop at Memphis Regional Megasite

By: - September 28, 2021

A $5.6 billion electric truck and battery plant set for the Memphis Regional Megasite will be a union shop, continuing Ford’s relationship with the United Auto Workers, an official confirmed Tuesday. UAW President Ray Curry made the announcement Tuesday, saying the facility set to hire 6,000 workers in Haywood County, about 45 miles from downtown […]

A group of doctors representing St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital attempt to get Gov. Bill Lee's attention after his Thursday press conference. (Photo:John Partipilo)

Physicians fire back at governor’s COVID policies

By: - September 28, 2021

Doctors across the state, including one who serves on Gov. Bill Lee’s COVID-19 advisory panel, are challenging his COVID-19 policies and cheering three court decisions to overturn his executive order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates. Dr. Erica Kaye, a pediatrician, oncologist and palliative care physician at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital […]

A site plan of the Memphis Megasite. (Photo: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development)

Memphis megasite to land $5.6B Ford plant

By: - September 27, 2021

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that Ford Motor Co. has selected the Memphis Regional Megasite for one of the largest battery and vehicle manufacturing campuses in the nation, a $5.6 billion investment creating 5,800 jobs. “West Tennessee is primed to deliver the workforce and quality of life needed to create the next great American […]

A customer at ABQ Guns in Albuquerque. Recent mass shootings have reignited the debate over gun legislation, including red flag laws and expanded background checks. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Bloomberg, Getty Images)

Governor discounts effect of constitutional carry law on Collierville Kroger shooting

By: - September 24, 2021

A day after a disgruntled employee opened fire in a Collierville Kroger, killing one woman and injuring 14 others, Gov. Bill Lee said he believes there is no connection between the shooting and a constitutional carry law he signed this year. Lee called the incident a “terrible shooting” and tragedy, while expressing sorrow for victims […]

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, left, with Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Schwinn denies piloting materials in book adoption, but LIFT did

By: - September 24, 2021

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn told lawmakers this week the state didn’t pilot any materials during the English Language Arts adoption two years ago, nor is it in the upcoming math adoption process. She made the statement just two weeks after state textbook commission members made it clear the 18-month book and material selection lies […]

Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee on September 15, 2021. Kingsbury Middle School in Berclair neighborhood of Memphis. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Tennessee sees student improvement from summer programs

By: - September 22, 2021

Tennessee students who took part in summer camps improved in English and math, regaining some of their pandemic learning loss, after the Legislature pumped $160 million into new programs, according to new data the state released Wednesday. Test scores from 120,000 students who participated in the classes showed an improvement of 5.97 percentage points overall […]

Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, at a Thursday press conference with Gov. Bill Lee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State saving monoclonal antibodies for the unvaccinated

By: - September 21, 2021

Apparently reacting to cutbacks from the federal government, Tennessee is recommending monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 be used for the unvaccinated as the state ranks at the bottom nationally for vaccination rates. As reported Tuesday by The Tennessean, the Department of Health issued a statement saying, “Our recommendation to monoclonal antibody providers or individual facilities […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Education panels won’t hear Hakeem’s Black history bill

By: - September 21, 2021

A joint meeting of House Education committees isn’t likely to consider Rep. Yusuf Hakeem’s Black history education bill this week even though he was told it would be made “perfect” in summer study. The Chattanooga Democrat sought to increase Black history curriculum in grades 5-8 earlier this year, but the House Education Instruction Committee voted […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing members of the Tennessee National Guard. (Photo:

Governor signs letter to Biden requesting border ‘crisis’ discussion

By: - September 20, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee joined 25 Republican governors Monday in sending a letter to President Joe Biden seeking a meeting to resolve the “crisis” at the Southern border where tens of thousands of Haitians and people of other nations are gathered to enter the United States. “As we surpass the eight-month mark of a relentless and […]

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, holds hands with other members of the Democratic Senate Caucus after Gov. Bill Lee's third State of the State Address. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lieutenant governor appoints bipartisan redistricting committee

By: - September 17, 2021

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally appointed a bipartisan panel Friday to draw new state and federal district maps, naming a Memphis Democrat as a chairman to the panel and ordering the group to focus on public input. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, will be joined by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, chairman […]