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.

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

House panel to consider congressional redistricting plan — yet undone

By: - January 4, 2022

A Republican-controlled House committee is set to approve a congressional redistricting plan next week, though the proposal is not complete. Democrats are concerned the map will split Davidson County in an effort to put more Republicans in Congress. The current 5th Congressional District contains all of Davidson and Dickson counties and part of Cheatham County. […]

Republican lawmakers, led by, from left, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Majority Leader William Lamberth, pushed massive bills through committees during Thursday's special session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee’s biggest stories of 2021

By: , and - December 29, 2021

The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that issues related to it stayed at the top of the news, from debates over masking and corporate vaccine requirements to whether Tennessee’s medical board can punish physicians for giving out incorrect medical information about COVID. But with three special sessions in addition to the regular legislative […]

Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, called on Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday to take executive action to freeze laws on open gun carry and guns in car trunks.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican redistricting plan draws fire from Democrats pitted against each other

By: - December 17, 2021

A Republican-controlled House redistricting committee pitted Democrats against each other with a plan unveiled Friday afternoon and still difficult to decipher. The committee, in a voice vote, recommended passage of a plan that shifts several outspoken Democrats into districts that would force them to move or run against each other in the 2022 election while […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: AG staffer submits redistricting plan, Senate GOP keeps their map secret

By: - December 17, 2021

With political talk focusing on redistricting of Tennessee congressional and state seats, as well as the lack of a Senate Republican plan, some lawmakers are questioning a proposal brought by a state attorney in the Attorney General’s Office this week. Sen. Heidi Campbell, a Nashville Democrat, is among those who want to know why someone […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers dodge complaints about Board of Medical Examiners

By: - December 15, 2021

State Rep. John Ragan quelled public comments Wednesday critical of his move to force the Board of Medical Examiners to delete a COVID-19 policy from its website. Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican who co-chairs the Legislature’s Government Operations Committee, repeatedly interrupted Tennessee physicians who tried to address the matter and told them they could comment […]

Democratic Rep. Torrey Harris, District 90, came out to get a last word with voters at Peace Lutheran Church-ELCA in north Memphis during the 2020 election on Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo by © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Memphis reps perturbed over redistricting plan

By: - December 14, 2021

Two Memphis Democrats, the youngest in the state, are upset that a Republican-controlled redistricting plan to be unveiled Friday will pit them against each other in the same House district. Likewise, a Knoxville Democrat critical of House Republican leadership is likely to be drawn into another Democrat’s district, forcing them to run against each other […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Senator revives bail reform push as 2022 session nears

By: - December 14, 2021

The bail bond industry thought it pulled the plug on legislation dramatically changing the criminal justice system and money bail during summer hearings. Bail agents captured lawmakers’ attention by putting a human face on the industry, while victim advocates reinforced the need to keep some defendants in jail because of the danger they could pose […]

COMMENTARY
Historic Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Funk will audit the governor’s pandemic spending spree

By: - December 10, 2021

Never one to shy away from conflict with the state government, District Attorney General Glenn Funk is taking up the request of a state senator to audit the pandemic spending of Gov. Bill Lee’s administration. Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, asked Funk this week for an audit and financial review of about $740 million in no-bid, […]

Expressing concern about Gov. Bill Lee's no-bid contracts are Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, and Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Fiscal Review ready to kick in new rules to avert problematic contracts

By: - December 8, 2021

The Legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee is ready to revamp state contract guidelines, either through new rules or legislation, after months of poring over millions of dollars worth of dubious deals. Fiscal Review Committee members demonstrated how fed up they are Tuesday by rejecting a 10-year contract requested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation amid concerns […]

CAP troubles! Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, pictured at right. with former Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, has run into another educational oopsie. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers approve $8M more for education contract amid commissioner’s potential conflict

By: - December 8, 2021

The Legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee extended a contract Tuesday to $16 million with New York-based TNTP Inc. despite a potential conflict of interest for the state’s education commissioner. At the Education Department’s request, the Fiscal Review Committee approved a two-year extension for another $8 million through 2024, adding to an $8 million contract the state […]

The Tennessee State Capitol, where legislators created the state's restrictive abortion laws. (Photo: John Partipilo)

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 (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 […]