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.

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (Photo: John Partipilo)

House speaker indicates staff, subcommittee spent money in harassment case

By: - May 9, 2023

House Speaker Cameron Sexton is pointing at the Office of Legislative Administration and a House ethics subcommittee in the expense of nearly $9,000 in the case of a 19-year-old intern harassed by former Rep. Scotty Campbell. Yet an anonymous member of the bipartisan panel wasn’t aware the subcommittee had the authority to spend money or […]

Gov. Bill Lee, surrounded by Republican lawmakers during an April 3 press conference at which Lee announced he would direct funding towards school safety measures. (Photo:John Partipilo)

Gov. Lee sets special session for late August in response to school shooting

By: - May 8, 2023

Five months after a shooter killed six people at The Covenant School in Nashville, Gov. Bill Lee will bring lawmakers back to Nashville to cobble together a solution to the mass murder. Lee announced Monday he will call the General Assembly into a special session on Aug. 21 to bolster public safety and “preserve” constitutional […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: House duo urges governor hold special session ASAP

By: - May 5, 2023

Four days before The Covenant School mass shooting, Reps. Sam Whitson and Darren Jernigan wrote a letter asking Gov. Bill Lee to form an extreme risk task force to “temporarily separate” high-risk people from their guns. They’d started working on a plan in late 2022 for an extreme risk protection order bill and debated the […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Attorney General beefs up office to take on feds, cities

By: - May 4, 2023

Facing a spate of legal battles with Tennessee cities and the federal government, the Attorney General’s Office enters this year with a new “strategic litigation unit” and heftier budget. As part of a $56.2 billion budget for fiscal 2023-24, the Legislature approved 10 more positions at a cost of $2.25 million for Attorney General Jonathan […]

Margie Quin, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, photographed in March at the Cordell Hull Legislative Office Building by John Partipilo.

DCS social worker caseload bill fails to pass at end of session

By: - May 2, 2023

The Tennessee Legislature approved $183 million in new funding to bolster the Department of Children’s Services this session, but a bill designed to reduce the caseload for social workers slipped through the cracks in the waning days, leaving some lawmakers worried that the agency will continue to struggle to place foster children. The measure sponsored […]

Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, pictured at right. with former Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, at a 2020 press conference.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn to resign

By: - May 1, 2023

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced her resignation Monday after four years in the post, a time in which education issues ran from private school vouchers to a new K-12 funding formula. Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, vice president of the nonprofit ExcelinEd, is to replace her when she steps down June 1, an education news outlet […]

The Tennessee State Capitol with locked gates. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Closing records – isn’t that convenient

By: - April 28, 2023

Tennessee’s chief open records advocate is questioning moves to keep documents secret in two high-profile cases roiling Tennessee. Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, contends Metro Police is off the mark in claiming the writings of Covenant School shooter Audrey Hale are exempt from the Public Records Act under Rule […]

(Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht)

Special elections for three seats could hit $570,000

By: - April 27, 2023

Special elections to fill three seats in the Tennessee Legislature could cost taxpayers up to $570,000 after one resignation and two expulsions. Republican state Rep. Scotty Campbell of Mountain City resigned abruptly from his District 3 seat last week amid a report that he sexually harassed a 19-year-old intern in the General Assembly. Days earlier, […]

Tennessee Republican lawmakers are saying Gov. Bill Lee should hold no special session on gun-reform until the Metro Nashville Police Department releases the "manifesto" written by the Covenant School shooter. John Partipilo photographed Metro Police officers near the school on March 27, 2023.

Republicans demand release of shooter’s manifesto before special session

By: - April 25, 2023

Key Tennessee Republicans are calling for Metro Nashville authorities to release documents written by The Covenant School shooter, saying it is critical to know the motive behind the murders before a special session is held on gun-law reform. Sen. Todd Gardenhire, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently filed a public records request with Metro […]

House Speaker Cameron Sexton and House Majority William Lamberth confer on April 6 during the expulsion hearing of Rep. Justin Pearson. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor to call special session after Legislature adjourns without passing gun restrictions

By: - April 21, 2023

Gov. Bill Lee will call a special session to tackle gun reform after the Tennessee Legislature adjourned for the year Friday night without tackling gun reform nearly a month after a mass shooting at a Nashville private school. The governor said Friday night he made the decision after discussions with legislative leaders. He did not […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Resignation over sexual harassment leads to more embarrassment

By: - April 21, 2023

As if they needed another headache, House Republican leaders found themselves in another pickle Thursday when news broke that Rep. Scotty Campbell was guilty of sexually harassing at least one intern. Word circulated through the House chamber early in the day that Campbell had trouble. Around noon when NewsChannel5 reported on the matter, the funk […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

East Tenn lawmaker resigns after sexual harassment finding

By: - April 20, 2023

An East Tennessee lawmaker resigned Thursday after a subcommittee investigation that found he sexually harassed at least one intern. State Rep. Scotty Campbell, a Johnson City Republican who serves as vice chair of the House Republican Caucus, told the Tennessee Lookout Thursday he would not step away from the Legislature even though the Workplace Discrimination […]