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.

A police car blocks entrance to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis after a substantial crack was found in it May 11. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Speakers react to Memphis murders with prison panel

By: - September 9, 2022

Responding to five killings in Memphis this week, Tennessee’s House and Senate speakers appointed a legislative panel to study the release of prison inmates, work that could lead to construction of more prison space. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, who is also Senate speaker, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton this week created the Joint Ad Hoc […]

COMMENTARY
Screengrab of former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Gov. Bill Lee in a video for the "Yes on 1" campaign.

Stockard on the Stump: Governor declares he didn’t violate the Little Hatch Act

By: - September 9, 2022

In his push to embed Tennessee’s right to work law into the state Constitution, Gov. Bill Lee denies he and former Gov. Bill Haslam violated the Little Hatch Act with a video shot at the State Capitol. AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus says they clearly broke the law, but he’s not planning to request equal time […]

Former Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada, center, leaves the Fred D. Thompson U.S. Courthouse in Nashville after being arraigned on 20 counts of conspiracy.

Feds seek protective order on evidence against Casada and co-defendants

By: - September 8, 2022

The Department of Justice is asking the attorneys for former House Speaker Glen Casada to keep secret the evidence they share against him and co-defendants in advance of an October trial. In their case against Casada and his ex-chief of staff, Cade Cothren, federal authorities plan to provide the defendants with law enforcement agency reports […]

Casting votes, Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Registry of Election Finance to audit Humble for potential illegal coordination with PAC-like group

By: - September 7, 2022

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance is set to audit former Senate District 27 candidate Gary Humble to determine whether his campaign illegally coordinated with his nonprofit organization Tennessee Stands. Registry board member Tom Lawless, a Nashville attorney, called for the investigation Wednesday based on his general knowledge of the situation. “There’s some smoke there, […]

East Tennessee State University, (ETSU Facebook)

East Tennessee State refuses to discriminate regardless of court order on Biden guidance

By: - September 6, 2022

East Tennessee State University tweaked an online description of federal protections for LGBTQ students, in response to a request from state Rep. John Ragan, but the university reasserted its non-discrimination policy stands for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. In response to a letter Joint Government Operations Committee Chairman John Ragan sent […]

COMMENTARY
Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton at Gov. Bill Lee's 2021 State of the State. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: House Speaker sought postponement of TennCare contracts

By: - September 2, 2022

At the request of House Speaker Cameron Sexton, the Legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee put off action recently on a set of managed care organization contracts with TennCare, the state’s Medicaid insurance program. Fiscal Review Director Krista Lee Carsner said in an email obtained by the Tennessee Lookout that Speaker Sexton requested postponement. Sexton confirmed Thursday […]

Retiring Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and his wife walk past staff members on his final day in office, Aug. 31,2022. (Photo: Tennessee Attorney General Twitter)

Slatery touts win in opioid battles but tried to force East Tennessee DAs out of the fight

By: - September 1, 2022

Outgoing Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery recently claimed victory in a $450 million national settlement with Ireland-based drugmaker Endo International, yet five years ago he tried to derail legal efforts in Northeast Tennessee that led to a $35 million settlement that’s netting more money for nine counties than his Endo deal brought for the entire […]

East Tennessee State University, (ETSU Facebook)

Government Operations chair tells universities to drop LGBTQ policies

By: - August 30, 2022

The House chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Government Operations Committee is unilaterally ordering state universities to suspend any policies making LGBTQ students a protected class amid federal litigation. In a letter to East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland, state Rep. John Ragan notified the university that because a federal court enjoined the U.S. Department of […]

Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, talks to reporters at opening day of the 112th General Assembly. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Sentencing hearing for ex-Rep. Smith postponed amid Casada case

By: - August 29, 2022

A sentencing hearing for former Rep. Robin Smith, who is set to cooperate with the prosecution in Rep. Glen Casada’s trial, is being postponed until January 30, a court document filed Monday shows. Smith’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for Oct. 17. Her plea agreement to fraud charges anticipates she will testify in United States v. […]

COMMENTARY
An unshaven former House Speaker Glen Casada leaving the Fred D. Thompson U.S. Courthouse in Nashville with attorney Jonathan Farmer on Tuesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: The Casada chronicles

By: - August 26, 2022

“I rode into (Nashville), was feelin’ about half-past dead / I just need a place where I can lay my head.” The smoke alarm went off in our Vegas hotel about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday. False alarm, but we couldn’t go back to sleep and decided to get the heck out of Dodge. By the time […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, at right: Registry of Election Finance sends charges to Williamson County District Attorney. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Glen Casada: The rise and fall of a House Speaker

By: - August 23, 2022

(Editor’s note: This story originally published Jan. 10, 2022.) Two and a half years removed from resignation as House Speaker and a year from an FBI raid, Rep. Glen Casada continues to grapple with the reason for his exit. Despite an overwhelming no-confidence vote by his own House Republican Caucus in 2019, Casada still contends […]

Cade Cothren, speaking on phone, attends a meeting with lawmakers and fellow staffers on the balcony ouside the House chamber on April 29, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Erik Schelzig, Tenenssee Journal)

State asks court to find Cothren in contempt, order him to respond to subpoenas

By: - August 22, 2022

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance is asking a Davidson County chancellor to find Cade Cothren in contempt of court and order him to comply with two subpoenas related to a shadowy political action committee. Represented by the Attorney General’s Office, the Registry filed a motion this week in Chancery Court to shut down Cothren’s […]