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.

More than 150 Tennesseans gathered on the Legislative Plaza before legislation session gaveled in to urge lawmakers to support a "moral agenda." (Photo: John Partipilo)

Advocates decry conservative measures as Legislature convenes

By: - January 11, 2023

Dozens of progressive advocates rallied near the Capitol Tuesday before the 113th General Assembly convened, calling for everything from an end to the state’s abortion law to expansion of Medicaid. Pastor Kevin Riggs of Franklin Community Church urged the Legislature to pass a “moral agenda,” one that serves people on the “fringes” of society. “A […]

Former U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, photographed Dec. 15, 2022 by John Partipilo.

Cooper opposed Pelosi’s management style but received key appointment

By: - January 10, 2023

When former Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper voted against Nancy Pelosi multiple times in the House Speaker’s race, it wasn’t necessarily because they were enemies. In fact, Cooper, who bowed out of the U.S. House of Representatives last week after 32 years in office, says they are “great friends.” Still, he was concerned about her leadership […]

Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro council reduction bill called act of retribution

By: - January 9, 2023

A day before the 113th General Assembly convenes for the year, two lawmakers filed legislation that would cut the Metro Council in half, a move critics say is retribution for the refusal to go after the Republican presidential convention of 2024. State Sen. Bo Watson, chairman of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, and House […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Lawmakers line up to add exceptions to abortion law

By: - January 6, 2023

Six months after one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws took effect in Tennessee, state lawmakers are ready to loosen it.  Sen. Ferrell Haile confirmed to the Tennessee Lookout this week he is preparing legislation to make rape and incest exceptions to the “trigger” law, which was enacted in 2019 before the U.S. Supreme […]

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper reflects on his 32 years in Congress at Nashville coffee shop, Fido, on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Congressman Cooper bids farewell after three decades in D.C.

By: - January 5, 2023

For 32 years, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper sought to bring “Tennessee common sense” to Congress. But in the end, he saw an insurrection spurred by a president and the undoing of his congressional district by the Republican-controlled state Legislature. The son of Tennessee Gov. Prentice Cooper and grandson of state House Speaker William Prentice Cooper, […]

Empty cell in traditional prison. Photo by Andy Sacks/Getty Images.

Governor appoints new correction commissioner in wake of lethal injection debacle

By: - January 4, 2023

A week after unveiling a report displaying incompetence in the state’s lethal injection program, Gov. Bill Lee appointed an Arizona prison official who oversaw a renewal of executions there to lead Tennessee’s prison system. Frank Strada, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, will replace interim Commissioner Lisa Helton this week as the governor […]

Gov. Bill Lee (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Governor sends mixed message on clemency, asylum seekers

By: - December 23, 2022

Three days before Christmas, Gov. Bill Lee gave clemency to 16 people and granted parole eligibility to a host of folks who committed offenses in drug-free school zones. The governor pardoned 13 people, commuted the sentences of three people and expedited the parole eligibility for 30 people using a change in state law. It was […]

As more Tennesseans transition to electric vehicles, Tennessee will need to find a funding source to replace dwindling revenues from the state's gas tax. A proposal from Gov. Bill Lee includes toll roads and higher fees for electric vehicles.(Photo: Getty Images)

Public-private partnerships work their way into state government

By: - December 22, 2022

Not long after the Tennessee Department of Transportation proposed public-private partnerships to build express lanes and cut congestion on highways, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville sought permission for a joint venture to build dorms and an indoor athletic facility. The State Building Commission authorized the university’s plan to take bids for a public-private partnership for three […]

(Photo: Darrin Klimek/Getty Images)

State holds release of independent report on executions

By: - December 16, 2022

The state has received an independent review of its lethal injection protocol on executions but is refusing to release it to the public until the Governor’s Office assesses it. Gov. Bill Lee put a hold on executions in May aftering finding out the state failed to follow guidelines on the testing of lethal injection drugs, […]

Outgoing Democratic House Caucus Chair Vincent Dixie says House Speaker Cameron Sexton interfered in his recent defeat.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Former Democratic Caucus chair claims House Speaker pushed him out

By: - December 16, 2022

Two weeks after narrowly losing a bid for re-election as House Democratic Caucus chairman, Rep. Vincent Dixie says House Speaker Cameron Sexton leaned on colleagues to stop his re-election. As a result, Dixie, a Nashville Democrat, holds no leadership position. He was defeated by Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, in the 24-member caucus race by […]

Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville. Metro Nashville Public Schools will get Title 1 funds for low-income students slashed, but got boosts from other funding sources. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee school districts lose Title I money amid shifts stemming from federal audit

By: - December 16, 2022

Polk County Schools Director James Jones was “left in the dark completely” this week when the school district in southeast Tennessee lost $36,000 in federal funds without an explanation from the state. It appears to be part of a roughly 5% reduction statewide in money that goes toward low-income students, though some districts are reporting […]

Sen. John Lundberg, R-Bristol, chair of the Senate Education Committee, supports the current law to hold back 3rd graders who don't meet state reading standards. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Third-grade retention law could pit Republicans against each other

By: - December 15, 2022

Amid statewide complaints about Tennessee’s third-grade retention law, legislative Republicans are likely to butt heads over efforts to tweak the measure in 2023. House Education Administration Committee Chairman Mark White, an East Memphis Republican, said this week he hopes to find middle ground between the new state law and school districts, which are complaining about […]