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.

Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a measure to allow private school vouchers in only Davidson and Shelby Counties don't violate the state's home rule law.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro balks at new state law forbidding mask mandates

By: - November 15, 2021

Metro Nashville Public Schools is bucking a state law the governor signed into action Friday preventing school districts from requiring students to wear masks to ward off the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes after U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw in Middle Tennessee issued an order Sunday allowing the status quo for mask rules to […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R- Franklin, photographed by John Partipilo on Jan. 12, 2021.

Stockard on the Stump: Casada resigns without the funky chicken hanging around

By: - November 12, 2021

Less than a year after the feds knocked on his front door, former House Speaker Glen Casada is set to leave the Legislature in 2022 holding the dubious distinction of the shortest speakership in state history. The only thing missing is a funky chicken. That odd creature was joined by a creepy penguin, a half-naked […]

Gov. Bill Lee (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor to sign COVID-19 bill but seek tweaks in 2022

By: - November 10, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he will sign the COVID-19 legislation passed by the General Assembly in its special session but plans to push for changes in 2022. After a Veterans Day ceremony on the Tennessee Tower Plaza, the governor told reporters he was to meet with Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, looks pensive at his desk in the Tennessee House of Representatives in Jan. 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Casada to retire in 2022

By: - November 10, 2021

Two years after resigning as House speaker amid scandal, state Rep. Glen Casada, who is under investigation by federal authorities, is set to leave the General Assembly. Casada, a Williamson County Republican, announced Wednesday he would not run for re-election to his District 63 seat, which takes in the eastern half of Williamson County, including […]

East High School in Memphis. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Battle lines drawn over governor’s education funding review

By: - November 10, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee and supporters call his statewide review of Tennessee’s K-12 funding formula an effort to target money to fit each student’s needs. Critics, in contrast, say it is an effort to fast track and funnel state dollars to private schools if the Tennessee Supreme Court approves the governor’s education savings account program. At […]

Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville (Photo: John Partipilo)

Bell bowing out from Senate in 2022

By: - November 8, 2021

Fifteen-year legislative veteran Sen. Mike Bell said Monday, “It’s time,” in announcing he will not seek re-election in 2022. Elected to the state House in 2006, Bell, a Riceville Republican, moved to the Senate in 2010, representing Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk Counties. During his stint in the upper chamber, Bell became a member […]

Gov. Bill Lee with Republican legislative leadership after a recent press conference. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: ‘Send lawyers, guns and money dad, get me out of this’

By: - November 5, 2021

Caught between a Ford truck and a Russian spy disguised as a waitress, when did Tennessee’s Republican leaders realize they needed dad to “get me out of this”? Truth be told, they probably had more than one awakening during last week’s “not so special” session. A hint came when the Tennessee Business Roundtable sent out […]

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, is questioning Gov. Bill Lee's no-bid contracts. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers delve into no-bid contracts with eye on McKinsey deal

By: - November 4, 2021

State lawmakers are taking a tougher stance on sole-source contracts, asking hard questions of state agencies and homing in on deals the state signed with McKinsey & Co. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire sent Gov. Bill Lee’s deputy and chief counsel, Lang Wiseman, a letter seeking a copy of the contract the state inked with McKinsey […]

Legislators heading upstairs in the Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Business groups upset with special session outcome

By: - November 3, 2021

Ford Motor Co. might have been satisfied with last-minute changes inserted in COVID-19 legislation last week, but two major business groups are upset with the haste of the special session and legislation that could put companies at risk of being sued. The National Federation of Independent Business and Tennessee Business Roundtable both made harsh critiques […]

Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, stands next to Sen. Richard Briggs of Knoxville in the Senate Chambers on Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Report: Kelsey surrenders to feds week after indictment

By: - November 1, 2021

Sen. Brian Kelsey, a week after being indicted for alleged federal campaign violations, reportedly surrendered to federal authorities Monday in Nashville. ActionNews5 in Memphis reported Kelsey turned himself in five days before he was supposed to report to authorities for a hearing before a judge at the federal courthouse in Nashville. Judge Waverly Crenshaw is […]

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, left, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Majority Leader William Lamberth, all Republicans, had strong words for Nashville's leadership after Metro Council rejected a contract to hold the 2024 Republican National Committee in the city. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Legislature passes late night COVID omnibus bill

By: and - October 30, 2021

The Legislature backpedaled on COVID-19 bills just enough early Saturday to pass a comprehensive measure and still placate companies such as Ford, which is to receive a $900 million incentive package to build an electric truck and battery plant in West Tennessee. After going through a conference committee to iron out differences, the Legislature approved […]

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives in House Chambers.

Legislature takes discretion from district attorneys general

By: and - October 29, 2021

The House and Senate both voted Friday for legislation enabling the state attorney general to request courts appoint district attorney pro tems for any district attorney general who makes a blanket statement against prosecuting certain classes of illegal activity. The Senate passed its version of the bill on a 25-6 vote. The measure passed the […]