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 (Getty Images)

FBI raids homes, legislative offices; Three legislative staff members placed on leave

By: , and - January 8, 2021

The FBI raided the legislative offices and homes of state lawmakers as well as current and former aides, multiple sources confirmed to the Tennessee Lookout. The raids were first reported by the Tennessean. State Rep. Glen Casada, state Rep. Robin Smith, newly elected state Rep. Todd Warner and former Casada aide Cade Cothren were among […]

(Photo: Alex Kent)

Putting the presidency back together: McNally recognizes Biden presidency as congressmen seek Trump removal

By: - January 7, 2021

Recognition of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory started trickling in Thursday from Tennessee Republicans as congressional leaders tried to figure out the nation’s next step in the wake of a U.S. Capitol insurrection by Trump supporters. At least four people died, including one Air Force veteran shot by U.S. Capitol Police, in the melee, and […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Camper asks governor to call virtual session, State of State

By: - January 7, 2021

House Minority Leader Karen Camper, still feeling the ill effects of COVID-19, is asking Gov. Bill Lee to give his State of the State address virtually and order the Legislature to hold its sessions online as the 112th General Assembly convenes. In a pre-Christmas letter to the governor, the Memphis Democrat requested Lee also send […]

A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

How Tennessee leaders responded to uprising at U.S. Capitol

By: , and - January 6, 2021

Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation called for peace following insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a Senate debate about whether to certify the presidential election results. Congress members and their staff reported being safe following a dramatic scene in which armed protesters stormed the Senate chambers, overrunning the Capitol police following a rally […]

Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Sexton balks at masks, but Legislature to take other COVID-19 precautions

By: - January 6, 2021

House Speaker Cameron Sexton told lawmakers Tuesday masks won’t be required during 2021 sessions because their effectiveness is disputable, yet both the House and Senate are taking other steps to stem COVID-19 as the 112th General Assembly convenes. Among the new measures, an antibacterial mist will be sprayed in the Senate and House chambers in […]

Children participating in a Sunday rally at the office of the Metro Nashville Schools Board hold up placards spelling out 'January All Schools Open.' The rally was organized by Let Nashville Parents Choose, a group advocating to return all schools to in-person learning. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Legislature could push school districts to bring students back to school

By: - January 5, 2021

Set for a January special session to cure education ills, the Tennessee General Assembly could take steps to encourage districts to bring students back into classrooms despite pandemic precautions, likely using funding incentives. Tennessee is to receive $1.2 billion, with upwards of $900 million going to its 147 school districts, from the latest round of […]

Gov. Bill Lee addresses Tennesseans from the Governor's Residence. Lee issued an executive order limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people. (Photo: YouTube)

Governor orders limited Christmas gatherings

By: - December 20, 2020

A day after announcing his wife contracted COVID-19, Gov. Bill Lee declined to make a statewide mask mandate but asked Tennesseans not to hold indoor Christmas gatherings with anyone outside their household. “Family time and celebrations are important, and I understand deeply how much Tennessee families need each other. But we must do all we […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing the surge in COVID-19 cases and the vaccine at his regular press briefing. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Gov blasts Thanksgiving gatherings for causing COVID-19 surge as state rolls out vaccine

By: - December 17, 2020

Admitting Tennessee is seeing a “darkness before the dawn,” Gov. Bill Lee blamed a COVID-19 surge on “foolish decisions” over Thanksgiving while urging leery residents to take the COVID-19 vaccination as the state starts its first round. The governor joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials Thursday in kicking off the vaccine program, mainly with healthcare […]

Gov. Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee greet Vice President Mike Pence Dec. 4 in Memphis at an event to discuss distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Camper wants legislative focus on widespread vaccine distribution

By: - December 15, 2020

With COVID-19 surging across the state, the legislature should concentrate on controlling the virus and disseminating a vaccine when it convenes in January, House Minority Leader Karen Camper says. Gov. Bill Lee’s administration already has a draft plan on the Department of Health website, and the governor, who will not require residents to get vaccinations, […]

Members of the House Democratic Caucus following elections Monday. (Photo: Rep. London Lamar)

House Democrats select Dixie as Caucus chairman

By: - December 7, 2020

Hoping to put a dent in the Republican supermajority, the House Democratic Caucus elected second-term Rep. Vincent Dixie of Nashville as its chairman in a Monday vote. Dixie, the owner of a bail bonding company, will replace Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville, who is stepping down from the post after six years. He defeated Rep. […]

Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

DeBerry “surprised” by appointment to governor’s cabinet

By: - December 7, 2020

Former Memphis state Rep. John DeBerry, fresh off losing a re-election bid as a first-time independent candidate, says he was planning retirement after 26 years in the Legislature when Gov. Bill Lee tabbed him for a senior cabinet position. “This is one of the most unexpected things I have had happen to me in my […]

Tennessee House of Representatives Chambers (iStock Editorial/Getty Images)

Legislators could undercut governor’s emergency orders

By: - December 1, 2020

Amid questions about Tennessee’s elongated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators are planning to cut drastically into a future governor’s ability to declare extended states of emergency. “If this state of emergency we’re in right now were a pregnancy, we would be diapering the baby,” state Rep. John Ragan said Tuesday, contending the virus is […]