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.

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron speaks to residents in a March address on COVID-19. (Photo: rutherfordcountytn.gov)

Registry director now questions whether state law allowed Ketron payment plan

By: - May 20, 2021

A month after the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance authorized its executive director to negotiate a payment plan with Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron on a $135,000 civil penalty, the director is raising doubts about whether such a move would have been legal. “I think that’s a very close question at the end of the […]

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)

Memphis bridge reopening unclear as governor criticizes federal funding plans

By: - May 18, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee took another shot Tuesday at billions of dollars in COVID-19 federal funding, saying the state should have the flexibility to use that money on roads and bridges as officials said they are expediting work on the cracked I-40 beam that forced the shutdown of Hernando DeSoto Bridge.  Asked about his criticism of […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Carter dies after bout with pancreatic cancer

By: - May 17, 2021

Colleagues are mourning the death of state Rep. Mike Carter, a highly respected Ooltewah Republican and former judge who carried clout in the Tennessee General Assembly. Carter, 67, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer, which was detected in 2020 after he tested positive for COVID-19.  “Mike Carter lost his battle with pancreatic cancer late last night, […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Stockard on the Stump: Registry won’t renew investigation into Ketron

By: - May 16, 2021

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance isn’t going to reopen an investigation of Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron’s campaign finance problems but it will accept new information about the former state senator’s campaign and PAC accounts.

Speaker of the Tennessee House Cameron Sexton, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and Gov. Bill Lee.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers leave door open for special session to handle fed funds

By: - May 13, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee shrugs off the idea of a special session to deal with billions of dollars in federal funding, but some key lawmakers say legislators might need to be called back to Nashville late his summer to handle the overflow of money.

Gov. Bill Lee addressing legislator's during the January 2021 special education session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

‘Stress and uncertainty’ follow Gov. Lee’s decision to end federal unemployment benefits

By: - May 12, 2021

Nearly 112,000 Tennesseans received unemployment payments during the week ending May 1, and 61,000 have applied for jobless benefits, according to the Department of Labor.

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Legal community calls for governor veto of chancery court bill

By: - May 11, 2021

Two former Tennessee Supreme Court justices criticized state legislation setting up a three-judge panel to hear constitutional challenges.

Legislators in the Tennessee Capitol during a break in the final day of session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Lawmaker misreads Three-Fifths Compromise

By: - May 6, 2021

Mercifully, the legislative session is over.  State Rep. Justin Lafferty challenged his House colleagues this week on their understanding of the Three-Fifths Compromise during debate on legislation designed to make teachers turn out widgets instead of students, at least as far as national discourse surrounding systemic racism. “By limiting the number of population in the […]

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly on the floor of the House of Representatives. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House, Senate approve opposing court plans to hear redistricting, constitutional challenges

By: - May 5, 2021

Republicans say it’s necessary to move statewide legal decisions out of Davidson County. Democrats contend it is “sausage making” and “court packing” at its worst. Either way, the House voted 68-23 to create a three-member statewide appellate court – to be appointed by the governor – to hear redistricting cases and constitutional challenges to state […]

'Bills have consequences,' says a sign held by a Tennessee resident sitting in a Tennessee Senate hearing Tuesday. The hearing focused on a bill giving immunity to drivers hitting protestors and was one of several racially-charged hearings on what could be the final day of the legislative session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House, Senate at odds over bill withholding funds from school districts that teach systemic racism

By: - May 4, 2021

After a far-flung debate that touched on everything from the Three-Fifths Compromise to the Holocaust, the House passed legislation Tuesday that would allow the state to punish school districts if a teacher delves into systemic racism in America. But the bill is tied up in a disagreement between the House and Senate. In the final […]

The Cordell Hull Legislative Building. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Kelsey bill limiting lawsuits against state still in trouble

By: - May 3, 2021

Legislation by state Sen. Brian Kelsey prohibiting local governments from suing the state continues to hit opposition within his own party. The Senate voted 14-14 last week to kill an amendment by the Germantown Republican, which he hoped to tack on to Senate Bill 915, a measure that already aligns with House Bill 1072. That […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: Comptroller defends invitation to Memphis office

By: - April 30, 2021

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Jason Mumpower, still in his first year, is set to celebrate the opening of a new field office in Memphis where investigators are expanding operations to make sure the government is spending money properly. No doubt, Tennesseans don’t like graft and correction. Well, at least some don’t.  The perceived problem, […]