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.

The Covenant School, where seven people, including the shooter, died in a mass shooting in Nashville, Tenn. on Monday March 27, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Republicans balk at governor’s order of protection bill, calling it “red flag”

By: - April 19, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated. In final days of the 2023 session, House Republicans are ready to block Gov. Bill Lee’s last-minute pitch for a temporary “order of protection” law designed to stop mass shootings such as the one that killed six people at The Covenant School. House Speaker Cameron Sexton declined to […]

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives carries on business Monday as Bishop William Barber, II, in white robes, waits at the back of the chambers. Barber was at the Capitol for "Moral Monday," a protest for gun safety laws. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Guns gum up works as Legislature speeds to adjournment

By: - April 18, 2023

Lawmakers are heading for a showdown over the governor’s extreme risk protection order plan and, possibly, a gun safe storage bill as they try to adjourn for the year before the end of the week. The National Rifle Association stepped into the arena Tuesday with a statement saying “red flag” laws turn the Second Amendment […]

Bill sponsor Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Hohenwald, with hand raised on House floor. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Black Democrats criticize Republican meeting audio as “disappointing”

By: - April 17, 2023

Black lawmakers are denouncing secretly-recorded statements made by House Republicans, calling them “false” after the comments went public following the expulsion of two young Black legislators. In the audio initially reported by the Tennessee Holler, Republican Rep. Jason Zachary of Knoxville said he was tired of being called a racist and “white supremacist” by Black […]

Justin Pearson, surrounded by supporters, prepares to enter the Tennessee House of Representatives Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Pearson returns with fists in air but no disruption

By: - April 14, 2023

Nashville resident Rita Nix waits patiently Thursday morning for newly-reappointed Rep. Justin J. Pearson to arrive for yet another swearing-in ceremony. The War Memorial Plaza crowd is still small as people mill about looking for the Democrats’ rising star to arrive from Memphis. “I jumped up out of my bed to support these young men,” […]

Assault weapons at a gun show.(Photo by Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Tennessee gun lobby throws water on governor’s protective order plan

By: - April 13, 2023

The Tennessee Firearms Association is trashing Gov. Bill Lee’s push for what it calls a “red flag law,” saying he wants to pass an unconstitutional measure as an emotional reaction to the Covenant School shooting. “Governor Lee called for the Legislature to react to the emotional response of some citizens after the Covenant murders and more […]

Gov. Bill Lee, surrounded by Republican lawmakers during an April 3 press conference at which Lee announced he would direct funding towards school safety measures. (Photo:John Partipilo)

Governor wants guns out of the hands of unstable people

By: - April 11, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated. Grasping for methods to stop mass shootings, Gov. Bill Lee started pushing the Tennessee Legislature to pass a bill that would keep guns away from unstable people. Two weeks after the shooting deaths of six people, including three 9-year-olds, at The Covenant School in Green Hills, Lee said […]

House Speaker Cameron Sexton (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump, special edition: Former GOP lawmaker calls out speaker over expulsions

By: - April 11, 2023

Amid the roar, former Republican state Rep. Kent Calfee is a voice crying out from the wilderness, questioning House Speaker Cameron Sexton’s handling of a floor protest that led to expulsions for two of three lawmakers. Calfee, who took to Twitter over the weekend to express his dismay, says the speaker’s decision-making was “Horrible! Horrible!” […]

The "Tennessee Three:" Democratic Former Rep. Justin Jones, Nashville; Rep. Gloria Johnson, Knoxville; and former Rep. Justin Pearson, Memphis. The Tennessee General Assembly expelled Jones and Pearson on Thursday, April 6, over "decorum." (Photo: John Partipilo"

Stockard on the Stump: World watches House kick out two reps for 15 seconds of protest

By: - April 7, 2023

Oil supplies won’t be depleted. It turns out Tennessee House Republicans have only a partial case of tin man’s disease – shortage of heart – as they expelled only two of three Democrats a week after the trio disrupted the House floor in a rally against weak gun laws.  The predictability of the supermajority – […]

Former state Rep. Mike Stewart, photographed a the Tennessee General Assembly in 2022, will represent Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville at her House expulsion hearing. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Former state lawmakers to represent Johnson in expulsion hearing

By: - April 5, 2023

Two former House members will be representing state Rep. Gloria Johnson in her Thursday expulsion hearing. John Mark Windle, a former Democratic lawmaker from Livingston, is working as lead attorney on her case, and Mike Stewart, a former Nashville Democratic lawmaker, is expected to represent her as well, according to documents filed with the House […]

Key Republican to take up gun storage effort in wake of Covenant shooting

By: - April 5, 2023

This story has been updated. A House Republican leader is planning to revive a measure requiring people to lock their guns in vehicles — an effort to stop an epidemic of “smash and grab” thefts — as the Democrat-backed effort stalled Tuesday in the Legislature. State Rep. Jeremy Faison, chairman of the House Republican Caucus, […]

Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, outside of Tennessee House chambers on Monday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Embattled rep files charges against Republican in House melee

By: - April 4, 2023

This story has been updated. State Rep. Justin Jones, facing expulsion for leading a House floor protest against lax gun laws, filed a police report late Monday against a Republican lawmaker who grabbed his phone and allegedly pushed him Monday night. Jones reported the incident involving state Rep. Justin Lafferty of Knoxville to Metro Nashville […]

Democratic Reps. Justin Pearson, Gloria Johnson and Justin Jones at a Monday press conference on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo

House Republicans move to expel three Democrats over floor protests

By: - April 3, 2023

(This story has been updated.) Republican lawmakers sponsored resolutions Monday to expel three Democrats who led a protest on the House floor last week as hundreds of people rallied outside the chamber for tighter gun laws before the session devolved into a fracas.  The bills are aimed at state Reps. Justin Jones of Nashville, Justin […]