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 (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Education panels won’t hear Hakeem’s Black history bill

By: - September 21, 2021

A joint meeting of House Education committees isn’t likely to consider Rep. Yusuf Hakeem’s Black history education bill this week even though he was told it would be made “perfect” in summer study. The Chattanooga Democrat sought to increase Black history curriculum in grades 5-8 earlier this year, but the House Education Instruction Committee voted […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing members of the Tennessee National Guard. (Photo: tn.gov)

Governor signs letter to Biden requesting border ‘crisis’ discussion

By: - September 20, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee joined 25 Republican governors Monday in sending a letter to President Joe Biden seeking a meeting to resolve the “crisis” at the Southern border where tens of thousands of Haitians and people of other nations are gathered to enter the United States. “As we surpass the eight-month mark of a relentless and […]

Members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucus, including Sen. Jeff Yarbro, left, and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, next to him, slammed Gov. Bill Lee for the political firing of a leading health official. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lieutenant governor appoints bipartisan redistricting committee

By: - September 17, 2021

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally appointed a bipartisan panel Friday to draw new state and federal district maps, naming a Memphis Democrat as a chairman to the panel and ordering the group to focus on public input. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, will be joined by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, chairman […]

COMMENTARY
(Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Tennessee joins fight against John Lewis Voting Rights Act

By: - September 17, 2021

Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery is formally opposing passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, signing on to a letter with Republican AGs saying it would allow the feds to “usurp” states’ authority over elections. “If these provisions are enacted, rest assured that the undersigned will aggressively defend our citizens’ rights to participate […]

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, photographed at the Tennessee Capitol on March 18, 2020 by John Partipilo.

Lieutenant governor continues to oppose COVID-issue special session

By: - September 15, 2021

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally is staving off requests for a special session by conservative senators who believe the Legislature should react to what they consider government “overreach.” In response to letters by at least four senators, a McNally spokesman issued a statement Wednesday saying the lieutenant governor’s position hasn’t changed and that he doesn’t see […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Legislators put bail bond industry under the microscope

By: - September 15, 2021

West Tennessee bail bond agent Shelly Alexander wept Tuesday as she told lawmakers how she once refused to bail her daughter out of jail for a meth arrest. Alexander knew her daughter had a “habit” and would go right back to debilitating drugs if she bailed her out. In fact, she told other bail agents […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

East Tennessee rep wants lawsuit to block Biden vaccine mandate

By: - September 14, 2021

Kingston Republican Rep. Bud Hulsey is ready for Tennessee to go to court in an effort to stop President Joe Biden’s vaccination order from taking effect here. Just days after the president introduced an executive mandate requiring employers with at least 100 workers to make sure they’re vaccinated or show a weekly negative COVID-19 test, […]

Gov. Bill Lee at a plant dedication Humboldt, Tennessee in March, pictured with plant workers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republicans call Biden vaccine plan “tyranny”

By: - September 10, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee is criticizing President Joe Biden’s vaccine plan for employers, which could affect 80 million workers, and House Republicans are taking it a step further, calling it “tyranny.” Lee, a Williamson County Republican, said Thursday he thinks the Democratic president’s plan to increase vaccines nationwide is “a terrible idea.”  The governor said he […]

COMMENTARY
Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, pictured at right with Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, defends herself against questions about possible "Schwinnanigans."(Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Textbook commission sends ‘hands off’ message to Schwinn

By: - September 10, 2021

Tennessee Textbook Commission Chairman Linda Cash sent a message to the state Department of Education Thursday, declaring the group’s independence and letting officials know that no vendors should get an advantage in the coming math book selection process. Under state law, “there are no pilots of anything to be pushed out during the 18 months […]

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper campaigning at Cathedral of Praise in North Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Congressman pushes to keep Davidson County whole in redistricting

By: - September 8, 2021

Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper urged a House redistricting committee Wednesday to keep Davidson County together rather than split it up to create a potential Republican seat. “We’re one community here. We’re one of the best communities in the world. To break that up would be tragic,” Cooper said.  With a state population of 6.9 million, […]

Dr. Michelle Fiscus (Photo: John Partipilo)

Fiscus files lawsuit against Health Department officials, denies mailing muzzle

By: - September 4, 2021

Fired state immunization director Dr. Michelle Fiscus has filed a federal lawsuit against top Department of Health officials and in her filing claims, under penalty of perjury, she did not send a muzzle to herself. “The complaint and declaration speak for themselves. I look forward to my name being cleared despite the Tennessee Department of […]

COMMENTARY
Gov. Bill Lee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Governor won’t take the blame for lawsuits or school closings

By: - September 3, 2021

Under a federal civil rights investigation, facing two lawsuits out of Shelby County over his mask opt-out order and now seeing school districts closing, Gov. Bill Lee refuses to let the buck stop with him. “My responsibility is to work together to make the best decisions in our state that we believe will benefit Tennesseans […]