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.

A pickup truck emblazoned with the Jack Daniel's Distillery logo parked in front of the Cordell Hull Legislative Office Building Wednesday. Inside the building, officials with company gave one-fith bottles of Jack to legislators. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Stockard on the Stump: Holt sidesteps moral dilemma with state job handling booze industry

By: - March 5, 2021

Retired Capitol Hill reporter Tom Humphrey for years wrote a column called “Humphrey on the Hill.” In his stead, Sam Stockard is taking up the mantle with a new report called “Stockard on the Stump,” a collection of briefs, anecdotes and quotes from the latest week in the Tennessee General Assembly. As a state representative, […]

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

Tennessee Republicans belittle Congress’ voter rights resolution

By: - March 5, 2021

Tennessee Republican leaders are belittling Congress’ move this week to change voting laws, mainly by bringing more people into the election process and changing the method for redrawing district lines. On a party-line 220-210 vote, the U.S. House on Wednesday passed wide-ranging voting and ethics legislation. The measure faces a higher hurdle in the Senate, […]

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is proposing a permit-less gun carry bill. The bill would allow people to carry a handgun without a permit as long as they are legally allowed by state law. At the same time the governor's bill has created a new set of penalties for those who use weapons to commit crimes. (Photo taken Feb. 3, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee by Karen Pulfer Focht)

Permit-less gun carry bills steamroll through Legislature

By: - March 3, 2021

Despite opposition from law enforcement officials, permit-less weapon legislation gained momentum in the General Assembly this week, although lawmakers might have to pick Gov. Bill Lee’s bill over one considered to be true “constitutional carry.” The Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amended version of the governor’s bill on a 7-2 vote Tuesday, followed by the […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Voting rights advocates and Democratic leaders slam GOP efforts to remove judge

By: - March 2, 2021

A Tennessee plaintiff in the 2020 lawsuit to expand absentee voting during the COVID-19 pandemic says legislation to remove Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle is part of an effort to quell voting rights. Meanwhile, House Democrats contend the move is an unconstitutional effort to remove a sitting judge because Republicans disagree with her rulings. They say […]

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

House Finance chair laments use of Phoenix Solutions for constituent work

By: - March 1, 2021

Signal Mountain Republican Rep. Patsy Hazlewood and other House Republicans regret using mysterious out-of-state vendor Phoenix Solutions for a taxpayer-funded legislative mailer in 2020. “It would be good to know who you’re doing business with. I thought I did, but maybe not,” said Hazlewood, appointed by House Speaker Cameron Sexton this year to chair the […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: Lawmakers on getting Miranda warning and taking the fifth

By: - February 26, 2021

Retired Capitol Hill reporter Tom Humphrey for years wrote a column called “Humphrey on the Hill.” In his stead, Sam Stockard is  taking up the mantle with a  report called “Stockard on the Stump,” a collection of briefs, anecdotes and quotes from the latest week in the Tennessee General Assembly. If anyone doubts the FBI […]

Store shelves are empty of milk and water at Kroger Trinity Commons in Cordova, Tennessee. Memphis Light Gas and Water has issued a first ever boil order alert due to low water pressure problems related to the recent winter storms that have passed through the area. (© Karen Pulfer Focht)

Memphis lawmakers: Bolster water lines to avoid crisis

By: - February 25, 2021

Shelby County legislators say upgrading the Memphis water infrastructure is critical to avert another boil-water advisory the next time the city is hit with a winter storm. Memphis Light, Gas and Water put the advisory into effect last week when water lines across the city sprang leaks, causing water pressure to dwindle and raising concerns […]

A pickup truck emblazoned with the Jack Daniel's Distillery logo parked in front of the Cordell Hull Legislative Office Building Wednesday. Inside the building, officials with company gave one-fith bottles of Jack to legislators. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

From the Hill: Lawmakers enjoy a bottle of Jack at virtual reception

By: - February 24, 2021

COVID-19 rules remain partially in effect at the Legislature, including a ban on most fundraising receptions. But that didn’t stop Jack Daniel’s from handing out bottles of the state’s top Tennessee sipping whiskey to lawmakers Wednesday. Brown-Forman, the Kentucky-based owner of Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, was to hold a virtual legislative reception from 7-9 […]

Tennessee Senate Chambers (Photo: Tennessee Secretary of State)

Constitutional amendment would give legislature a hand in attorney general selection

By: - February 24, 2021

A move for “transparency” and legislative control is butting heads with the concept of separation of powers in an effort to change the way Tennessee selects its top law enforcement officer. With a key vote Tuesday, state Sen. Ken Yager, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, is gaining momentum for passage of a constitutional amendment […]

In December, a group of parents rallied in Nashville to get their kids back in the classroom. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senate takes school openings out of health officials’ hands, gives school boards, governor authority

By: - February 23, 2021

Local school boards instead of public health boards would make decisions governing the return of students to in-classroom learning under legislation that passed the Senate in a 27-5 vote Monday. In addition, the legislation would give the governor free rein to order school districts to bring students back to classrooms, a shot at Shelby County […]

Quanita Thomas, fondly known as “Q” (center) hands out a food basket to Carlos Williams who lives in the North Nashville neighborhood. Thomas is also an associate pastor at the Historic First Community Church in North Nashville. (Photo by John Partipilo

Tennessee GOP leaders won’t tap reserve funds

By: - February 22, 2021

Tennessee’s rainy day fund and total reserves are hitting record highs, but Republican leaders are loath to use them, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  It also could take months to form a new plan for increasing cash assistance to needy families, even though lawmakers recognize they let the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families reserve grow […]

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

Stockard on the Stump: Ketron audit presents ‘convoluted’ financial web for Registry board

By: - February 19, 2021

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron’s hearing before the Registry of Election Finance will pose new questions because it is “so convoluted,” a board member tells Tennessee Lookout, dealing with three entities tied up with each other. The Registry board is to hold a show-cause hearing with Ketron in April when he’ll be given a chance […]