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 and Best Single Feature from the Tennessee Press Association.

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 […]

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 […]

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee pictured with his wife, Maria, during a Memphis event in December. (Photo by © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Republican lawmaker questions effectiveness of governor’s mask opt-out order

By: - September 2, 2021

As Shelby County tries to overturn Gov. Bill Lee’s order allowing parents to opt children out of a school mask mandate, state Rep. Tom Leatherwood contends the governor’s directive is limited already because of health department rules. Leatherwood, an Arlington Republican, said Wednesday he supports parents’ rights to send their children to school without masks. […]

Memphis Democrats could lose a couple of seats in redistricting. Pictured from left in foreground: Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville, Memphis Rep. G.A. Hardaway and Nashville Rep. Jason Powell. (Photo: File)

Memphis lawmakers worry about losing district seat amid plummeting population

By: - September 1, 2021

House Speaker Cameron Sexton appointed a bipartisan panel to handle redistricting in Tennessee, but even with Democrats on the panel Memphis legislators remain fearful of losing a seat as their urban population falls. “It’s a big concern,” says state Rep. Antonio Parkinson, chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. “I just want to […]

Scrap autos. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

Davidson County rep feels ire of motorists over emissions testing

By: - August 31, 2021

State Rep. Darren Jernigan is getting an earful from constituents wondering why they have to keep testing car emissions while neighbors in surrounding counties won’t when 2022 rolls around. The Old Hickory Democrat who represents a chunk of eastern Davidson County is questioning whether the program designed to cut pollution in Middle Tennessee has run […]

Gov. Bill Lee addresses members of the 112th General Assembly at the opening of a special session dedicated to education. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Feds open civil rights probe of Lee mask order

By: - August 30, 2021

The federal government opened a civil rights probe Monday of Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order on masks, threatening to take action against Tennessee if it finds a violation of U.S. law. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights informed Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn it opened a “directed investigation” into whether the state is […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Republican lawmakers could look outside mask mandates

By: - August 20, 2021

Even before Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools balked at Gov. Bill Lee’s opt-out order on mask mandates, legislators were considering curtailing vaccine “passports” and possibly even contact tracing in schools. And with the state at loggerheads with both districts, things could get tough. House Speaker Cameron Sexton says everything is being considered […]

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

Tennessee lawmakers react to Biden slap at Lee

By: - August 19, 2021

President Joe Biden and his administration are challenging Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee’s order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates and questioning its legality. In a tweet, Biden said, “We will not sit by as Governors try to block or intimidate educators protecting kids against COVID-19.” “This isn’t about politics. This is about […]

Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville. Metro Nashville Public Schools will get Title 1 funds for low-income students slashed, but got boosts from other funding sources. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lieutenant governor warns school districts to follow new mask opt-out order

By: - August 17, 2021

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally threatened Tuesday to take “remedial options” against school systems that refuse to follow the governor’s order allowing parents to opt students out of mask requirements. “I am extremely appalled and alarmed at the response to Gov. Lee’s executive order from Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools. This order was […]

Dr. Michelle Fiscus prepares for an interview in her Williamson County home. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Fiscus disputes report she had muzzle sent to her office before firing

By: - August 16, 2021

Fired state medical director or immunizations Dr. Michelle “Shelley” Fiscus shot back at a Department of Safety report showing she had a muzzle sent to her office days before she was terminated by the Department of Health. “They obviously set up a false account, a fake account with her name and her address,” Brad Fiscus, […]

Gov. Bill Lee at a July press conference. (Photo: John Partipilo))

Governor issues school mask opt-out edict

By: - August 16, 2021

Rather than call a special session to let the Legislature deal with school board actions, Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Monday requiring school systems to let parents opt out of mask mandates. If a school system were to challenge the order, Lee said such a move would be against the law. He noted […]