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.

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his third State of the State on Feb. 8, 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lee shifts stance away from China economic recruiting, education

By: - March 24, 2021

Just months after actively seeking Asian investment in Tennessee, including China, Gov. Bill Lee’s administration is taking a hard stand against the communist country, forcing closure of already-defunct Confucius Institutes at Tennessee universities and shutting down the state’s investment office there. Lee recently introduced legislation to require more transparency on foreign investments in the state’s […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Education commissioner runs into possible conflict with $8M contract

By: - March 22, 2021

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn signed a multimillion-dollar deal in March with a New York-based company as part of the state’s reading initiative, a move lawmakers say creates a potential conflict of interest because her husband works for the vendor. As part of the state’s plan to help students rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Schwinn […]

Slave trader, Confederate general: the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust sits atop a perch outside the Tennessee House of Representatives Chamber. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Akbari, Towns would stamp out “fake history” of slavery 

By: - March 19, 2021

In 2022, Volunteer State voters could be deciding the fate of a constitutional amendment banning all vestiges of slavery from the state Constitution. First, though, they have to figure out whether it’s “fake history,” at least according to one Republican lawmaker. In one of the head-scratchers of the 112th General Assembly, Sen. Brian Kelsey of […]

(Ron Bailey/Getty Images)

Permit-less handgun carry rolls through Senate

By: - March 18, 2021

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a permit-less handgun carry bill Thursday, setting the stage for law-abiding Tennesseans to go armed without a background check or basic weapon training. Senators voted 23-9 to pass the bill, sending the measure to the House of Representatives to consider, despite opposition from law enforcement across the state. The Tennessee […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

For-profit charter schools could take hold in Tennessee

By: - March 18, 2021

Nearly 20 years after nonprofit charter schools started in Tennessee, legislation enabling for-profit charter school managers to operate is moving through the Legislature despite concerns they could benefit from state funds while keeping financial aspects secret. This proposal is being pushed by National Heritage Academies, a for-profit company owned by entrepreneur J.C. Huizenga, which has […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senate committee bucks governor to remake Historical Commission for Forrest vote

By: - March 17, 2021

A Senate committee gave credence Wednesday to legislation vacating the Tennessee Historical Commission over its vote to relocate the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust, despite opposition from Gov. Bill Lee. In a 5-4 vote, the Senate Government Operations Committee gave a positive recommendation to Senate Bill 600 from Sen. Joey Hensley to remove 29 Historical Commission […]

The controversial bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest perches in the Tennessee Capitol's second floor, between the chambers of the House of Representatives and Senate. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Public officials would be impeached for removing statues

By: - March 16, 2021

Two lawmakers who want to impeach any public official who removes statues from the Capitol’s second floor are tiptoeing around an amendment that appears to punish the governor for his efforts to relocate the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust. Sen. Joey Hensley, a Hohenwald Republican, and Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, both said Tuesday […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: Top legislators seeking Mr. Phoenix

By: - March 12, 2021

Retired Capitol Hill reporter Tom Humphrey for years wrote a column called “Humphrey on the Hill.” In his stead, Sam Stockard am 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. With the FBI prowling […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Legislation could move state cases out of Nashville courts

By: - March 11, 2021

A resolution designed to remove Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle from the bench may have died, but other legislation is pending that could move cases against the state out of Davidson County into more conservative parts of Tennessee. Cases against the state of Tennessee are filed in Davidson County courts because the State Capitol is located […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee GOP measure to oust Nashville judge fails

By: and - March 10, 2021

A resolution to remove Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle over her ruling last year to expand absentee voting during the pandemic is dead after the measure failed to clear a necessary House subcommittee. Republican lawmakers targeted Lyle over her ruling that fear of COVID-19 was an adequate reason to request an absentee ballot. The […]

The controversial bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest perches in the Tennessee Capitol's second floor, between the chambers of the House of Representatives and Senate. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Forrest on way out Capitol door: Historical Commission votes for removal to State Museum

By: - March 9, 2021

Hearing overwhelming support to move the Nathan Bedford Forrest out of the State Capitol, the Tennessee Historical Commission voted Tuesday to relocate the embattled statue to the State Museum. After a 25-1 decision, the bust of the Confederate lieutenant general will be moved with U.S. Admirals David Farragut and Albert Gleaves as part of a […]

nthony Eubanks,68, and wife Anna Eubanks, 68, were going to vote by but decided to vote in person on the first day of early voting. The couple, who have been married for 46 years, said they didn’t trust the mail so decided to risk voting In person. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Slatery, Hargett oppose federal voting rights bill

By: - March 9, 2021

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and Secretary of State Tre Hargett have signed letters written by their Republican colleagues criticizing a Democrat-backed federal voting rights bill. One letter, obtained by the Tennessee Journal, shows Slatery is joining 19 Republican attorneys general in a letter written by the Indiana attorney general and others contending the act […]