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.

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly on the floor of the House of Representatives. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House, Senate approve opposing court plans to hear redistricting, constitutional challenges

By: - May 5, 2021

Republicans say it’s necessary to move statewide legal decisions out of Davidson County. Democrats contend it is “sausage making” and “court packing” at its worst. Either way, the House voted 68-23 to create a three-member statewide appellate court – to be appointed by the governor – to hear redistricting cases and constitutional challenges to state […]

'Bills have consequences,' says a sign held by a Tennessee resident sitting in a Tennessee Senate hearing Tuesday. The hearing focused on a bill giving immunity to drivers hitting protestors and was one of several racially-charged hearings on what could be the final day of the legislative session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House, Senate at odds over bill withholding funds from school districts that teach systemic racism

By: - May 4, 2021

After a far-flung debate that touched on everything from the Three-Fifths Compromise to the Holocaust, the House passed legislation Tuesday that would allow the state to punish school districts if a teacher delves into systemic racism in America. But the bill is tied up in a disagreement between the House and Senate. In the final […]

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

Kelsey bill limiting lawsuits against state still in trouble

By: - May 3, 2021

Legislation by state Sen. Brian Kelsey prohibiting local governments from suing the state continues to hit opposition within his own party. The Senate voted 14-14 last week to kill an amendment by the Germantown Republican, which he hoped to tack on to Senate Bill 915, a measure that already aligns with House Bill 1072. That […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: Comptroller defends invitation to Memphis office

By: - April 30, 2021

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Jason Mumpower, still in his first year, is set to celebrate the opening of a new field office in Memphis where investigators are expanding operations to make sure the government is spending money properly. No doubt, Tennesseans don’t like graft and correction. Well, at least some don’t.  The perceived problem, […]

Inside the Tennessee Senate chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House, Senate put $2M in $42.6B budget for super-chancery court

By: - April 30, 2021

Despite questions about establishing a super-chancery court, the Legislature put $2.4 million to fund the new judiciary in its $42.6 billion budget for fiscal 2021-22, raising concerns about a continual slap in the face of Davidson County. Legislation establishing the three-judge panel to hear constitutional challenges to Tennessee laws is scheduled Monday in House and […]

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

Murfreesboro attorney wants full accounting from mayor

By: - April 28, 2021

A Murfreesboro attorney is asking the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance to require Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron to explain illegal and undocumented contributions to his campaign or be prevented from seeking re-election. Brad Hornsby, an attorney with Bulloch, Fly, Hornsby & Evans in Murfreesboro, sent a letter Tuesday to Bill Young, executive director of […]

The Tennessee State Capitol with locked gates. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Former chief justice says judicial bill raises questions

By: - April 28, 2021

Former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William Koch is scratching his head over legislation enabling the state to bypass court injunctions for laws facing constitutional challenges. “I’m not exactly sure what the statute is designed to fix,” Koch said, the day after the House passed a bill that would ensure state laws take effect even if […]

Gov. Bill Lee ending his third State of the State address. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor sees end of COVID-19 state of emergency coming soon

By: - April 27, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee partially lifted a 13-month-long state of emergency Tuesday, announcing the end of public health orders and signing an executive order dealing with economic and regulatory functions. The governor all but declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as a health threat. He removed the ability of mayors in 89 of 95 counties […]

Senate defeats amendment prohibiting local challenges of state law

By: - April 27, 2021

The House took a step Monday toward making the Legislature legally invincible, but the Senate turned back a measure in its version of the legislation that would have prohibited local governments from suing the state. That 14-14 vote defeating an amendment by Sen. Brian Kelsey effectively put the legislation on hold until Wednesday when the […]

Gov. Bill Lee addresses Tennesseans from the Governor's Residence. Lee issued an executive order limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people. (Photo: YouTube)

Legislative control over governor’s emergency powers in limbo

By: - April 27, 2021

Legislation stopping the governor from issuing a state of emergency for more than 60 days is meeting different fates in the Senate and House this year. On one hand, bills shifting authority to county mayors and school boards away from public health boards, mainly in Tennessee’s six largest counties with independent health departments, have drawn […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: House Democrats keep Windle from defecting

By: - April 23, 2021

Already battling for numbers, the House Democratic Caucus kept Rep. John Mark Windle from bolting during an hour-long, closed meeting Thursday. When you’ve got only 26 of 99 House members and constantly scratch and claw for the smallest of victories, losing one vote could mean the world, especially when Windle – who is said to […]

Gov. Bill Lee has stood by an experimental health care block grant approved by the Trump Administration. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee Justice Center, families file lawsuit over TennCare block grant

By: - April 22, 2021

A group of 13 Medicaid recipients represented by Tennessee Justice Center and two other groups filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court challenging federal approval of a TennCare block grant through 2030. “The hardships experienced by the plaintiffs who brought this case show the harm caused by the state’s decision to radically restructure TennCare. Tennessee […]