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 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 […]

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

Revamped unemployment bill takes Senate step

By: - April 22, 2021

Legislation that could reduce Tennessee’s unemployment time frame but increase payments $50 a week started moving Wednesday in the state Senate, despite complaints it would put families in dire straits. Sen. Jon Lundberg, who took over the bill from Sen. Art Swann, passed an amended SB1042 through the Republican-dominated Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on […]

(Photo: Dickersonfors20, Facebook)

Comprehensive Pain Specialists, former senator settle fraud allegations for $4.1M

By: - April 21, 2021

Former Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson was dropped from a lawsuit filed by the federal government alleging fraud by Comprehensive Pain Specialists, but Dickerson is named as a majority owner in an agreement to pay $4.1 million to settle all claims. Dickerson, who was defeated by Democratic Sen. Heidi Campbell in 2020, has made overtures […]

The Tennessee Senate Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor could appoint statewide chancery court to hear all constitutional cases

By: - April 21, 2021

Legislation creating a so-called super-court to hear constitutional challenges would allow the governor to appoint the three-judge panel and then the attorney general to shift every pending case to the new court, according to an amendment. Senate Bill 454 is the key piece of legislation moving through the Legislature that could change the landscape of […]

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives mill about in House Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Whitson: Ethics legislation on hold to tighten up language

By: - April 20, 2021

Rep. Sam Whitson is holding off on a comprehensive ethics reform bill until 2022 in an effort to improve the legislation, even with an FBI investigation pending. “I see this as an opportunity to make it even better and stronger,” Whitson, a Franklin Republican, said Monday. The Senate version of the House Bill 1201 carried […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Stockard on the Stump: What’s in your wallet? 

By: - April 16, 2021

When the Registry of Election Finance asked Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron: “What’s in your wallet?” It wasn’t his Capital One credit card. Apparently, his daughter, Kelsey Ketron Randolph, had that. And how she was spending it, nobody knows. Or, at least, nobody will tell. A state audit of Ketron’s three campaign accounts found 474 […]

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

Election board levies $135,000 penalty on Rutherford County Mayor Ketron

By: - April 15, 2021

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance hit Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron with a $135,000 civil penalty Wednesday as he took responsibility for nearly $300,000 in questionable campaign contributions and expenditures targeted in three state audits. Board members voted 4-0 to levy a new penalty on the former state senator for violations connected to his […]

Cardboard cutouts of fans and celebrities, including singer Tim McGraw, are placed in seats at mostly empty Nissan Stadium during the pandemic season of 2020. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor proposes Titans tax break plus food sales tax holidays in $42.6B budget plan

By: - April 14, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee’s budget plan enables the Tennessee Titans to start collecting $2 million in sales tax revenue through Metro Nashville to go toward Nissan Stadium upgrades, which are part of a broader redevelopment plan along the Cumberland River. The governor released his $42.6 budget and supplemental spending proposal today, including a $100 million two-week […]

Protesters hold signs during a rally calling for criminal justice reform outside the U.S. Capitol July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Aaron P. Bernstein, Getty Images)

Pretrial assessment formula reflects “structural racism”

By: - April 12, 2021

A pretrial assessment algorithm incorporated into one of Gov. Bill Lee’s criminal justice bills is being questioned because it injects “structural racism and institutional inequity” into the court system, according to critics. House Bill 784 sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth requires judges and magistrates to use an evidence-based pretrial risk assessment to determine […]

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

Stockard on the Stump: Bible resolution sponsor incredulous with McNally

By: - April 10, 2021

Rep. Jerry Sexton is questioning the motivation and maybe even the spirituality of Lt. Gov. Randy McNally in picking up his legislation to make the Bible Tennessee’s state book, a move that could kill the resolution if McNally decides to sit on it, which he appears ready to do. McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican, reiterated […]

House Republican Caucus leadership, from left: House Majority Leader William Lamberth, Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison, Assistant Majority Leader Ron Gant, and Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House leaders back unemployment cuts and say jobs abound

By: - April 9, 2021

Saying Tennesseans need to get off the public dole and back to work, House Republican leaders are supporting legislation to cut the time frame for the state’s unemployment benefits in more than half. House Speaker Cameron Sexton endorsed a bill Thursday that would reduce unemployment payments to 12 weeks from 26 weeks when the jobless […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Legislation would cut time frame for state unemployment

By: - April 8, 2021

East Nashville resident Richie Townsend struggled to find work after losing his restaurant job when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.  Townsend, 39, a former bartender at Rolf and Daughters in Germantown, has been on and off state and federal unemployment programs for a year but still has more benefits pending after being laid […]