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.

The Tennessee Senate Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Ethics reform bill to tamp down on corruption clears first hurdle in Tennessee Senate

By: - April 6, 2022

Legislation designed to shine more light on political actions committees and campaign finances passed its first committee in the Legislature Tuesday, a move lawmakers hope will block corruption. The Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 1005, carried by Senate Speaker Pro Tem Ferrell Haile, sending it to the Senate floor for […]

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

TennCare bill targeting Centene faces rocky road in Senate

By: - April 5, 2022

The Senate sponsor of TennCare legislation has serious reservations about changing the bill to give the nation’s largest Medicaid managed-care company a multi-billion-dollar contract after it failed to win a bid. “That would be hard for me to accept. There’d have to be some very compelling reason to do that,” Sen. Todd Gardenhire said Monday. […]

COMMENTARY
Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton: Centene Corp. needed for 'openness.' (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: House Speaker stands by bill giving Centene a TennCare contract

By: - April 1, 2022

House Speaker Cameron Sexton reiterated support Thursday for legislation that would steer a TennCare contract to Centene Corp., saying it’s necessary to ensure coverage for thousands of people on a dual enrollment plan. Sexton contends more “openness” is needed because thousands of people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid were dropped from TennCare by companies […]

The Tennessee State Capitol with gates locked.

TennCare bill would give contract to company linked to bid-rigging complaint

By: - March 31, 2022

Lawmakers held up legislation Wednesday that would create an opening for a TennCare contract to be given to a massive company connected to a bid-rigging lawsuit filed against the state. House Bill 2625, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Baum, was placed “behind the budget” in the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday because it […]

(Art: Getty Images)

Little-known super PAC threatens lawsuit to save Ortagus’ Tennessee congressional bid

By: - March 30, 2022

Fifth Congressional District candidate Morgan Ortagus is playing it cool in light of legislation passed Monday that could stall her campaign. But at least one new group in the pro-MAGA vein is threatening to challenge the measure. The day after the Tennessee House sided with the Senate in requiring a three-year state residency to run […]

"I'm encouraged and praying for our Justices," said Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville(Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee House Speaker, other lawmakers testify before federal grand jury

By: - March 29, 2022

House Speaker Cameron Sexton said Monday he gave “factual information” to a grand jury investigating political corruption and confirmed he is not a “target” in the federal probe. Sexton was among at least five lawmakers subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, including Republican Reps. Jason Zachary of Knoxville, Bud Hulsey of Kingsport, Patsy Hazlewood […]

COMMENTARY
Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton is one of several lawmakers and legislative staff members to be supoenaed as part of an investigation but he says there's nothing unusual in the action. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: FBI expediting Tennessee House corruption investigation

By: - March 25, 2022

It wouldn’t be shocking to see indictments come up before the Legislature adjourns in late April. Sexton and state Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, both confirmed Thursday they are to go before the grand jury early next week. Helton told the Tennessee Lookout she believes she was ordered to show up because she used a […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee Rep. Bud Hulsey confirms he was served with federal subpoena

By: - March 23, 2022

Only one state House member other than Speaker Cameron Sexton admitted Wednesday to being subpoenaed this week to testify before a federal grand jury. Rep. Bud Hulsey confirmed to the Tennessee Lookout he was served Tuesday as part of a federal probe into corruption on Capitol Hill. Hulsey speculated the grand jury wants to interview […]

Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, plans to introduce an ethics bill to cut down on corruption. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Ethics bill designed to clamp down on legislative corruption still in works

By: - March 23, 2022

Amid local and federal probes into lawmakers and shady campaign vendors, state Rep. Sam Whitson is planning to introduce legislation that could tighten disclosure requirements and do much more, an effort to cut out criminal activity. Timing is a factor, though, if he wants to bring it to a vote this year. Whitson, R-Franklin, says […]

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton backed addition of Centene Corp. to TennCare through a no-bid contract. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Report: House Speaker, lawmakers get federal subpoenas in corruption probe

By: - March 22, 2022

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed House Speaker Cameron Sexton and possibly several other lawmakers in an investigation of corruption in the Legislature, NewsChannel5 reported Tuesday. According to the report, 10 to 12 legislators also are believed to have been subpoenaed Tuesday as federal agents probe the activity of shadowy campaign vendors in connection with […]

Gov. Bill Lee at General Motors' Spring Hill plant on Monday. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Governor again denies any knowledge of National Guard offer for voucher vote

By: - March 21, 2022

For the second time, Gov. Bill Lee denied knowledge Monday of a National Guard promotion offer to Rep. John Mark Windle in return for a vote in favor of the Education Savings Account bill in 2019. But Rep. Kent Calfee confirmed again Monday he had a conversation with the governor about hearing former House Speaker […]

COMMENTARY
Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, at right: Registry of Election Finance sends charges to Williamson County District Attorney. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Calfee links Casada, governor to National Guard promotion offer

By: - March 18, 2022

It was a spring day in 2019 when Rep. Kent Calfee listened as former House Speaker Glen Casada discussed making state Rep. John Mark Windle a general in the National Guard, part of a last-ditch effort to garner enough votes to pass Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account bill. Calfee, a Kingston Republican who is […]