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.

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

Tennessee won’t bite Biden’s Medicaid carrot

By: - February 18, 2021

Tennessee is likely to reject hundreds of millions of dollars President Joe Biden is offering states to expand Medicaid as part of his $1.3 trillion COVID-19 relief package, even though hundreds of thousands of people remain without healthcare coverage. Democrats have been urging the state’s top Republican leaders for years to accept the federal government’s […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Registry of Election Finance changes unlikely amid FBI probe

By: - February 17, 2021

With an FBI investigation hanging over the Legislature, changes are improbable in the makeup of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. An idea to merge the Registry of Election Finance and Ethics Commission into one eight-member body is being floated in the Legislature, as reported by the Tennessee Journal.  But it will meet resistance […]

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

Bad weather shuts down Legislature for the week

By: - February 16, 2021

With ice and snow covering highways and streets into Nashville, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally announced Tuesday the Legislature will be closed this week. “Due to continuing severe weather and adverse road conditions, all @tnsenate meetings are cancelled for the remainder of the week. Members do not need to travel to Nashville. Staff is advised to […]

A.B. Hill Elementary (Photo: Shelby County Schools)

Senator lauds Shelby Schools plan to return to classrooms

By: - February 16, 2021

State Sen. Raumesh Akbari praised Shelby County Schools’ plan to bring students back to classrooms amid pressure from state leaders and a steady decline in COVID-19 cases. “The Return Stronger plan to phase in classroom learning is a plan to safely reopen schools – and keep schools open,” Akbari, a Memphis Democrat, said in a […]

A site plan of the Memphis Megasite. (Photo: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development)

Governor budgets $15M for Memphis Mega-site

By: - February 16, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee has put $15 million in his fiscal 2021-22 spending plan for construction of a wastewater utility line from the Memphis Mega-site in West Tennessee to the Mississippi River. If approved by the state Legislature, the funds would bring Tennessee’s total investment to $189 million in the 4,100-acre mega-site in Haywood County, some […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Stockard on the stump: Kelsey throws down challenge to Shelby County Schools

By: - February 12, 2021

Retired Capitol Hill reporter Tom Humphrey for years wrote a column called “Humphrey on the Hill.” In his stead, I 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.–SS Pouring gas on an argument […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Legislature’s legal costs raise questions as transgender athlete bill starts rolling

By: - February 12, 2021

The state attorney general is seeking $700,000 to hire new attorneys to fight for new state laws, and the governor is requesting $7 million more for court costs, raising questions about whether the state is spending too much money on litigation it could avoid. Despite those planned expenses, the state could find itself in yet […]

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

Audit finds Rutherford County mayor failed to report tens of thousands in campaign contributions

By: - February 10, 2021

A third state audit of former Sen. Bill Ketron, now the mayor of Rutherford County, found his Senate campaign account violated state law or disclosure regulations 13 times, in part by failing to report nearly $44,500 in campaign contributions and documenting nearly $13,000 in campaign funds. Without comment in a teleconference meeting allowed by pandemic […]

Senate Judiciary expedites Right to Work resolution

By: - February 10, 2021

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed an effort Tuesday to enshrine Tennessee’s Right to Work Law in the state Constitution, continuing the process to put it on the 2022 ballot for a voter referendum. With a 7-2 vote, the committee gave a positive recommendation to Sen. Brian Kelsey’s Senate Joint Resolution 2, which would amend the […]

A site plan of the Memphis Megasite. (Photo: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development)

Senator: Memphis Mega-site tweaked to create economic development corridor

By: - February 9, 2021

Momentum is building for a redesign of the Memphis Megasite wastewater line that would allow for an economic development corridor all the way from the 4,100-acre site in Haywood County to eastern Shelby County, a state senator said. The West Tennessee legislative delegation is working with House and Senate leadership to move the plan forward, […]

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

In State of State, Lee lauds his pandemic response and talks economic recovery plans

By: - February 8, 2021

Coming off one of the most difficult years in state history, Gov. Bill Lee delivered his plan Monday to boost Tennessee’s economy and jumpstart K-12 education with a $41.8 billion budget plan as the COVID-19 crisis continues, while praising the state’s pandemic response as effective. The governor, though, is not renewing a call for family […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro)

Supreme Court to hear appeal on governor’s school voucher law

By: - February 5, 2021

The Tennessee Supreme Court agreed Thursday to take up the state’s appeal on the education savings account program (ESA)  after two lower courts found it unconstitutional. The decision came nine months after Davidson County Chancellor Anne Martin ruled the voucher law would violate the state Constitution’s home rule provision by targeting only Metro Nashville Public […]