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.

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senate speeds modified block grant agreement with feds; House suspends rules for consideration

By: - January 14, 2021

The Tennessee General Assembly is roaring ahead with a modified Medicaid block grant program for the state’s poorest residents despite the possibility the Biden Administration could rescind it. Two Senate panels — the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee — approved the federal agreement Wednesday, with dissent coming only […]

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett testifies before the U.S. Senate Rules Committee on Absentee Voting. (Screenshot of Senate Rules Committee.)

Hargett remains Secretary of State despite modicum of Democratic opposition

By: - January 13, 2021

The General Assembly overwhelmingly re-elected Secretary of State Tre Hargett to the constitutional office, despite opposition from some Democrats, and elevated former legislator Jason Mumpower to the post of Tennessee Comptroller, replacing the retiring Justin Wilson. Twelve Democrats out of 132 members in the 112th General Assembly voted against Hargett’s re-election Wednesday at the War […]

Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, talks with reporters on the opening day of the 112th General Assembly. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Smith sidesteps questions about FBI raid but won’t deny she could be subject of probe

By: - January 13, 2021

Days after the FBI raided her office and home, state Rep. Robin Smith denied being a “target” of a federal investigation but stopped short of saying she’s not a “subject” of the FBI probe. “My attorney issued a statement on Friday. It’s an accurate statement. I am fully cooperating. I plan to be doing that. […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

U.S. Capitol attack looms over Legislature as lawmakers downplay insurrection

By: - January 12, 2021

A Republican Tennessee lawmaker who attended the Washington, D.C. protest-turned-riot denied Tuesday she did anything wrong as she faces potential removal for supporting the insurrection. State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, a Lancaster Republican representing the 40th House District, acted as if she was unaware of the Jan. 6 attack in which five people died as […]

Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Targets of FBI raid lawyer up

By: - January 12, 2021

A new Marshall County Republican legislator targeted by the FBI in a Friday morning raid has hired a prominent Nashville criminal defense attorney to represent him. Todd Warner, a Chapel Hill farmer and businessman, retained Peter Strianse after federal agents swooped down on his home and business early Jan. 8. Warner also could face renewed […]

U.S. President Donald Trump stands in the colonnade as he is introduced to speak to March for Life participants and pro-life leaders in the Rose Garden at the White House on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Cooper: House to seek removal of President Trump

By: - January 12, 2021

Congressman Jim Cooper predicted Monday the U.S. House will seek to remove President Donald Trump this week for inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, either by invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching the commander in chief as he leaves office. Cooper, a Nashville Democrat, was set to return to Washington, D.C., Monday where he said […]

California voters at a protest against Medicaid cuts. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cooper urges Biden to reverse TennCare block grant

By: - January 11, 2021

Three days after Tennessee officials announced approval of a Medicaid block grant to fund TennCare, the state’s program for sick and needy residents, Congressman Jim Cooper sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter asking him to rescind the plan. Tennessee’s Republican leaders say a block grant will enable the state to run the healthcare program more […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

FBI raids homes, legislative offices; Three legislative staff members placed on leave

By: , and - January 8, 2021

The FBI raided the legislative offices and homes of state lawmakers as well as current and former aides, multiple sources confirmed to the Tennessee Lookout. The raids were first reported by the Tennessean. State Rep. Glen Casada, state Rep. Robin Smith, newly elected state Rep. Todd Warner and former Casada aide Cade Cothren were among […]

(Photo: Alex Kent)

Putting the presidency back together: McNally recognizes Biden presidency as congressmen seek Trump removal

By: - January 7, 2021

Recognition of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory started trickling in Thursday from Tennessee Republicans as congressional leaders tried to figure out the nation’s next step in the wake of a U.S. Capitol insurrection by Trump supporters. At least four people died, including one Air Force veteran shot by U.S. Capitol Police, in the melee, and […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Camper asks governor to call virtual session, State of State

By: - January 7, 2021

House Minority Leader Karen Camper, still feeling the ill effects of COVID-19, is asking Gov. Bill Lee to give his State of the State address virtually and order the Legislature to hold its sessions online as the 112th General Assembly convenes. In a pre-Christmas letter to the governor, the Memphis Democrat requested Lee also send […]

A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

How Tennessee leaders responded to uprising at U.S. Capitol

By: , and - January 6, 2021

Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation called for peace following insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a Senate debate about whether to certify the presidential election results. Congress members and their staff reported being safe following a dramatic scene in which armed protesters stormed the Senate chambers, overrunning the Capitol police following a rally […]

Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Sexton balks at masks, but Legislature to take other COVID-19 precautions

By: - January 6, 2021

House Speaker Cameron Sexton told lawmakers Tuesday masks won’t be required during 2021 sessions because their effectiveness is disputable, yet both the House and Senate are taking other steps to stem COVID-19 as the 112th General Assembly convenes. Among the new measures, an antibacterial mist will be sprayed in the Senate and House chambers in […]