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.

Covenant mother Sarah Neumann holds her son Noah, 6, during a press conference where his mother let him speak to the press. “I don’t want any guns today or any day and I love my school.” Noah said. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Covenant parents form nonprofits to reform gun laws, but will it be enough?

By: - July 23, 2023

Covenant parent Sarah Shoop Neumann became “part of a horrific narrative” she and her family never wanted when a person gunned down three 9-year-old students and three staff members at the tiny church-related Christian school March 27. It’s a harsh reality they can’t escape. “The mass shooting at our beloved school has forever been threaded […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Judge overturns Republican-backed law shifting death penalty challenges to state attorney general

By: - July 20, 2023

A Republican state senator from Memphis contends post-conviction challenges in capital murder cases should be handled by the state attorney general, not local district attorneys, despite a court ruling against the bill he passed. “Because the attorney general handles all other aspects of the appeals process in capital cases, it is more efficient for collateral […]

Ford BlueOval City, photographed while under construction in April 2023. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has sent a letter threatening Fortune 100 companies like Ford for pursuing diverse hiring practices. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Litigation likely to follow AG’s foray into business world’s race-based policies

By: - July 18, 2023

A venture by “red-state” attorneys general into private businesses’ race-based employment policies could lead to new legal challenges, a political scientist says. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti led a coalition of 13 attorneys general last week in warning Fortune 100 companies, including three with a presence in Tennessee, that they could face legal action if […]

Former Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey exits the federal courthouse in Nashville after pleading guilty on two federal counts on Nov. 22. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Kelsey prepares to sue own attorneys in federal fraud case

By: - July 14, 2023

Citing worsening relations with his attorneys, former state Sen. Brian Kelsey is hiring new lawyers to represent him at sentencing on a federal campaign finance conviction, possibly setting the stage for more legal intrigue, or at least a little more time before he goes to prison. Kelsey, who previously tried to renege on a guilty […]

HCA in one of the Tennessee companies in the Fortune 100, targeted by Tennessee Attorney General Anthony Skrmetti for diverse hiring practices. (Photo by Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

Attorney general threatens Fortune 100 companies order with legal action for race-based policies

By: and - July 13, 2023

Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is leading a coalition warning the nation’s largest companies — many of which have diversity and equity programs — they could face legal action for using race-based policies. A Thursday letter from Skrmetti and 12 other attorneys general put Fortune 100 companies on notice they could be hit with legal action for […]

Voices for a Safer Tennessee organized an April event in which volunteers formed a human chain from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where victims of the Covenant School shooting were taken on March 27, 2023, to the Tennessee Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican senator looks at NRA-backed option with governor’s bill facing trouble

By: - July 12, 2023

A key Republican senator is planning an alternative to Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed extreme risk protection order bill, a measure hitting a wall as the Legislature approaches an Aug. 21 special session. Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, said Tuesday he is working with the National Rifle Association on legislation dealing with mental health in response to […]

Golfers line up at the McCabe Golf Course driving range in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro golf courses hit popularity high mark despite staffing reduction

By: - July 10, 2023

Metro Nashville golf officials say it’s a “challenge” to run the local public courses amid personnel cuts and a golf explosion, while those who frequent the courses search for smoother lies and a chance to play. “The shape of the courses could be better,” says Austin Stratton, a member of the Buckeye Golf League at […]

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

State’s lawyers claim Legislature can keep expenses confidential in Campbell case

By: - June 30, 2023

Attorneys for the Office of Legislative Administration argued Friday that the House has authority to set rules making information confidential, even if it involves the expense of state tax dollars. Alex Carver, an attorney with Sherrard, Roe, Voigt, Harbison, told Davidson County Chancellor Russell Perkins that compelling the release of the records would violate the […]

West Tennessee State Penitentiary, operated by CoreCivic. (Photo: Tennessee Department of Correction)

Stockard on the Stump: Lawmakers pay prisons commissioner even after he resigned amid problems

By: - June 30, 2023

The state is giving the company of former Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield a $2 million contract increase for probation services, bumping GEO Reentry Services up to $15.5 million through August 2025. Schofield resigned as commissioner under former Gov. Bill Haslam in 2016 amid questions about Tennessee’s prison system, including the undercounting of violent incidents between […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing members of the Tennessee National Guard. (Photo:

Americans for Prosperity Foundation funds lawmakers’ trip to Southern border

By: - June 28, 2023

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation is paying for a group of Tennessee lawmakers to tour the Southern border to see what it calls a “crisis” situation. The group’s foundation, which holds a 501(c)3 status and employs no lobbyists, is funding the trip, according to Tori Venable, director of Americans for Prosperity – Tennessee. Yet Venable, […]

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

Court challenge asserts Office of Legislative Administration not exempt from public records law 

By: - June 27, 2023

A Nashville man seeking records in a former lawmaker’s sexual harassment case says it’s “basic high school civics” that the Office of Legislative Administration is separate from the House of Representatives and falls under the state’s Public Records Act. Brian Manookian, a suspended Nashville attorney representing himself, responded Monday to the state’s argument that Legislative […]

A supporter of Sen. Jack Johnson's, R-Franklin, former opponent has filed a complaint against Johnson with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Humble backer files election complaint against Leader Johnson

By: - June 23, 2023

The Humble-Johnson love-fest continues. A week after the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance gave Gary Humble an extension to prove his 2022 Senate campaign didn’t illegally coordinate with the group he runs, a Humble supporter filed a complaint alleging illegal coordination by his opponent, Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. The sworn complaint by Rebecca McCray […]