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.

Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, during a meeting of the Joint Government Operations Committee on Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Charter schools bill rises from ashes in effort to open doors

By: - March 16, 2022

Legislation designed to shift “under-utilized” public school buildings to charter schools looked like it was dead this week but then resurfaced the same day, drawing a rebuke from a subcommittee chairman. The sharp words came Tuesday from Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, as Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, introduced a bill, HB591, giving charter schools the first […]

The nearly 3,000-pound bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest loaded onto a flat-bed truck for transport to the Tennessee State Museum. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Forrest family wants to move bust from State Museum

By: - March 16, 2022

The battle over the bust continues. It’s led, in part, by Collierville resident Lee Miller, who claims family kinship to Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. He exhibits a hero worship for Forrest so deep he says the Confederate leader’s funeral drew more people than Elvis’ last rites. “Gen. Forrest was so well-respected that everybody came […]

The Tennessee Senate Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senators challenge K-12 funding formula impact on local taxes

By: - March 15, 2022

The Senate Education Committee chairman said Monday he believes county commissioners should sock away money to prepare for the effects of a new K-12 funding formula on local taxes. Senators are trying to figure out the effect of a $9.5 billion funding formula shift on local governments, which are to be held harmless for three […]

Dr. Michelle Fiscus (Photo: John Partipilo)

DA report: Fiscus didn’t send herself a muzzle

By: - March 14, 2022

A fired Tennessee Health Department immunization administrator did not send a dog muzzle to herself, contrary to a state report, a District Attorney’s Office investigation found. Metro investigators determined that Michelle “Shelley” Fiscus’ personal identifying information was compromised and used by “unknown” actors and possibly “spoofed” in an out-of-state scheme, according to the new report. […]

COMMENTARY
(Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Speaker firing two suspended employees linked to FBI investigation

By: - March 11, 2022

Two legislative staff members suspended since an FBI raid on the Cordell Hull Building in January 2021 are being fired, just days after Rep. Robin Smith resigned her post and pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Speaker Cameron Sexton confirmed Thursday the two employees who’ve been on suspension with pay for 14 months will no longer […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R- Franklin, photographed by John Partipilo on Jan. 12, 2021.

Rep. Griffey spent $6,000 with Cattleya Group, but work wasn’t done

By: - March 9, 2022

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance questioned former House Speaker Glen Casada in 2020 about payments to Cattleya Group, a company that shared the same address as a political consulting firm at the center of a former Rep. Robin Smith’s wire fraud guilty plea. Casada at first couldn’t remember much about the company. “They’re out […]

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

Smith pleads guilty to wire fraud connected to shadowy campaign vendor

By: - March 8, 2022

A day after resigning her House seat, Robin Smith pleaded guilty Tuesday to honest services wire fraud in connection with an illicit campaign vendor set up with knowledge of a former House speaker and run by his ex-chief of staff. Smith, a Hixson Republican and former chairman of the state party, entered the plea before […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, looks pensive at his desk in the Tennessee House of Representatives in Jan. 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Casada paid for possible test run on New Mexico company

By: - March 8, 2022

Former House Speaker Glen Casada payed thousands of dollars to a New Mexico-based company that could have been a test run for the illicit campaign vendor identified in a federal charge against resigned Rep. Robin Smith. Casada has denied any connection with Phoenix Solutions, the company at the center of a wire fraud charge against […]

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

Rep. Robin Smith resigns amid wire fraud charge for Phoenix Solutions “kickbacks”

By: - March 7, 2022

(This story has been updated with new details.) Rep. Robin Smith, one of three House members raided by the FBI 14 months ago, resigned Monday morning after federal authorities charged her with wire fraud, claiming she took “kickbacks” from an illicit campaign vendor.  Smith is set to change her plea Tuesday as part of an […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Registry members ticked about Casada comments

By: - March 4, 2022

Registry of Election Finance members are chafing over former House Speaker Glen Casada’s claim this week that the registry should have called him first about a questionable political action committee rather than issue a subpoena. The more they think about it, the angrier they get. “Casada accuses the Registry of bias and in the same […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Registry sends Cothren subpoena to AG’s Office after he refuses to testify, claims the Fifth

By: - March 2, 2022

An irritated Registry of Election Finance sent subpoenas for former House Speaker’s Office chief of staff Cade Cothren to the state Attorney General’s Office. The board opted against sending Cothren’s case to District Attorney General Glenn Funk’s office for criminal investigation. But if Cothren refuses to answer subpoenas through Chancery Court for testimony and information, […]

Sen. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains (Photo: John Partipilo)

Bill to lock out congressional newcomers faces amendment in House

By: - March 1, 2022

Sen. Frank Niceley’s effort to avoid an “invasion” of carpetbaggers in the 2022 congressional races could hit a stumbling block in the House. Niceley, a Strawberry Plains Republican, passed his legislation, SB2616, Monday in the Senate on a 32-1 vote to require a three-year Tennessee residency for congressional candidates when they enter a primary election. […]