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.

(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. […]

Sen. Mike Bell (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senator to propose elimination of affirmative action program

By: - February 28, 2022

In his final year as a state senator, Mike Bell is ready to get rid of Tennessee’s affirmative action program, saying he will bring legislation this week to eliminate it from state and local governments. Senate Bill 2440 by Bell and House Bill 2569, sponsored by Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, prohibits the state from […]

Gov. Bill Lee at a Sept. 2 press conference. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Governor goes off the rails with charter school comment

By: - February 25, 2022

Gov. Bill Lee might have gotten a little discombobulated Thursday when he wrapped up the press conference for his triumphant and “historic” funding formula proposal. Asked whether his plan will divert public school funds to charter schools, which are being wrapped into the formula, the governor said, “Public schools are charter schools and charter schools […]

CAP troubles! Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, pictured at right. with former Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, has run into another educational oopsie. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor unveils $9B funding formula based on student needs 

By: - February 24, 2022

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated from an earlier version with additional details.) Using a projected $9 billion, Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed K-12 funding formula for fiscal 2023-24 would start the state’s 1 million students with a base amount of $6,860, then add more depending on individual needs ranging from economic disadvantages to disabilities. […]

(Photo taken Feb. 3, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee, by Karen Pulfer Focht.)

Life of slain child recalled in fight against ‘community terrorism’

By: - February 23, 2022

Twelve-year-old Artemis Rayford was killed by a stray bullet last Christmas Day as he played with a new game in his Memphis home. Not long before his death, he sent a letter to Gov. Bill Lee in which he told the governor the state’s new permit-less carry law is “bad and people will be murdered.” […]

Passengers prepare to board Amtrak's California Zephyr at the Denver Union rail station during its daily 2,438-mile trip to Emeryville/San Francisco from Chicago that takes roughly 52 hours on March 24, 2017 in Denver. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Support builds for Amtrak travel as federal funds dangle

By: - February 22, 2022

Buoyed by a shot at federal funds, lawmakers are putting together a bipartisan Train Travel Caucus to bring Amtrak service to the state, starting with a Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta line and then moving to Bristol and Memphis. “There is unprecedented momentum right now for passenger rail here in Tennessee because of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that […]

Gov. Bill Lee, third from right, with Ford Motor Co. CEO, to his right, and Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Bob Rolfe, to Ford's right, at Monday's announcement of the Ford Blue Oval Campus. (Photo: Gov. Bill Lee official Facebook page)

Scramble to house Ford Megasite workers begins

By: - February 22, 2022

Celebrations for the $5.6 billion Ford Motor electric truck and battery plant are over as state and local officials run headlong into the reality of a massive construction project. Ford has inked a contract with Detroit, Michigan-based Walbridge, a global contractor that specializes in large manufacturing projects for Ford and General Motors, and ground is […]

Students at the University of Memphis campus, where professors were apparently offered bonuses to teach "diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice.” (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Stockard on the Stump: Speaker gets out in front of trouble with university anti-diversity bil

By: - February 18, 2022

House Speaker Cameron Sexton is basing support of a higher education anti-diversity bill, in part, on a move by the University of Memphis to pay instructors stipends to teach “diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice.” The university reportedly offered its teachers $3,000 to restructure their courses as part of its “Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting […]

Speaker of the Tennessee House Cameron Sexton, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and Gov. Bill Lee.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Conservative report affects higher education anti-diversity bill

By: - February 17, 2022

A conservative report critiquing Tennessee universities’ emphasis on “diversity, equity and inclusion” is circulating the state Legislature, and some lawmakers believe it is the impetus for a bill blocking “critical race theory” in state colleges. House Bill 2670 sponsored by House Speaker Cameron Sexton and backed by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally is similar to the […]

Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he will sign the COVID-19 omnibus bill passed in a recent special legislative session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Legislation opens wider door for charters schools to operate in local buildings

By: - February 15, 2022

Update: The measure was to be considered Tuesday in the House Education Instruction Subcommittee but White postponed it for two weeks. Amid uproar over Gov. Bill Lee’s plan to bring 50 conservative charter schools to Tennessee, legislation is being considered that would make it easier for charters to run in taxpayer-funded buildings. State Rep. Mark […]

Voters stand in line on the first day of early voting in Nashville at Casa Azafran. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House, Senate prohibit instant runoff voting amid lawsuit by Memphis politicos against state

By: - February 15, 2022

Despite a new lawsuit against Tennessee over instant runoff voting, the Legislature voted Monday to prohibit the method of rank voting.  The decision came a week after a group of Memphis political activists sued Tennessee’s elections coordinator because of his efforts to stop instant runoff voting, which Shelby County voters approved 14 years ago. Sen. […]