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VOL. 42 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 27, 2018

Tennessee publisher, Sunshine Law proponent Sam Kennedy dies

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COLUMBIA (AP) — Sam Kennedy, an attorney, newspaper publisher and former Tennessee Press Association president who helped push for the state's Sunshine Law, has died at age 91.

An obituary from Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors said Kennedy died at his home in Columbia on Tuesday.

Kennedy was the editor and publisher of The Daily Herald in Columbia and led the government affairs committee of the Tennessee Press Association for 30 years. He is credited with helping draft the open government law passed by state lawmakers in 1974. He also helped pass the 1973 reporter's shield law in Tennessee.

He published four other papers: The Waverly Democrat, The Parsons News Leader, the Lawrence County Advocate and the Buffalo River Review. He wrote a popular column known as the Barrister's Bit about politics and community affairs.

Kennedy was inducted to the State Open Government Hall of Fame in Washington in 2016. Kennedy and his wife Elizabeth also were honored by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2001. The resolution called them "guardians of the people's right to be informed by owning and operating family community newspapers."

Kennedy also served as judge, district attorney and county executive in Maury County.

Funeral arrangements are set for 4 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia.