Tag Archives: train

Eldridge: Worker’s Comp Freight Train Will Move ‘in a Very Careful Way’

State Rep. Jimmy Eldridge defends to the Jackson Sun his comments on a workers comp bill moving like a freight train through the Legislature — caught on a video that he didn’t realize was recording (Previous post HERE.)
He said in an interview with The Jackson Sun on Thursday that his comments in the video have been twisted and taken out of context.
“This workers’ compensation bill is moving through, and we feel strong that it’s a good deal that we got the votes to pass it. We want (bills) to move like a freight train, in a very careful way. I want to get this bill to the House floor and debated by all the members,” he said.
He later said that “all interested parties will have the opportunity to express their views and give input on how to craft the best piece of legislation possible.
“We all want to ensure that this initiative is fair for both employers and employees, and I welcome the healthy discussion and debate that is starting to take place in the coming days regarding this extremely important piece of legislation,” Eldridge said.


Tennessee Citizen Action has called on House Speaker Beth Harwell to explain Eldridge’s comments. Jeff Woods reports that reporters asked her and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick about the remarks, but didn’t get much of a response.
“I appreciate his enthusiasm for the bill,” McCormick said. “I think it’s a good bill. Maybe his choice of words could have been better.”
“I don’t know that I can comment for Chairman Eldridge,” Harwell said. “You’re more than welcome to ask him for a response on that.”
We tried that yesterday. One of his minions puffed out his chest, stood in front of the representative’s office door and informed us that “Speaker Harwell’s office” had instructed Eldridge not to talk to reporters. That’s neat, isn’t it? Harwell tells us to talk to Eldridge, and Eldridge says Harwell told him not to talk to us.
It’s all in keeping with the speaker’s motto: “The less you say, the better.”

Accidental Recording: Worker’s Comp Bill Likened to “Freight Train’

Without realizing the Legislature’s streaming video equipment was recording his remarks, House Consumer and Human Resources Committee Chairman Jimmy Eldridge likened a bill overhauling the state’s worker’s compensation system to a “freight train” roaring through the Legislature.
The video, initially reported and posted Wednesday on the Nashville Scene’s blog, features Eldridge, R-Jackson, complaining about criticism of the bill – pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam – as unwarranted and intended “rouse employees” and “scare them to death.” A companion says the critics are “uneducated people.”
“I’m going to take care of that bill,” says Eldridge. “That freight train is going off.”
The accidential recording was made prior to the bill’s initial appearance Wednesday in a subcommittee of the committee Eldridge chairs. The subcommittee approved the measure on voice vote with two Democrats recorded as voting no.
The measure (HB194) makes multiple changes to the workers compensation system, the largest being removal of disputed cases from the court system and sending them to a new board, appointed by the governor.
Haslam says his bill will streamline the system while being fair both to workers hurt on the job and businesses who hire them. Critics such as Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, say it will “gut workers’ compensation as we know it in Tennessee. ”
“HB194 will cut paychecks to injured workers who can return to work by one-third,” Mancini said said in a news release Wednesday. “These cuts, along with cuts made in 2008, means an injured worker who goes back to work will collect 60% less than in 2007. The bill will also eliminates certain injuries as being work related and make it more difficult for workers to prove their injury was caused at work and subsequently, more difficult for an injured worker to collect a paycheck when injured.”
Similar remarks are apparently the sort of criticism Eldridge was criticizing.