Prosecutor: No charges to be filed in senators' scuffle
SPRINGFIELD -- No criminal charges will be filed as the result of an incident between two state senators on the Senate floor during the last hours of the spring legislative session.
Sangamon County State's Attorney John Milhiser said Tuesday he will not file criminal charges in connection with a confrontation last week between Sens. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, and Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline.
"This is a matter best resolved internally by the Illinois Senate and not in the criminal courts," Milhiser said in a statement.
The incident stemmed from a debate in the Senate over a bill allowing Commonwealth Edison to raise rates to pay for infrastructure improvements. Jacobs sponsored the bill.
During the debate, McCarter mentioned that Jacobs' father, Denny, a former state senator, is a lobbyist for Com Ed. McCarter was admonished by the presiding officer that invoking personalities is not allowed during debate on bills.
After the bill was approved, Jacobs went to McCarter's Senate desk and confronted him. McCarter said he was punched in the chest by Jacobs. Jacobs said he poked McCarter with his finger.
Three other senators - John Sullivan, D-Rushville, Tim Bivins, R-Dixon and Darin LaHood, R-Peoria -- offered conflicting accounts of the incident, Capitol police said.
"The conduct of both senators is inconsistent with the Senate's rules governing decorum,” Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said in a statement. “I am encouraging both senators to reach an amicable solution among themselves."
In a statement, Jacobs said, "in hindsight, my actions in engaging Senator McCarter were inappropriate and have resulted in little more than lowering the respectful standards of the Illinois Senate." Jacobs said he has tried unsuccessfully to reach McCarter to apologize.
McCarter said he was disappointed that Milhiser chose not to pursue criminal charges, and he defended his actions that night.
“If I can’t stand up and speak out against the way that bill was pushed through on the last day of session in the last hours, something is wrong with Illinois government,” McCarter said. “I simply stated about the conflict of interest.”
McCarter also said he will talk to Jacobs.
“Now that this has gone through the legal process, I do plan on contacting Sen. Jacobs,” McCarter said.
Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527.