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State Senator Apologizes For Punching Incident

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Illinois Senate Chambers

Illinois Senate Chambers (Getty Images file photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – One Illinois state senator who allegedly punched another following floor debate has apologized for his actions, but the other senator says this goes deeper than the brief scuffle.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports, state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) will not be allowed to press charges against fellow Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), after their scuffle following heated floor debate on a controversial topic.

Jacobs allegedly punched McCarter in the chest, saying McCarter personally attacked him during debate. The issue before the Senate was the so-called SmartGrid legislation, which would have allowed ComEd and Ameren to raise consumer electricity rates to help pay for a massive grid modernization project. Jacobs was the bill’s Senate sponsor.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Alex Demgan reports

McCarter asked Jacobs why the bill was rushed through committee, with little to no discussion, and later pointed out Jacobs’ father, former state Sen. Denny Jacobs, is a registered ComEd lobbyist.

“It was not a personal attack,” explained McCarter. “This is information that was filed with the state and public knowledge. Why should he have a problem with me simply restating what is public knowledge?”

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) disagreed. In a written statement admonishing both senators, Cullerton chided McCarter for invoking personalities during debate.

McCarter denies he broke any rules, and says he wanted to press charges with the state’s attorney for specifically this reason: he doesn’t think it will receive fair attention internally.

“For Senator Cullerton to think that this should be dealt with by us just having a gentleman’s agreement, that we were just going to get along in the future… that shows zero leadership on his part,” McCarter said.

Jacobs apologized for his actions in a statement released late Tuesday, six days after the scuffle ensued.

“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 in the statement. “This event was, admittedly, an embarrassment to the institution in which I serve. For this, I apologize to each of my Senate colleagues and the people of the 36th Legislative District.”

McCarter says he accepts Jacobs’ apology, but thinks Democratic leadership should pursue an appropriate punishment, such as censure.

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