I’m State Representative Jack Franks. I represent the 63rd District in the Illinois House of Representatives, which includes the Northern and Western portion of McHenry County. As a third-generation resident of McHenry County, my top priority is to fight on your behalf in our state’s capitol.

On this site, you will find information about my stances on public policy issues, upcoming events and recent news. You can also contract me directly by clicking here. Democracy works best when citizens participate in the process, so please let me know your thoughts on how we can work together get Illinois back on the right track.

Since I took office, your support and ideas have been invaluable, and together we have changed Illinois for the better. From shining a bright light on corruption and government wrongdoing, to fighting for better schools and a lower tax burden, your input has made a difference. But, there is still so much to be done.

Our state needs serious budget and ethics reforms and we must make government function more efficiently. In my next term, I will continue fighting for the things you and I both believe in: a friendlier business climate, lower taxes, and sensible, transparent spending.

Thanks again for visiting my website.







County Board takes first step in reorganization debate

July 24, 2014 - Northwest Herald

WOODSTOCK – The newly created McHenry County Board Reorganization Committee spent portions of its first meeting Thursday looking anything but organized. Debate over its task – examining whether the County Board should have fewer members representing more districts – took all kinds of wild turns, including such esoteric topics as terrorists shooting at power transformers and the Lake in the Hills Fen, as members threw ideas at the wall to see what would stick. In its defense, the nine-member committee was thrown together in haste to determine whether voters should weigh in via advisory referendum, and the deadline to put it on the Nov. 4 ballot is three weeks and one County Board meeting away. But while the committee is moving forward with planning for a possible change to the County Board's structure, it decided that putting an advisory referendum on the November ballot without doing its due diligence would be unwise. And given that the next opportunity to make such changes is seven years away after the... READ MORE

Targeting legislative leaders

July 21, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

While we're waiting for the courts to decide whether the people of Illinois will get to vote on a constitutional amendment to limit the terms of state lawmakers, let's ponder a related question: What if we just term-limited Mike Madigan? A more circumspect version of that question has appeared on the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute's statewide voter poll in three of the last five years. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to limit how long legislators could serve in leadership positions - such as Speaker of the House or President of the Senate - before they stepped down to let other legislators lead... READ MORE

Lotto trouble with this deal

July 21, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

In 20120, Illinois became the first state in the country to turn over the management of its lottery to a private company. Other states soon followed. The expectation was that a firm with broad expertise in lottery sales could attract new players and reap more money. Northstar Lottery Group, signed to a 10-year contract by Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, said it could bring in up to $851.2 million in net revenue the first year and up to $1 billion in the fifth year. At the time, the state-run Illinois Lottery brought in $652 million in net revenue. Sold! Quinn signed the dotted line... READ MORE

Too many governments? Downstate has the biggest share

July 20, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

Few places in Illinois vote more reliably Republican than Iroquois County, home to 1,120 square miles of mostly corn and soybean fields, 28,982 residents and, according to state records, 218 distinct units of government — one for every 133 residents. In Democratic Cook County, population over 5.2 million and often held up as the poster child for government inefficiency, there are 539 governments in operation, one for every 9,723 people, records show. The Land of Lincoln is also, indisputably, the land of sprawling local governments — a nation-leading 6,968 of them, according to oft-quoted U.S. Census Bureau data that appear to significantly lowball the number. State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the official scorekeeper of such things for Illinois, puts the current tally of local governments at 8,459. That bloat has become a subject of frequent political scorn, in particular of late from Republican governor hopeful Bruce Rauner, who often tells voters that the sheer volume of Illinois governments defies common sense and drives... READ MORE

Bill placing new restrictions on RTA and CTA signed by Quinn

July 17, 2014 - WAND 17

SPRINGFIELD - Legislation barring members of major transit agencies from holding other government offices has been signed by Governor Pat Quinn. The measure was sponsored by Senator Martin Sandoval and Representative Jack Franks, and was passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature this spring. The legislation follows the release of a transit task force report that revealed records of patronage hiring at Metra. The law prohibits members of the Commuter Rail Board, Chicago Transit Agency's board, or Regional Transportation Authority Board from holding any other local or state government job. Offices that do not pay officials more than $15,000 annually will be exempted from the law, as well as positions in the National Guard or the military reserves... READ MORE

Quinn signs law barring double dipping on transit boards

July 17, 2014 - Daily Herald

Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday signed a law barring CTA board members from holding other government work and further clarifying that other transit board members can't, either. The legislation from state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, was initially aimed at Quinn's attempt to appoint a South suburban township supervisor to the CTA board, which would have given him a second public salary. The appointee eventually backed down. Franks says the legislation also further cements the existing RTA and Metra bans on having a second government job. A requirement of being on the Pace board is that the member is a current or former mayor. "We have to stop this these double-dipping insider protection plans," he said. The proposal follows legislation from Franks last year also targeted at ethical issues on transit boards that took away members' future pension and health care benefits. Other ethics... READ MORE

Quinn halts IDOT political hiring

July 5, 2014 - Northwest Herald

CHICAGO – Reacting to persistent problems at a state agency, Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday ordered a moratorium on political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation and directed that executive-level staff in every state agency undergo training about proper hiring practices. The Chicago Democrat's actions, which also included ordering an outside audit of past IDOT hires, come amid questions about whether state jobs were improperly filled based on clout rather than qualifications. The Associated Press obtained copies of memos sent by Quinn's attorney to IDOT leadership and the heads of all agencies, boards and commissions. The action comes on the heels of the resignation of state Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider this week after questions were raised about her stepdaughter... READ MORE

Andy Shaw: Legislative reform scorecard – hits and misses

June 28, 2014 - The State Journal-Register

The Illinois General Assembly’s action — and inaction — resembles a grab bag gift or the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. You never know what you’re going to get or if you’ll like it. So it’s no surprise that when the curtain came down on the spring session in Springfield last month, the audience was left with a few satisfied smiles, a few disappointed frowns and one gasp of exasperation. Lawmakers passed a budget but refused to extend the temporary income tax or cut spending, so the budget is “balanced” with smoke and mirrors and there’s not enough revenue to fund existing programs or pay the bills. They approved a measure that allows Chicago to start tackling its pension crisis but stiffed a similar request from Cook County... READ MORE

Illinois State Crime Commission Names Franks Legislator of the Year

June 24, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

WOODSTOCK, Ill.- In recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of Illinois taxpayers and families, the Illinois State Crime Commission named state Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, the 2014 Legislator of the Year at their 18th Annual Awards Dinner on June 18. "Safe neighborhoods and good governance are the cornerstones of a healthy, civil society," Franks said. "With some of the most violent neighborhoods in the country and enough convicted politicians to fill their own cell block, Illinois' recent record on providing these basic necessities is poor to say the least. It is one my top priorities as an elected leader to help change this record for the better." The Illinois State Crime Commission (ISCC) is a not-for-profit advocacy organization that promotes transparent government and supports initiatives to decrease crime and juvenile delinquency by facilitating positive interactions between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. Rep. Franks was named Legislator of the Year in light of recent legislative achievements... READ MORE

Lottery contractor likely $200M short on profits

June 22, 2014 - Northwest Herald

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ private lottery contract has never reached the lofty sales promises it used to win a bid four years ago and is expected to fall more than $200 million short of what it owes the state when the budget year ends June 30. But Northstar Lottery Group says it’s been hamstrung by state officials, with whom they have an already frosty relationship and accuse of throwing up road blocks – from canceling games it wanted to launch to prohibiting the sponsorship of Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival in 2013 because of headliner R.Kelly. Regardless, Northstar’s 10-year contract with the state details that falling short of its goals by 10 percent two years in a row is grounds for ending the partnership, no questions asked. It missed targets by almost 20 percent last year, and is on track to do the same this year. A top lawmaker has said he’s disappointed because a massive construction program was supposed to be funded with money Northstar claimed it could... READ MORE


June 19, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

WOODSTOCK, Ill. - Warm summer nights in McHenry County often bring together friends and neighbors for refreshing ice cream and lively conversation. In the spirit of that tradition, state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, will host four Ice Cream Socials in July. The Ice Cream Socials will be held in conjunction with community events across McHenry County. Audience members at the Wonder Lake Ski Show, band concerts in McHenry and Woodstock, and patrons of the annual Fay's BBQ Fundraiser for the M.O.R.E. Center in Marengo will have the opportunity to engage with Rep. Franks while enjoying a free cup of ice cream. Ice Cream Socials will be held: • July 2 at the Woodstock Square in Woodstock at 7:30 p.m., before the band concert; • July 3 at Veterans Memorial Park in McHenry at 7:30 p.m., before the band concert; • July 11... READ MORE

Should Illinois Legislative Leaders Be Subject to Term Limits?

June 16, 2014 - 1440 WROK

A different kind of term limits proposal may be on the ballot in 2015. Legislation being introduced by State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) would allow voters to weigh in on whether legislative leaders should be subject to term limits. Franks believes the legislature will need some convincing to consider that kind of proposal. “The only way to get term limits on leaders is to pass a law to do so, but none are willing, in my opinion, to…allow a bill to come forward,” Franks said. “So my suggestion is to have a referendum so if it’s overwhelming, which I think it will be, that they’ll be much more inclined to have a vote on this.” If lawmakers pass the bill, the nonbinding referendum would be on ballots for the April 2015 municipal elections, which Franks says could use some help to increase voter turnout... READ MORE

Lawmaker Wants Term Limits for Legislators

June 16, 2014 - Alton Daily News

An Illinois Democrat is jumping on board with a Republican idea: imposing term limits for legislators. State Representative Jack Franks filed a measure last week that would place a non-binding question on the ballot during municipal elections next April. If lawmakers approve the bill, voters will be asked if the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, who've both been in the legislature since the 1970's, should be term limited. Franks says he's already received support from fellow Democrats. The measure would also limit majority and minority leaders in both chambers. Other plans floating around Springfield aim to put limits on all lawmakers, not just the leaders... READ MORE

Hits and misses in Springfield’s game

June 15, 2014 - Chicago Sun-Times

The Illinois General Assembly’s action, and inaction, resembles a grab bag gift, or the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box — you never know what you’re going to get or whether you’ll like it. So it’s no surprise that when the curtain came down on the spring session in Springfield last month, the audience was left with a few satisfied smiles, a few disappointed frowns, and one gasp of exasperation. Lawmakers passed a budget, but refused to extend the temporary income tax or cut spending, so the budget’s “balanced” with smoke and mirrors, and there’s not enough revenue to fund existing programs or pay the bills. They approved a measure that lets Chicago start tackling its pension crisis, but stiffed a similar request from Cook County. And high-stakes issues, including gaming expansion and the ultimate fate of the aforementioned income tax, remain on hold until after... READ MORE

After years of waiting, work begins on Highway 14 lane additions

June 13, 2014 - Woodstock Independent

Plans to add lanes to Highway 14 between Woodstock and Crystal Lake picked up steam recently when crews picked up their shovels, ending more than a decade of waiting for the Illinois Department of Transportation project to begin. “This project has been more than 12 years in the making, because it takes time to even become a high enough priority to be listed on the program,” said Woodstock Public Works Director Paul Ruscko, referencing IDOT’s fiscal year 2015-2020 Proposed Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program documents. One of six local projects recently awarded state capital funding, the Woodstock Highway 14 project will extend about 3 miles from West Lake Shore Drive to Lucas Road, with a total estimated cost of $25.7 million to add lanes and pay for construction engineering. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said more than $32 million in state capital funding will be allocated toward various... READ MORE

Franks introduces term limits legislation

June 11, 2014 - Northwest Herald

SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois lawmaker has introduced a proposal to ask voters in 2015 if term limits should be imposed on leaders in the state Legislature. State Rep. Jack Franks filed legislation on Monday that would put a nonbinding question on the statewide municipal election ballot next April. The Marengo Democrat says that the structure of state government needs to be overhauled. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan recently became the longest-serving official in his leadership position in the nation. Franks' plan is different from another term limits proposal being pushed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. The GOP candidate's effort would put term limits on all legislators. His constitutional amendment would also shrink the size of the Legislature and give the governor more veto power. The bill is HB6281.... READ MORE

Franks asks county for 2 advisory referendums

June 6, 2014 - Northwest Herald

McHenry County Board members’ love-hate relationship with Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks – they love to hate him – may get more intense with his latest initiative. In a letter sent Thursday morning to all 24 board members, Franks asked them to put two nonbinding advisory referendums on the Nov. 4 ballot regarding two of his more high-profile taxpayer initiatives. One would ask voters whether governments should be forbidden from increasing property tax levies if overall assessed value falls. The other asks whether the County Board should shrink to 16 members, each representing their own district instead of the current structure of six, four-member districts. Franks, of Marengo, said both efforts will gauge the public’s interest in issues which he maintains will decrease their property tax burden. He said he sent out the letter after first approaching County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, who Franks said was not amenable to the referendums. “These... READ MORE

Lottery firm again falls short of promised revenue

June 3, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

The private firm managing the Illinois Lottery could fall short of promised revenues for the third straight year, prompting calls to re-evaluate the state's relationship with the company. Northstar Lottery Group is on pace to wind up more than $200 million off target for the fiscal year ending in June, prompting concern among officials who oversee the lottery as well as lawmakers such as state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, one of the chief architects of the move toward private management. "I'm extremely disappointed by the lack of performance," Cullerton said in a written statement. "The whole idea here was that a private manager would be able to deliver substantially better performance for the state." Northstar projected gross sales of $3.5 billion for the 2014 fiscal year and promised net revenues of $980 million. Instead, lottery officials say the company will likely post gross sales of $2.6 billion and revenues of about $760 million. If that happens, Northstar's performance... READ MORE

Cutting question: Time to reduce tax bodies?

May 31, 2014 - Chicago Sun-Times

For those who want less government in Illinois, the times just might be right. More than ever before, local and state government is looking at consolidating services, developing partnerships, sharing resources and even eliminating taxing bodies and tax levies. It’s being done in the name of streamlining government — driven by the recession and demanded by taxpayers sick of living in one of the highest taxed states in the union, with the most individual governmental agencies. “Government consolidation is really important, and trending right now,” says MarySue Barrett, president of the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council. “It’s being looked at by the legislature, planning organizations, academics. It’s more than just a little bubbling here. There’s something to it... READ MORE

Government consolidation bill headed to governor

May 30, 2014 - Northwest Herald

Some of the state's more obscure units of local government, from cemetery districts to water authorities, will have the power to consolidate or dissolve under a bill that cleared the General Assembly. House Bill 5875, sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, gives these governments statutory power to eliminate themselves if they so wish. The bill is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn for approval after it cleared the Senate in a Thursday concurrence vote. The final report of a consolidation commission created and chaired by Franks revealed that many types of government have no statutory power to be consolidated or abolished. He called the bill a small but important step in paring down the state's 7,000 units of government. Giving governments the power to eliminate themselves is a different strategy – past efforts by legislators to force consolidation by fiat have never had the votes to pass. "This really creates the conditions necessary... READ MORE

Illinois bill drops hunting fee to $1 for seniors

May 29, 2012 - FOX NEWS

Published May 29, 2014 Associated Press 104 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Sportsmen and women older than 75 would pay just $1 for hunting and fishing licenses under legislation the Illinois Senate has approved. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks -- a Marengo Democrat. It must return to the House for approval on Senate changes. Franks says seniors have been paying for licenses their entire lives and the state should make it a priority to ensure everyone can enjoy Illinois' natural settings. The legislation also eliminates the fee to obtain the pheasant, furbearer, habitat and migratory waterfowl stamps and the inland trout and salmon stamps for fishermen. Franks says he heard from a constituent contending that while license fees are reduced for those over age 62, they still are too expensive for some... READ MORE