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 contact 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.







Hard times make half-price tuition hard to accept

February 28, 2015 - The Daily Journal

In the best of economic times, it would be easier to accept the long-held tradition of allowing children of state university employees to attend these schools at half price. But these are hardly the best of times, and that's why a proposal by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, to eliminate the practice has merits. Franks admits he does not gain pleasure by sponsoring House Bill 403. In a story produced by Illinois News Network, Franks had this to say: "I don't relish in doing it, but the fact is the governor's latest proposal for the budget cuts higher... READ MORE

McHenry County lawmakers file bills aimed at property tax relief

February 26, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Emboldened by a new governor prioritizing property tax relief, several local lawmakers are filing bills aimed at curtailing how much local governments can collect. House Bill 3129, filed by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, imposes the tax cap law on all counties in Illinois, and lowers the maximum annual increase local bodies can collect from 5 percent to 1.75 percent. House Bill 177, filed by Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, imposes a freeze on levy increases altogether until fiscal 2019. And House Bill 3130... READ MORE

Bill would end tuition perk for university employees’ kids

February 24, 2015 - Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — A state legislator says the state can no longer afford half-price tuition for the children of state university employees. The employees, perhaps naturally, disagree. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said it was only with reluctance he sponsored House Bill 403, which would end half-price tuition for the children of university employees with seven years or more service. “It doesn’t make me happy,” he said. “I don’t relish in doing it, but the fact is the governor’s latest proposal for the budget cuts higher education by over $300 million, and this perk — which has been around for a while, granted — costs the universities almost $10 million a year,” Franks said... READ MORE

Theft at College of DuPage's WDCB went longer, cost more, controller says

February 21, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

An alleged theft at the College of Dupage radio station went on for more than twice as long - and twice as costly - as prosecutors charged this week, a high-ranking administrator at the college has alleged. Lynn Sapyta, the community college's controller, said phony invoices were submitted for 16 years and the college... READ MORE

Don’t leave map drawing to those who will benefit

February 20, 2015 - Morris Daily Herald

The turmoil has partially subsided over a Chicago Little League team whose national title was taken away by Little League International. One aspect of the story still resonates with reform-minded Illinoisans. The adults who operated the Jackie Robinson West team apparently wanted to give the boys, ages 11 to 13, the best opportunity to win. The team operates within established geographic boundaries, but certain talented players lived outside those boundaries. The solution? Little League International alleges some adult team leaders quietly redrew the boundary map to bring in those top players. The result gave the team ineligible players who helped it win a championship. That championship has been taken from the players, who are paying the price for the actions of adults... READ MORE

Gov. Bruce Rauner proposes 'honest' Illinois budget, billions in cuts

February 18, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner submitted a 2016 budget heavy with cuts that drew almost immediate fire from the Democratic-controlled General Assembly. Calling his plan “our last, best chance to get our house in order,” Rauner used his first-ever budget address Wednesday to make the case for cutting back on Medicaid, shared revenue with local governments and higher education, and future public-employee pension benefits, without raising taxes. He called the budget for the 2016 fiscal year starting July 1 an “honest” one that eliminates a projected $6.2 billion shortfall and ends what he called “the irresponsible and reckless practices of the past.” “It will take time to restore Illinois to fiscal health. Now is the time to start on a responsible path after years of financial recklessness," Rauner said. "Instilling discipline is not easy, saying ‘no’ is not popular – but it is now or never for Illinois... READ MORE

New legislation calls for audit of the College of DuPage’s finances… at its own expense

February 18, 2015 - Reboot Illinois

An Illinois House Resolution introduced by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, seeks a performance audit of the College of DuPage’s finances and its board of trustees following last month’s approval of a controversial severance package for the community college’s president, Robert Breuder. State lawmakers have since filed numerous bills and resolutions aimed to prevent these kinds of lucrative, taxpayer-funded deals from happening again, and Franks’ HR162 is the latest piece of legislation in the continuing political onslaught against COD. Under Franks’ proposal, the Office of the Auditor General would examine COD’s spending and sources of revenue dating back to fiscal year 2011; the board of trustees’ compliance with its own policies and state laws also would be put under the microscope. More importantly, the school would be... READ MORE

Our View: Fixer-upper badly in need of rehabilitation

February 17, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Have you ever watched one of those home rehab shows on TV? You know, the ones where experts take an out-of-date house, perform major upgrades and turn it into a modern, efficient and attractive home, ready to serve the owners for years to come. Illinoisans who are uncertain about proposals to change their government might want to look at it from the perspective of home improvement. Here we have state and local government systems that aren’t functioning as well as they should. The state is billions of dollars in debt, has chronic budget deficits and fails to pay its bills on time. Local units of government have trouble providing accustomed services and making ends meet. Think of our government as a large, old house that hasn’t been updated since the 1970s (when the latest Illinois Constitution took effect) and is... READ MORE

Don’t leave map drawing to those who will benefit

February 16, 2015 - Sauk Valley Media

The turmoil has partially subsided over a Chicago Little League team whose national title was taken away by Little League International. One aspect of the story still resonates with reform-minded Illinoisans. The adults who operated the Jackie Robinson West team apparently wanted to give the boys, ages 11 to 13, the best opportunity to win. The team operates within established geographic boundaries, but certain talented players lived outside those boundaries. The solution? Some adult team leader quietly redrew the boundary map to bring in those top players. The result gave the team ineligible players who helped it win a championship. Hmm. Redrawing a map to give one side an unfair advantage. Where have we heard that story before? Sounds like the Illinois redistricting process to us. Every 10 years after the Census is taken, our state... READ MORE

Franks: Let Election Board Draw District Maps

February 16, 2015 - 100.5 WYMG

The cycle goes this way: Census. Redistricting. Complaining about redistricting. State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) is proposing a change to the politically-driven process of redrawing the maps, a process which, Franks says, protects the incumbents. “The dismal turnout in our elections, is, I think, a direct result where people think their voices don’t really matter,” Franks says. Members of the State Board of Elections would propose the boundaries for the Illinois General Assembly districts and for the U.S. House of Representatives districts. The legislature, Franks says, would give it an up-or-down vote... READ MORE

Gov. Bruce Rauner signs executive order creating consolidation task force

February 13, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order Friday creating a task force aimed at paring down Illinois’ huge number of local governments. The order, which he signed at a ceremony in Elmhurst, creates the Local Government and Consolidation and Unfunded Mandate Task Force, headed by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti. The task force is charged with finding efficiencies and encouraging streamlining of local governments, while also examining the burdens that state government puts on them by imposing regulations on them without accompanying funding. “Illinois leads the nation with nearly 7,000 units of government. Many of these unnecessary layers of government are why hardworking families end up paying some... READ MORE

Lawmaker pushes a better way to remap

February 11, 2015 - Crain's Chicago Business

A new plan has surfaced to do away with congressional and legislative districts that look like plates of spaghetti and keep electing the same old incumbents. But though it has some interesting aspects, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to pass. The plan comes from state Rep. Jack Franks, an oft independent-minded McHenry County Democrat who wants to junk the way in which new district lines are drawn every 10 years. Under a bill filed by Franks, reapportionment—or remapping, as it's more commonly known—would be turned over to the State Board of Elections. Its eight ... READ MORE

Editorial: We must avoid fallout from pension nuclear option

February 10, 2015 - Dispatch Argus

Flying under the radar amid a slew of Big Ideas worth debating contained in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s first state-of-the-state address was a whispered notion that cries out for a thorough and careful vetting: hometown bankruptcy. Though the idea wasn’t part of the governor’s speech, the following did make it into the written proposals his office gave to lawmakers to accompany the Winnetka Republican’s first major public policy address: “extend to municipalities bankruptcy protections to help turn around struggling communities.” We understand what’s driving the suggestion as financially tapped-out governments of all sizes grapple with annual budgets that in some cases are paying more for retired government employees than for... READ MORE

Sen. Jack Franks seeks to block corruption convicts from holding public office with new bill

February 6, 2015 - Reboot Illinois

A new bill in the Illinois General Assembly would prohibit anyone convicted of corruption-related charges from holding public office in Illinois. Illinois’ political history is checkered with tales of corruption, patronage and underhanded dealings. Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo introduced House Bill 1440 Feb. 5 in an effort to curb Illinois’ further association with such political blemishes. Franks said in a statement: “Our state’s track record with corrupt public officials would be comical if it weren’t so tragically real,” Franks said. “Despite this deplorable history, we must not continue accepting cronyism, sleaze... READ MORE

Lawmakers target lucrative severance packages after College of DuPage buyout

February 2, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

West suburban lawmakers announced a package of bills Monday aimed at punishing the College of DuPage for giving President Robert Breuder a lucrative severance package and at preventing other taxing bodies from approving similar buyouts. The proposed legislation, most of which has not been filed yet, ranges from capping severance packages to cutting state funding for schools that approve large buyouts like Breuder’s.“It’s distressing to again be forced to look to setting parameters on local government, but the fact of the matter is that the people of our area are demanding action,” state Rep. Jeanne... READ MORE

'Smart streamline' Illinois out of financial hole

February 1, 2015 - Chicago Sun-Times

The University of Illinois just released another depressing report on the state’s fiscal health, including a prediction that it’s going to get “dramatically worse” without strong remedial medicine. Duh! OPINION Seriously, the study echoes the “gloom and doom” scenario Gov. Bruce Rauner’s been depicting in advance of this week’s “State of the State” address. It pegs the fiscal 2016 budget deficit at $9 billion, and predicts the red ink figure could balloon to $14 billion over the next decade. Those numbers are daunting, and they underscore the importance of accelerating a downsizing initiative known as “smart streamlining... READ MORE

Our View: Consolidation could get boost from Gov. Bruce Rauner

January 30, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Count us among those who hope state Rep. Jack Franks is right when it comes to the fate of the bills he filed recently to help foster government consolidation. Franks, a Marengo Democrat, hopes the election of Republican Bruce Rauner as Illinois governor will spur consolidation efforts. “It wasn’t the problems with the Democrats, it was the problems with the Republicans,” Franks told the Illinois Radio Network, “because many of the Republicans who represent the rural, downstate areas, this is their only real chance for patronage, and they didn’t want to reduce the size of government.” Franks filed two bills this month to help consolidate the nearly 7,000 units... READ MORE

College of DuPage fails Good Government 101

January 29, 2015 - Chicago Sun-Times

Why do public agencies so love to throw around the taxpayers’ money — your money — just to send some executive off into a rich, fat and early retirement? EDITORIAL It seems like just yesterday that Metra was so obnoxiously free with other people’s money, shelling out $652,363.10 to make its executive director, Alex Clifford, go away. Now the board of the College of DuPage has trumped Metra in this game of indefensible giveaways, approving $763,000 in severance for its president. As part of the deal, the president, Robert Breuder, will quit his $484,813-a-year job three years early. This for a guy who already scooped up a $508,000 compensation package when he left his previous job as president of Harper College... READ MORE

Lawmaker Threatens To Punish College Of DuPage Over $750K Severance To President

January 29, 2015 - CBS2 Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – A northwest suburban lawmaker was threatening to slash state funding for the College of DuPage, after its board of trustees agreed to a $762,868 severance package for the community college’s retiring president. Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said he’ll propose legislation to trim more than $1.5 million from state funding to COD next year – twice the cost of the exit package for outgoing president Robert Breuder. “Those monies are being given to the College of DuPage by the taxpayers to stay in the classroom, not to pay for the hunt club fees of their retiring president; not to be paying for his Lexus,” Franks said. Franks also... READ MORE

Critics boo as College of DuPage board reaffirms president's buyout

January 29, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

The College of DuPage board of trustees voted Wednesday night to reaffirm a lucrative but controversial buyout package for its president, as scores of critics packed the meeting to voice concerns about the deal. The crowd groaned and booed after the 6-1 vote. The unusual do-over vote, required because of a "procedural" error, comes six days after the board approved a $763,000 severance deal for President Robert Breuder, which sparked widespread criticism over the amount of the agreement and a lack of transparency at the publicly funded community college in Glen Ellyn... READ MORE