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.







Lake, McHenry counties could get government-cutting power

April 24, 2015 - Daily Herald

Lake and McHenry County leaders eventually could be allowed to eliminate certain layers of government, a power DuPage County officials already have. The Illinois House on Friday approved extending the power to Lake and McHenry counties with only one vote to spare. The legislation from state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, doesn't name what governments the county boards could ax. But if the county board or chairman appoints a majority of the government's board, it could be eliminated. "It puts the power in the hands of our constituents and our county government," Franks said... READ MORE

House taps breaks on new specialty plates

April 20, 2015 - Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — The state House on Monday pumped the brakes on the creation of new Illinois specialty license plates. The bill, sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, would have the state replace the creation of new specialty plates with specialty stickers. It sped through the House on a 108-1 vote and will now move to the Senate. At the moment, there are 193 types of valid, state-issued license plates for passenger vehicles alone, representatives said. Most of Illinois specialty plates are fundraisers for various causes, from autism awareness to wetlands preservation. Pricing for a random-number specialty plate generally involves an additional charge of $40, $15 of which stays with the state so taxpayer dollars aren’t used to make the special plates. The remaining $25 goes to the motorist’s cause. The state requires legislation... READ MORE

Help available for McHenry County residents seeking FOID, concealed carry cards

April 15, 2015 - Northwest Herald

WOODSTOCK – State Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, said residents can contact his constituent service office for assistance in completing applications for Firearm Owners Identification cards and concealed carry permits. “With the elimination of paper applications for FOID cards and concealed carry permits, it has become more difficult for many Illinoisans to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Franks said. “Seniors and others without access to the Internet have been burdened by this change.” Beginning March 16, the Illinois State Police phased out the use of paper applications for concealed carry permits and FOID cards; the applications can now only be processed online. Residents who need individual assistance or who cannot... READ MORE

Pumpkin pie measure advances in Legislature

April 16, 2015 - Pantagraph

SPRINGFIELD — It seems most Illinois lawmakers are fans of pumpkin pie and because they are, it's a step closer to becoming Illinois' official state pie. On a 108-3 vote, the Illinois House on Thursday endorsed a proposal floated by state Rep. Keith Sommer to bestow that designation on the popular holiday dessert. Although he acknowledged Illinois faces serious problems, Sommer said the proposal highlights the fact that 95 percent of the processed pumpkin is produced in Illinois, with the majority of that coming from his hometown, Morton... READ MORE

McHenry County group moves to halve township government

April 9, 2015 - The Times

SPRINGFIELD — A citizen group trying to consolidate township governments in McHenry County says the change could save as much as $40 million over 10 years. If successful, the McHenry County Citizens for Township Consolidation would bring the number of townships down from 17 to as few as eight. Mike Shorten, chairman of the group, says the goal is not to reduce services but to restructure to make delivery of services cost-effective. “There are lot of people in townships who value the services and we’re honestly not focused on trying to impact those services, just changing the structure with the intent of decreasing costs,” he said... READ MORE

Ratings firm's undisclosed report sees Illiana as financial risk

March 27, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

John Greuling, president of the Will County Center for Economic Development, is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner not to "stick a fork" in the Illiana Tollway project, despite its apparent financial challenges. A six-page report issued by the center this month says the need for the toll road between Interstate 57 near Wilmington to I-65 near Lowell, Ind., "has never been greater than today" and would be a catalyst for economic growth.... READ MORE

McHenry County drone users waiting on government rules for commercial use

March 27, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Excited by the rapidly developing technology, Robert McClurg bought his first drone two years ago to experiment with operating the small unmanned aircraft and give himself a new hobby. Now, he's hearing more requests from clients about incorporating the drone and the aerial footage it captures into the digital marketing services provided by his Woodstock business, TurnKey Digital. But so far, he said he has been hesitant to use drones professionally. Likewise, McHenry resident Josh Carstens is using his friends to build his aerial videography skills... READ MORE

Secret state study dinged Illiana finances

March 25, 2015 - Crain's Chicago Business

As Gov. Bruce Rauner considers whether to finally kill off the proposed Illiana expressway, this is a question he might want to get answered: Why did ex-Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, amid an all-out rush to stampede the controversial roadway through to final approval last year, commission a secret, $112,000 study of whether Illiana finances would be solid enough to quality for a big federal construction loan? And why was that study, which apparently came back negative, never released—even now, with everybody in Springfield who knows passing the buck to someone else? It's a pretty sad story about the drive that would leave Illinois... READ MORE

Legislators take the wheel on driverless car study

March 25, 2015 - Daily Herald

A suburban lawmaker thinks Illinois needs to start getting ready for the driverless cars of the future. State Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, is behind the wheel of legislation that would spark a study of Illinois roads and local laws to determine what needs to be changed before driverless vehicles become a reality. "I want to be prepared for this because it's coming, and I want to be on the cutting edge," Franks said. "I think we're a lot closer than people realize." The proposal was approved by an Illinois House committee Wednesday. Driverless cars are already allowed on the road for testing... READ MORE

State lawmakers target state vehicle fleet for cuts

March 22, 2015 - The State Journal-Register

First it was the state's air fleet targeted for cuts. Now, state lawmakers are making another run at cutting the state's fleet of vehicles. A House committee last week approved a bill directing the state to dispose of vehicles that aren't driven much in the course of a year. The legislation stems in part from an audit of the vehicle fleet operated by the Department of Central Management Services. The audit found that nearly 25 percent of the vehicles it examined weren't driven enough in a year to justify the expense of the car. Instead, the audit said it would be less expensive to reimburse workers for using their personal cars in those cases.... READ MORE

Many officials in denial about public records

March 20, 2015 - Sauk Valley Media

Illinois’ many units of government sure seem to be in denial about releasing public records to the public. We make that observation based on the Public Access Bureau’s annual report, released Tuesday by Attorney General Lisa Madigan in conjunction with Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of access to public information. The report states that 4,032 new matters were received by the Public Access Bureau. Of those, 3,704 were requests for review by the public access counselor, made by people who were denied public records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act... READ MORE

Exclusive: Retirement plan blocked for Rockford Park District chief Tim Dimke

March 20, 2015 - Rockford Register Star

Jack Franks, D-Marengo. "Just because there's a loophole that he can exploit doesn't mean that he should." Franks had contacted the IMRF to... READ MORE

Suggestion to Impose Fines on Govt. Agencies

March 15, 2015 - WAND 17

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A lawmaker suggests imposing fines on government agencies that violate open-records laws. Rep. Jack Franks is a Marengo Democrat who sponsored a 2010 law creating a public access counselor in the attorney general's office to referee disputes over what records should be public. He says fining agencies that flout the law could help reduce a backlog of appeals over denied public-records. The Associated Press found that the counselor has 2,800 unresolved appeals on Freedom of Information Act requests out of 15,000 received. Nearly 1,200 are at least two years old... READ MORE

Addressing the College of DuPage’s administrators’ drinking habits

March 13, 2015 - Reboot Illinois

Following revelations of excessive spending by top College of DuPage administrators at an upscale campus restaurant, one of the policy changes under consideration would ban alcohol reimbursements. School officials would need to pay for their own drinks rather than pinning the tab on taxpayers, according to an internal memo obtained by the Chicago Tribune. The potential policy reforms come after a Tribune report revealed COD President Robert Breuder, board trustees... READ MORE

Rauner puts suburban lawmakers on mandate-cutting board

March 13, 2015 - Daily Herald

Gov. Bruce Rauner has named a number of suburban officials to a committee aimed at consolidating some of Illinois' many government agencies and curbing state laws that cost local governments money. The group is led by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, a Wheaton Republican. Rauner has asked local governments to cut their spending in an effort to freeze property taxes for two years. He's also proposed cutting in half what towns and counties get from state income taxes, leading some suburban mayors to say a property tax hike would be inevitable under his plans. Members of the Local Government and Unfunded Mandate Task Force include: Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo, Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington, Democratic state Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora... READ MORE

After Snub, College of DuPage gets threat that lawmakers plan to cut funds

March 12, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

Frustrated by lavish spending and lax financial oversight at the College of DuPage, Illinois lawmakers threatened Thursday to slash funding to the community college after school officials ignored their deadline to agree to a state-run audit... READ MORE

Our View: A step closer to Open Meetings Act reform

March 7, 2015 - Northwest Herald

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down: Thumbs up: To House Bill 175 passing unanimously in the state House and moving to the Senate. State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, and state Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, are spearheading the legislation, which closes a loophole in the Illinois Open Meetings Act and will allow people to report a possible violation of the act within 60 days of its discovery, rather than 60 days from the date of the meeting. Thumbs up: To the Oakwood Hills Power Plant Opposition Group for donating the remaining $10,000 it had earmarked for a presumed legal battle that never happened fighting... READ MORE

Franks: Energy, perseverance and persistence needed now

March 7, 2015 - Northwest Herald

In 2012, I led an effort to reform the structure of government in McHenry County. I proposed then a popularly elected County Board chair would help strengthen the voices of McHenry County taxpayers. Teams of supporters joined me in gathering signatures, sending out letters, planting signs, making phone calls and walking door-to-door in communities throughout our county. Then, on Nov. 4, 2012, the referendum we were fighting to pass failed. We lost. Over the next year, I worked with members of the McHenry County Board to address their concerns about the proposal and a similar question was placed on the 2014 primary ballot. That referendum passed by a large... READ MORE

State Lawmakers Heighten calls for College of DuPage Review

March 6, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

State lawmakers turned up the pressuer for a comprehensive audit of the College of Dupage following a Tribue investigation that uncovered lavish spending in school officials... READ MORE

State rep wants to end break for college employees' kids

March 5, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

An Illinois lawmaker is proposing that the state do away with tuition breaks for children of employees at its public universities. A plan from Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, would phase out the 50 percent tuition waivers over the next four years. New students would not get them next fall. cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. Add a comment 0 Franks, who chairs the State Government Administration Committee, said he wants to amend his current House bill, which would get rid of waivers this year. Doing that wouldn't be fair to current students, he said. Franks said 2,156... READ MORE

Our View: Taking aim at property taxes

March 5, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Two local lawmakers are busy filing bills in Springfield aimed at lowering your property taxes. 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. The McHenry County Board, among other governments, has kept its levies flat in recent years. Other governments haven’t felt the same sense of fiscal restraint or responsibility to overtaxed taxpayers, and take the maximum rate to which they are entitled each year. It’s irresponsible, and it needs to stop... READ MORE

House passes moratorium on new units of government

March 5, 2015 - Illinois News Network

Obamacare hearing - The fate of the Affordable Care Act may be up to two U.S. Supreme Court justices after a hearing in D.C. Wednesday. The case, King v. Burwell, challenges the validity of the health insurance mandate saying the law does not allow subsidized health insurance purchases through the federal government, only through the state governments. Illinois is one of thirty-four states that have opted not to run their own exchange. If the petitioners seeking the high... READ MORE