Welcome!

My name is Jack Franks – I’m a third generation resident of McHenry County and have been honored to represent many McHenry County communities as a State Representative.  I am proud of the work I have done, in partnership with so many residents, speaking out against taxes and waste in state government. Now I am running for McHenry County Board Chairman to reduce taxes and improve transparency in County government.

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 McHenry County back on the right track.

Since I took office, your support and ideas have been invaluable. 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 County needs serious budget and ethics reforms and we must make government function more efficiently. As McHenry County Board Chairman, 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.


 


 

LATEST NEWS

 

 

 

Franks calls for Illinois Lottery probe in light of audit findings

June 11, 2016 - The State Journal-Register

A state lawmaker is calling for an investigation of the Illinois Lottery after a recent audit revealed it had violated the state finance law. The audit found that the Lottery circumvented the state’s budget impasse by prepaying $20 million to take part in future multistate lottery games, such as Powerball and Mega Millions. Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said he wants either Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan or Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Office of Executive Inspector General to investigate the Lottery’s alleged legal violation — an allegation the Lottery initially accepted but has changed its stance on and now denies. “At this time law enforcement... READ MORE

Quick legislative action? On board pensions, yes

June 4, 2016 - The State Journal-Register

Despite indications to the contrary, the Illinois General Assembly can sometimes act quickly when there’s a path to clear up an obvious problem. So it was with the issue of part-time members of county boards getting pensions through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. State Rep. JACK FRANKS, D-Marengo, raised the issue because he had serious doubts that all members of the McHenry County Board who are in the pension system were working 1,000 hours a year, as required there to qualify for the retirement benefit. Word of such questions spread to places including Springfield, where more than half... READ MORE

Illinois bill to end IMRF pensions for future county board members headed to governor's desk

June 2, 2016 - Northwest Herald

A bill that would end pensions for future county board members and require those now in the system to prove their working hours is headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk. And a resolution to end the McHenry County Board’s participation in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund altogether will work its way through the board starting Thursday. Senate Bill 2701, which cleared the House and Senate in the final hours of the spring legislative session Tuesday, would disqualify future candidates elected to county boards from participating in IMRF. Existing board members already enrolled – the Illinois Constitution forbids altering their benefits – will have to fill out time sheets to prove that they are working the minimum hours required, either 600 or 1,000 hours a year, to qualify... READ MORE

Local government consolidation bill for McHenry, Lake counties headed to governor

May 31, 2016 - Northwest Herald

A bill that seeks to give the McHenry and Lake county boards the power to eliminate certain appointed local governments is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature. The Illinois House over the weekend approved an amendment to House Bill 229, a measure that has been pushed since 2015 by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo. The bill, if enacted, would give the two collar-county boards the same ability to eliminate some taxing bodies that lawmakers gave DuPage County in 2013 as part of a pilot program. The Senate amendment approved by the House would exempt conservation districts. Although Franks said he dislikes the idea of carving out exemptions, he said he could stomach... READ MORE

Rep. Jack Franks: Why I decided to leave the General Assembly

May 25, 2016 - The State Journal-Register

After 18 years in the Legislature, I announced that I would not seek re-election to the Illinois House of Representatives, instead deciding to run for chairman of the McHenry County Board. Leaving the Legislature was not an easy decision. Since first being elected state representative, I have spent my time talking to and working on behalf of the residents of the 63rd District. For most of my tenure in the General Assembly, I have loved my job and the opportunity it afforded me to bring positive changes to the people of Illinois. From ethics reform to government consolidation to fighting against runaway taxes and spending, I am proud of what has been accomplished. Unfortunately, over the past months, Illinois government's... READ MORE

Franks: "Both sides suffer under the delusion that it’s OK that real people get hurt as long as the other side gets blamed for it."

May 22, 2016 - Herald & Review

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, nailed the spirit of Illinois politics with this quote as he announced he would not seek another term and instead seek election as county board chairman. "Both sides suffer under the delusion that it’s OK that real people get hurt as long as the other side gets blamed for it." That statement should be placed over the entrance to the House and Senate chambers as a reminder to everyone of what really happens in those halls. Franks has been an outspoken member of the General Assembly and is one of the few House members that regularly opposed Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. Franks almost single-handedly derailed the Democrat’s... READ MORE

Letter: Rep. Jack Franks shows Political courage

May 21, 2016 - Northwest Herald

To the Editor: It is a rare thing to see someone with power willing to give it up for the greater good. That is exactly what happened when State Rep. Jack Franks passed a constitutional amendment that would allow for the voters to take the power of drawing legislative maps out of the hands of the legislature and the governor, and give it to an independent commission that is not bound by the need to keep themselves in power. This is a tremendous act of political courage by Rep. Franks. The constitutional amendment passed the Illinois House of Representatives with more than 100 votes, making it one of the most bipartisan achievements that we have recently seen in Illinois. We need to give Franks credit for being willing to cross the aisle and work with members of the opposite party on a reform... READ MORE

Jack Franks announces McHenry County Board chairman run

May 15, 2016 - Northwest Herald

Ending months of speculation, Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks announced his candidacy for McHenry County Board Chairman, setting up what is sure to be a fierce race for the first-ever election for the seat. But while the move gives the McHenry County Republican Party a hard fight for what was an uncontested race, it also gives the GOP a chance to reclaim the 63rd Illinois House District seat that Franks said he is relinquishing to run for chairman instead. Franks, of Marengo, made the announcement Sunday morning, shortly after the Democratic Party of McHenry County voted to slate him to run against Republican nominee Michael Walkup. Walkup, a County Board member from Crystal Lake, narrowly defeated incumbent Chairman Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, in the March 15 primary. Franks, who has few friends on the County Board... READ MORE

Jack Franks Enters Race for McHenry County Board Chairman

May 15, 2016 - Press Release

Reducing taxes and consolidating County’s bloated bureaucracy his top priorities. (Marengo, IL) – As McHenry County struggles with population and job loss due in large part to out of control property taxes, Jack Franks, State Representative for the 63rd District, today enters the race to become the first popularly elected McHenry County Board Chairman. “The residents of McHenry County are over taxed. The population of our county is declining because of poor leadership in the County that relies too much on raising our taxes and too little on making the tough choices to consolidate overlapping and duplicative government services... READ MORE

Franks' Pension Accountability Efforts Have Statewide Effect

May 7, 2016 - The State Journal-Register

More than half of the Sangamon County Board members are enrolled in a pension system mostly intended for full-time employees of local governments, which would require them to work hundreds of hours per year in that role. But several board members say they didn't even know about the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension's work requirement, which is 600 or 1,000 hours of time each year. Crossing 1,000 hours means an average of more than 19 hours a week -- or 20 hours a week for 50 weeks a year. Some say they're not sure they or their colleagues are meeting... READ MORE

Looking at Pensions for County Board Members

May 4, 2016 - Alton Daily News

A suburban Chicago state lawmaker is looking to crack down on what he calls a conspiracy to give retirement benefits to county board members for part-time work. Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks said despite a requirement to work between 600 and 1,000 hours a year to get benefits through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, some county board members in Illinois aren’t. Franks said something’s not right. “I believe that there is a conspiracy by many of the elected officials to take these benefits that they have not actually earned,” Franks said. The Rock Island County Board recently voted to end the benefit for its members. County board member Dewayne Cremeens supported the move. Cremeens... READ MORE

Illinois House Backs Franks' Redistricting Amendment

May 3, 2016 - Reuters

A Democratic bid to transfer the highly coveted political power of drawing legislative boundaries from state lawmakers to the Democratically controlled Illinois Supreme Court overwhelmingly passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. The proposed amendment to Illinois' constitution sailed through the House on a 105-7 vote and now must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the state Senate by Friday in order to be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Since Democrats controlled the state legislature and the governor's office after the 2010 census, they won the once-a-decade right to draw new legislative district boundaries. The process enabled the party to build super-majorities in both... READ MORE

Four Illinois pension solutions we ought to be pushing

May 3, 2016 - Reboot Illinois

In a recent post, I focused on the fact that we still have the worst pension debt among all U.S. states and yet there seems to be little focus on trying to do something about that this spring in Springfield. Don’t get me wrong. A budget deal with cuts, purchasing reforms, efficiencies and an actual balance without gimmicks would be welcome. But it still wouldn’t address the gargantuan pension elephant in the Illinois living room. It’s been a year since the Illinois Supreme Court rejected lawmakers’ first attempt at pension changes. We can’t just let it go and push that burden onto the backs of our children and grandchildren... READ MORE

Lawmakers Try To Avoid Special Session

May 3, 2016 - Alton Daily News

Getting sick of hearing about the budget impasse? So are some state lawmakers. Legislators are back in Springfield this week and hope they can use this month to tackle a budget for the coming fiscal year as well as this year. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, said nothing is more important than solving the budget crisis. “Understand that we’re spending every week more than $200 million more than what we’re bringing in,” Franks said. “We’re digging a deeper hole every day. It’s more than $30 million every day.” Franks said he would rather have lawmakers agree to a budget before the May 31 deadline than go into a special session. State Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, said he hopes lawmakers learned their lesson... READ MORE

EXCLUSIVE: Pension perks

May 2, 2016 - Illinois Times

Local elected officials due for pensions would have to keep logs showing that they have worked enough hours to qualify for pension benefits under a bill now pending in the state legislature. That could mean a lot of paperwork for local pols. Elected officials aren’t required to take pensions, but all but one member of the Springfield City Council has signed up for pension benefits and more than half the members of the Sangamon County board are on board. It’s a matter of keeping politicians honest, says Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, who is sponsoring the measure that has passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House. “This isn’t a political issue, it’s a legal issue,” Franks said. “You have a legal obligation, if you’re collecting the benefits, to prove that you deserve them. If you’re not entitled, you don’t get it. It’s very simple.” In most cases, local politicians... READ MORE

Editorial: No ticker-tape parade in Springfield just yet

April 25, 2016 - Journal Star

Illinois legislators shouldn’t risk injury patting themselves on the back. Indeed, it is an example of just how far the bar has been lowered in Illinois that many legislators were hailing the $600 million higher education package they overwhelmingly passed last week as a bipartisan triumph. The governor signed it into law on Monday. In fact it’s an emergency stopgap measure that funds colleges and universities at about one-third of the $1.7 billion that General Assembly Democrats had originally earmarked for higher ed this fiscal year. It’s an act of last-minute desperation that brought one institution, Chicago State, to the brink of closure by month’s end. It likely won’t forestall layoffs at Western Illinois University, at Eastern Illinois University, at the University of... READ MORE

Franks: "We've created a political freakshow in Springfield."

April 22, 2016 - Journal Star

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ universities and community colleges will get $600 million to tide them over the summer under a stopgap spending bill approved Friday by the General Assembly. The measure, which also includes money for tuition grants to low-income students, was the same bill that appeared headed for passage Thursday before the sponsor abruptly decided to delay a vote. Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the bill, even though it is not tied to any of his turnaround agenda, which he’s insisted must be part of any comprehensive budget plan. Comptroller Leslie Munger said Friday she will immediately being processing payments to higher education, which has received no state money this year because of the budget stalemate. Lawmakers... READ MORE

State Rep. Jack Franks' property tax relief bill passes Illinois House

April 21, 2016 - Northwest Herald

Property tax relief for Illinois homeowners who live in non-home rule communities is a step closer to reality. State Rep. Jack Franks' bill to freeze property taxes in non-home rule communities passed the Illinois House on Thursday by a veto-proof vote of 71-31. Five House members voted "present," and 11 did not vote. The bill now goes to the state Senate, where Franks, D-Marengo, gives it a "50-50" chance of passage. "This is as far as we've ever gotten," Franks said. The legislation, if signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner, reverses the effect on the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, or PTELL, which allows taxing districts in non-home rule communities to receive an inflationary increase in property... READ MORE

Franks' plan would take lawmakers out of remap process

April 18, 2016 - Daily Herald

A plan to draw some of Illinois' political boundaries differently and therefore possibly alter future races for seats at the state Capitol is being advanced by lawmakers. The proposal from state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, is asking lawmakers to take themselves out of the process that draws the borders of the districts from which they're elected. Instead of lawmakers and a governor redrawing the map after every census, the Illinois Supreme Court would appoint a bipartisan panel to do it. "There's no involvement from the General Assembly and the governor," Franks said. The idea could have serious consequences in Illinois. Democrats controlled the state House, Senate...READ MORE

Bill Would Stop Pension Double-Dipping

April 17, 2016 - Alton Daily News

Illinois’ police and firefighters can collect pensions while they work for another public employer. One Northern Illinois lawmaker aims to change that to stop situations. Here’s an example of this practice: The Chicago suburb didn’t want to lose the experience of Police Chief Tim Hayden, but he had a full pension waiting for him. So they let him retire, start collecting his pension then hired him back under a different title. This gave him a total yearly income of more than $240,000. The Retirement Means Retirement Act would prevent... READ MORE

From the community: Franks Measure to Improve Local Government Transparency Passes House

April 14, 2016 - Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - State Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, passed legislation out of the House on Wednesday, with strong bipartisan support, requiring local governments to fully disclose taxpayer funded incentives in their budgets to increase transparency of the fiscal practices of local units of government. "Too often, local governments do not count the incentives they have awarded as an actual cost, which does a disservice to taxpayers," Franks said. "By requiring units of government to disclose theses incentives in their budgets, it will offer the public a greater understanding of the fiscal practices of their local elected officials." House... READ MORE

From the community: Franks Pushing Series of Pension, Local Government, Justice Reform Measures

April 12, 2016 - Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - State Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, is fighting for needed reforms by advancing bills to curb pension abuse, increase government accountability and provide more comprehensive analysis on the overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities within the criminal justice system. Franks' reform measures were approved by House committees last week and now move to the floor of the House for further debate. "These bills represent important steps toward improving three areas where Illinois needs serious change," Franks said. "Government transparency... READ MORE

Transforming Local Government

April 4, 2016 - Alton Daily News

A coalition of good-government groups, business interests and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle has said it’s time to change the culture of government and streamline services for taxpayers. With nearly 7,000 units of local government, Illinois has more layers of government than any other state. The Transform Illinois Coalition said 22 measures pending in the General Assembly would empower local voters to consolidate governments. Dan Cronin, chairman of DuPage County, said it’s beyond time to change the culture of big government. “It used to be about jobs and contracts and big operations and control and so on,” Cronin said. Woodstock Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks said the layers of local... READ MORE

Franks Joins With Colleagues to Push for Consolidation

April 6, 2016 - Daily Herald

In the face of the state's fiscal crisis and current budget impasse, local governments should be prepared for less state money, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said Wednesday. "There's an incentive for local governments to be more efficient then because the new normal is going to be leaner," Cronin said. Cronin joined better government advocates and suburban lawmakers in Springfield on Wednesday to push for legislation that would make government consolidation easier. The proposals vary from the specific, such as a law to dissolve the Round Lake Sanitary District in Lake County...READ MORE

Editorial: Lack of payouts in crashes shows a double-standard

April 3, 2016 - The Telegraph

Love means never having to say you’re sorry. Being a state in the grip of an extended budget mess means not having to pay when you’re wrong, either. Since July, Illinois has been hit with about 200 claims resulting from accidents involving state vehicles. Those claims for everything from fender-benders on up totaled about half a million dollars by mid-March, according to the Illinois News Network. The amount paid to those involved? Zero. Because the state is self-insured, it is responsible for paying for any damage when it is at fault. The snag is that without a complete state budget in place, those payments cannot be made. It isn’t anything new. Plenty of people... READ MORE

From the community: Franks Encourages Taxpayers to File State Tax Returns for Free

March 18, 2016 - Chicago Tribune

WOODSTOCK, Ill. - In advance of the April 15 deadline for individuals to file their 2016 income taxes, state Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, is encouraging taxpayers to use resources provided by the state to assist with processing returns and tracking refunds. "Tax season can be a time of considerable frustration, but there are resources to help" Franks said. "Paying unnecessary fees to file your tax returns should not add to the stress." Illinois residents and businesses can file their state tax returns online by visiting tax.illinois.gov and following the links that correspond to their filing status. This service is provided free by the Illinois Department... READ MORE

State not paying out on auto accident claims; State of affairs embarrassing, lawmakers say

March 14, 2016 - madisonrecord.com

SPRINGFIELD — Been in accident with a state-owned vehicle and not at fault? Waiting for the state to pony up? Keep waiting. The state, which is self-insured, has about 200 claims worth about $560,000 on hold, said Meredith Krantz, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. Those claims, filed since July 1, aren’t being paid because there’s no state budget. One Springfield lawyer said he found the situation “pathetic.” “The way I take this: If a state employee runs into your car and damages a fender or a bumper or whatever, the state isn’t paying that now,” said attorney Jim Ackerman of Springfield... READ MORE

Pension Fund Investigating McHenry County Board Members

March 9, 2016 - CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — The pension fund for municipal workers in Illinois has launched an investigation into whether McHenry County board members are qualified to receive the pension benefits for which they have enrolled. The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund has sent a letter to the board, asking for proof that McHenry County Board members actually work enough hours each year to qualify for a pension. The fund requires employees work at least 1,000 hours a year to receive pensions. IMRF executive director Louis Kosiba asked the county’s human resources director to provide the documentation by April 4. State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) sparked... READ MORE