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.







Bill prompted by Woodstock police scandal signed into law

August 20, 2014 - The Woodstock Independent

A bill proposed in the wake of controversy over the alleged conduct of a Woodstock Police Department sergeant was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn Aug. 15. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said the legislation he introduced in February that increases the penalties for “grooming” minors may have helped to prosecute Sgt. Charles “Chip” Amati, who in 2013 was accused of sending a text message to a 12-year-old girl asking her for “sexy pictures.” At the time, prosecutors said that message didn’t constitute criminal behavior. “It was such an outrageous situation where law enforcement felt like their hands were tied by the way the law was written,” Franks said. “It didn’t give them an opportunity to charge or punish him, if those allegations were true.” House Bill 5290, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, stiffens the penalties for grooming minors, a term used to describe the act of connecting with children in order to sexually abuse or exploit them. Under the new... READ MORE

OUR VIEW: What do we want? Less government

August 20, 2014 - The Times

THE ISSUE: Quinn signs government consolidation law OUR VIEW: Citizens need to pick up the cause of smaller government Advocates for political reform in Illinois have long targeted the state's obscenely large number of government bodies as ripe for increased efficiency and, hopefully, reduced taxpayer expense. The state has nearly 7,000 taxing bodies, "by far the highest number per capita in the nation," according to Reboot Illinois. According to Census data, California, with a population exceeding 37 million, has 4,425 government units, or 11.88 per 100,000 people. The No. 2 state, Pennsylvania, has 4,897 government units for its 12.7 million residents, a rate of 38.55 per 100,000. IIllinois' per capita rate is 54.57 per 100,000. Florida manages 1,650 government units for 18.8 million people — a rate of 8.78 per 100,000. But perhaps at long last Illinois' number will begin... READ MORE

Local governments can now consolidate if they so choose

August 19, 2014 - Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — A new law makes it easier for local government bodies to consolidate or eliminate themselves. Monday, Gov. Quinn signed a bill that enables local taxing bodies to join rather than continue operating as separate entities. Before the law was passed this week, local units of government had no authority to absorb, combine or eliminate other units of government. Now, a majority vote from a particular entity’s board will allow for consolidation or discontinuation of various units for the sake of efficiency, fiscal practicality or logistical purposes. State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, was one of two Senate co-sponsors of the legislation. He said local control leads to better results. “I don’t think this bill is a silver bullet for all of our problems,” Biss said. “But it is a good step toward... READ MORE

The most exciting places in Illinois

August 19, 2014 - Reboot Illinois

Although Illinois struggles with a crippling pension crisis and corruption, it’s still an awesome place to live. To highlight the fun side of living in Illinois, real estate blog site Movoto.com made a list of the top 10 most exciting places in Illinois. Movoto made the list by ranking the 100 most populous cities in Illinois, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, on the following criteria: Most nightlife and live music venues per capita Most active life options per capita Fewest fast food venues per capita Highest percentage of non-fast food restaurants Highest percentage of residents ages 18 to 34 Please note these were the same 100 places used to rank the most boring places in Illinois... READ MORE

Quinn signs bill allowing some governments to consolidate

August 18, 2014 - Northwest Herald

A bill that gives some of the state's most esoteric and obscure units of local government the power to eliminate themselves is now law. House Bill 5785, sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, empowers these governments to consolidate or vote themselves out of existence if they so choose. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill on Monday. Franks has called the bill a step in the right direction toward paring down Illinois' almost 7,000 units of government, by far the most of any state. "While it is imperative that we continue to work to reduce the size and scope of state government, we can also provide residents with meaningful tax relief by identifying opportunities for consolidation and increased efficiency at the local level," Franks said in a statement. The new law allows the boards of such eclectic taxing districts as cemetery, civic center, museum, port, waste disposal, street lighting, water authority and other districts to either consolidate into a neighboring district... READ MORE

Gov. Pat Quinn pulls plug on contract with Northstar Lottery Group

August 16, 2014 - Rockford Register Star

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn is pulling the plug on the private manager hired to increase sales of the Illinois Lottery. With Northstar Lottery Group consistently failing to meet the sale goals it promised when it won the contract to manage the lottery, Quinn said it was time to end the arrangement. The story was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business. “The administration has had serious concerns with Northstar’s performance,” said Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette in a prepared statement. “The governor demands every state contractor be held accountable for their performance. The governor’s office has directed the lottery to end its relationship with Northstar. The state is in the process of finalizing a path that will allow the lottery to move on, improve profits and increase funding for education and economic development across the state.” Blanchette said he could not... READ MORE

State to dump private Illinois Lottery manager

August 15, 2014 - Crain's Chicago Business

The bumpy marriage between the state and the private company that operates the Illinois Lottery is ending in a divorce. Gov. Pat Quinn's office confirmed to me today that it is ending its contract with Northstar Lottery Group LLC to operate the $2 billion-a-year lottery system, seven years earlier than scheduled. It is not yet certain whether the separation will be voluntary by both parties, but a decision to end the contract has been made. "The governor's office has directed the lottery to end its relationship with Northstar," gubernatorial spokesman Grant Klinzman said in an email that he later verified in a brief phone conversation. "The administration has had serious concerns with Northstar's performance. The governor demands every state contractor be held accountable for their performance." The relationship between Northstar and the Illinois Lottery went south almost immediately after the 10-year contract was... READ MORE

Quinn dismisses lottery management firm

August 15, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

Gov. Pat Quinn has fired the private company that runs the Illinois Lottery after it fell nearly a half-billion dollars short of revenues it promised to raise for the state during the first three years of its 10-year contract. It’s not clear whether the state will negotiate a mutual agreement to separate from Northstar Lottery Group or will simply terminate the contract for consistent profit shortfalls. But a spokesman for the governor said the decision to cut ties was made due to “serious concerns” about the firm’s performance. “The governor’s office has directed the Lottery to end its relationship with Northstar,” Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman said in an email. “The state is in the process of finalizing a path that will allow the Lottery to move on, improve profits and increase funding for education and economic development across the state... READ MORE

OUR VIEW: Who will answer as lottery again falls short?

August 13, 2014 - The Times

THE ISSUE: Lottery firm misses its goals — again OUR VIEW: Quinn must be accountable for this sour deal The deal to privatize the Illinois Lottery looked shaky from the start, and as the years pile up the data only makes it appear worse. The Chicago Tribune reported the gory details on its website Tuesday afternoon: For three years running, Northstar Lottery Group fell short of profit goals. Meanwhile, "its parent companies continue to be paid more each year to provide games and services." To give credit to Northstar, its preliminary year-end data shows a net profit of $738 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. But that's less money than it made in either 2012 or 2013, and it's well short — almost $250 million short — of its 2014 goal. "After three years, Northstar is about $480 million behind what it... READ MORE

State agency is ignoring salary database law

August 13, 2014 - Daily Herald

An Illinois law requiring the state to keep a salary database of most local government employees is being disregarded because no money was ever appropriated to pay for it. Department officials claim they didn't have to create the database because they were not given funding. Some lawmakers say they were never told it would cost anything, maintain there is no additional cost and are upset they were never notified the law was being ignored. "The statute indicates it was 'subject to appropriation,'" said Alka Nayyar, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, which was charged with creating the database. "I don't believe the General Assembly appropriated the funds required to implement the additions" to the Illinois... READ MORE

Firm hired to run Illinois Lottery has failed to hit profit goals for 3rd straight year

August 12, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

For the third consecutive year, the private firm hired run the Illinois Lottery has failed to bring in the profits it promised to raise for the state, even as its parent companies continue to be paid more each year to provide games and services. According to a Tribune review of preliminary year-end data, Northstar Lottery Group posted a net profit of $738 million – nearly a quarter billion less than it pledged to bring in for the 2014 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The figure is less than the company raised for the state in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years after it became the first private company in the nation to take over day-to-day operations of a state lottery. After three years, Northstar is about $480 million behind what it committed to bring into the state’s coffers, prompting one of the company’s harshest critics to renew questions about why Gov. Pat Quinn has not fired the company.... READ MORE

Purple Heart monument to be unveiled Thursday

August 4, 2014 - Northwest Herald

WOODSTOCK – After roughly seven months of preparation and planning, a Purple Heart monument signifying McHenry County's appreciation for wounded veterans will be unveiled Thursday. Enabled by a March proclamation declaring McHenry County the first Purple Heart county in Illinois, the two-sided monument will be unveiled at 10 a.m. Thursday – national Purple Heart Day. The event will be held at the monument's location, at the main entrance of the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock. Behind the efforts to make the event special is Marine veteran Richard Young and his wife, Monica. Having started the process in January, Monica Young said she expects the event to be memorable. "I have a feeling it's going to be a very tearful day for everyone," she said. An Air Force T-34 flyover will mark the beginning of the ceremony and a Huey helicopter will hover nearby during a salute to the monument... READ MORE

UPDATE: New law today lowers fishing license fees for seniors

August 1, 2014 - McLeansboro Times Leader

CARTERVILLE — Illlinois governor Pat Quinn today visited Crab Orchard Lake in Southern Illinois to sign a law that reduces sport fishing and hunting license fees to $1 for Illinois residents over 75 years of age. Today’s action is part of Quinn’s agenda to help more older adults enjoy recreational opportunities in Illinois, according to a press release issued by his office. “Illinois’ older adults who hunt and fish have supported these natural treasures for a lifetime,” Governor Quinn said. “It is time to honor them for their commitment to Illinois’ hunting and fishing opportunities by making it easier for them to renew their licenses.” House Bill 4329, sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) and State Representative Jack Franks... READ MORE

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