Welcome!

Welcome!

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.


 


 

LATEST NEWS

 

 

 

Our View: Jack Franks for 63rd state representative

October 16, 2014 - Northwest Herald

McHENRY – A proposed school funding formula would be devastating to the collar counties and their school districts, one state legislator told local school officials, teachers and residents. The statement was part of a running theme at the Tuesday forum, which was one of several state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, has put on to raise awareness of Senate Bill 16. The forum featured two school superintendents, a school finance director, a District 47 school board member and several local legislators. The bill, which passed through the Illinois Senate and sits in the House Rules Committee, would shift general state aid away from the suburbs, where property values are high, to poorer, rural districts. That would mean $5.8 million less for Crystal Lake’s District 47, according to updated projections put out by the Illinois State Board of Education based on the most recent version of the bill. A cut of that size would be the equivalent of... READ MORE

Proposed Illinois school funding formula would affect McHenry County, lawmakers and officials warn

October 14, 2014 - Northwest Herald

McHENRY – A proposed school funding formula would be devastating to the collar counties and their school districts, one state legislator told local school officials, teachers and residents. The statement was part of a running theme at the Tuesday forum, which was one of several state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, has put on to raise awareness of Senate Bill 16. The forum featured two school superintendents, a school finance director, a District 47 school board member and several local legislators. The bill, which passed through the Illinois Senate and sits in the House Rules Committee, would shift general state aid away from the suburbs, where property values are high, to poorer, rural districts. That would mean $5.8 million less for Crystal Lake’s District 47, according to updated... READ MORE

Thursday’s NRI hearing answers few questions

October 9, 2014 - Illinois Watchdog

CHICAGO — As the second day of hearings regarding Gov. Pat Quinn’s scrutinized Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) proceeded before the Legislative Audit Commission, more questions arose as to the whereabouts of a study to determine the criteria for which communities would receive funding from the program. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, co-chairs the audit commission and said the greatest mystery of the hearings was the inability to locate the study that helped determine which communities and organizations were most in need of funding through the NRI. “There was some analysis somewhere that showed us something, of which none of us remember what it was, how it was based or can produce the document that supposedly exists,” Barickman said. Barickman’s comments were aimed toward former Quinn advisor Jack Lavin, who testified before the commission... READ MORE

Sen. Althoff, area lawmakers and school administrators will host forum on impact of SB 16, bill to redirect school funds in Illinois

October 9, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

A public forum hosted by state Senator Pamela Althoff, (R-McHenry) is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, at McHenry West High School Auditorium, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road in McHenry. Residents are invited to attend the forum to hear about the impact of SB 16 on suburban Illinois schools and property taxpayers. Senator Althoff, local state representatives and school officials will outline the negative implications of the education funding reform legislation contained in SB 16. Speakers are expected to include Senator Althoff, State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), State Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), School District 18 Superintendent Jerry Trickett, School District 47 Superintendent Kathy Hinz, School District.. READ MORE

Taxes, economy at issue in Quinn-Rauner debate

October 9, 2014 - Daily Herald

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner continued their monthslong battle over taxes and the economy in their first televised debate, questioning each other's leadership skills and disagreeing sharply on the election's key issues. The two candidates fought for the populist high ground as Rauner talked of lower taxes, Quinn pushed an increase in the minimum wage, and both argued he'd be the man that spends more money on public schools. play video video Full debate Quinn sought to contrast his plans to raise Illinois' minimum wage above $10 per hour against Rauner's personal wealth: "A person taking in $53 million a year, running around Illinois saying eliminate the minimum wage," Quinn said. Rauner, meanwhile, pointed to Quinn's years in office... READ MORE

Civil war - Fight continues over ALPLM

October 9, 2014 - Illinois Times

Dysfunction and acrimony were on full display last week as state lawmakers in Chicago discussed the future of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Officials charged with running the museum threw brickbats at each other during the hearing of the House State Government Administration Committee. ALPLM executive director Eileen Mackevich told lawmakers that she isn’t allowed to make decisions about hiring or spending. She said that she had no meaningful role in hiring either the institution’s chief of staff or deputy director. “Why do we need you?” asked Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, chairman of the committee. “I’m redundant,” admitted Mackevich, who described Amy Martin, head of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency that is the institution’s umbrella agency... READ MORE

Attorney General warns against identity theft at Crystal Lake forum

October 8, 2014 - My Suburban Life

CRYSTAL LAKE – Every year, there are about 200,000 complaints about consumer issues that come into the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday during a Crystal Lake forum. Attended by more than 40 community leaders, elected officials and law enforcement agents, the roundtable event was intended to address those concerns, such as consumer fraud and identity theft. “Back in 2006, for the first time ever, identity theft was the No. 1 consumer fraud complaint category,” Madigan said, adding it was only displaced to No. 2 after the 2008 recession hoisted issues of mortgage-related scams to the top spot... READ MORE

Lawmakers Debate Overhaul Of Lincoln Library & Museum

October 1, 2013 - CBS2 Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – State lawmakers on Wednesday discussed the future of the Abraham Presidential Library and Museum, amid a proposal by House Speaker Michael Madigan to split it off from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the House State Government Administration Committee met in Chicago to take up the issue. Madigan has argued IHPA control of the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield has hamstrung the institution. Supporters of the plan to separate ALPLM have said problems with the current governance of the facility have led to squabbles between the museum advisory board and the IHPA board, and significant debt for the private fundraising foundation. State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), who... READ MORE

Official: Donations drying up for Lincoln library

October 1, 2014 - Seattle PI

CHICAGO (AP) — Top officials at the foundation behind the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum said Wednesday that fundraising is drying up because of tensions between the library's executive director and the director of the state agency that oversees it. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation's chair and CEO told a legislative panel in Chicago on Wednesday that they've heard from numerous donors who are holding off until "issues are resolved" — and that this year's fundraising totals are about $1.5 million behind the $4.7 million raised by the foundation in 2013. "Yesterday, these prospective donors said, 'Tell us why we should give to you. There are a lot of places we give, and it seems you're in the midst of a lot of dissention,'" CEO Carla Knorowski said. "This continues almost certainly on a weekly basis." The dip in donations was detailed at the hearing scheduled after outcry over legislation sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan that would... READ MORE

Lawmaker: Management makeover at Lincoln museum still needed

November 26, 2014 - Politics Early & Often

SPRINGFIELD-Oversight of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum -- a politically charged fight that surrounds one of the state’s biggest tourism gems and that's been on legislative hiatus since May -- will resurface next week as a new round of hearings on the issue opens. The House State Government Administration Committee will convene on Wednesday in Chicago to take up a management makeover of the museum that House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, first raised in the closing hours of the spring legislative session. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, chairman of the panel, voted against Madigan’s legislation but now said he wants to explore the issue more deeply and position a restructuring package for a vote next spring under a newly seated General Assembly. Franks said he isn’t sure what that package will... READ MORE

Sheriff to begin testing body cameras in McHenry County

September 21, 2014 - Northwest Herald

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office will be the first agency in the county to experiment with body-worn cameras, a trendy police tool sweeping the nation in the wake of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri. The Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson and the racially charged protests in the St. Louis suburb that followed have raised questions about police tactics and the police relationship with the public. Where's the story? PointsMentioned Map 11 Points Mentioned Agencies across the country are beginning to test whether body cameras – generally the size of a pager – are the answer. In Illinois alone, police in Chicago, Elgin, Peoria and Springfield have considered body cameras for their officers after Ferguson police began attaching them to their uniforms following Brown’s shooting. Last week, McHenry County Sheriff deputies tried on body-worn cameras for the first time ahead of a 45-day experimental... READ MORE

Committee nixes McHenry County Board restructuring

September 21, 2014 - Northwest Herald

WOODSTOCK – A committee sees no need to recommend altering the number of McHenry County Board members and districts after the next U.S. Census. The second meeting of the Reorganization Committee will be its last, as members concluded that the County Board’s structure is adequate, and that talk of changing it is at the very least premature, with the next opportunity to do so seven years and four elections away. Thursday’s meeting comprised just under half of the board. “The majority of members felt that we are in pretty good shape as to where they are ... we’re not hearing an outcry from the public as to, ‘There’s too many board members,’ ” said committee Chairwoman Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake. The opinion of the committee, shared since its inaugural July meeting, was that the entire debate has been politically driven... READ MORE

ALPLM panel to convene peace talks

September 18, 2014 - Illinois Times

Members of an advisory board to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library have agreed to sit on a panel designed to explore governance issues that erupted last spring when the board’s chairman pushed legislation to divorce the institution from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Steven Beckett, a University Illinois law professor who chairs the advisory board, had blasted the IHPA’s proposal for an ad hoc panel to discuss governance. He says that he still wants the ALPLM to become a stand-alone agency, but not everyone on his board agrees. “I have a divided board that wants to keep an open mind,” Beckett said. “I can’t represent to you that it’s peace and harmony. I can represent that we’ll work with IHPA people on ideas and suggestions on how governance can be improved.” Two advisory board members... READ MORE

Critic dubs Metra’s $1.3M tab for Clifford exit ‘indefensible’

September 4, 2014 - Politics Early & Often

Metra’s total tab to bid adieu to former CEO Alex Clifford and deal with the fallout was $1.3 million — just over half of that for outside lawyers and crisis consulting, officials revealed Thursday. One critic called the ultimate tab “indefensible,” but new Metra Board Chairman Martin Oberman said the suburban commuter rail agency has since taken steps to avoid a repeat of the messy episode. The Metra board’s June 21, 2013 decision to pay Clifford up to $871,000 to resign with eight months left on his contract ignited a firestorm of criticism. The fine print showed the golden handshake included retroactive as well as future raises over as long as a 26-month period. Afterwards, six board members... READ MORE

House Republicans blast Quinn's new insurance tax

September 4, 2014 - Crain's Chicago Business

Complaining they were “misled,” Illinois House Republicans are asking Gov. Pat Quinn not to enforce a significant new business tax they helped create a few months ago."There's anger,” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said in an interview. “People are upset.” he co-chaired earlier this year on business tax reform issues. “It's going to be very difficult to trust the administration in the future when they seek a technical change.” Spokesmen for the Department of Insurance and the governor did not have an immediate... READ MORE

DNR: Cheaper hunting, fishing licenses unavailable until Oct. 1, says refund will be offered

August 27, 2014 - Northwest Herald

Chuck Lemker of Crystal Lake was looking forward to purchasing hunting and fishing licenses at a reduced price this month. He should have been able to starting Aug. 1 when Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 4329, which allows Illinois' senior residents to obtain hunting and fishing licenses at a reduced cost of $1, and various stamps for free. Much to the 81-year-old's dismay, though, the reduced fee was not available when he tried a couple days after Aug. 1 to purchase a license online. “The bottom line is although the bill was signed by the governor Aug. 1, we still don't have an effective law,” Lemker said Tuesday. Although the law is in effect, the system is not yet ready, according to the Department of Natural Resources. “Changes to the system started back in late-April, early-May as soon as it became clear the bill would be passed,” spokesman Chris Young said. “However, there are an awful lot of systems that had to be reprogrammed and tested. … It's just taking a while. Systems have to be... READ MORE

Metra chair: Firm should temporarily act as chief audit officer

August 25, 2014 - Politics Early & Often

After two unsuccessful candidate searches, the Metra board is expected to hire an experienced public sector auditing firm for up to $330,000 to temporarily assume the new “reform” role of chief audit officer and other tasks. A search by Metra’s human resources department, as well as one by professional search firm Krauthamer & Associates, so far has failed to uncover “the right person” for a job board members feel is crucial to Metra’s reform efforts, Metra Board chairman Martin Oberman said Monday. Of the final round of seven or eight candidates interviewed by board members since April, some turned out to be “not interested;” others did not have the right “credentials” or “seasoning,” Oberman said. “I’ve seen the candidates. They are not bad people. They are just not the right person for the job,” Oberman said. “This is a very senior position. You want them to have respect in the organization. You don’t just hire someone with an accounting degree after their name... READ MORE

A tiny step toward smaller government

August 25, 2014 - Herald Review

Gov. Pat Quinn quietly signed a bill last week that takes a small step toward giving taxpayers a chance to reduce the number of local governments in Illinois. A really small step. Almost too small to notice. Quinn signed House Bill 5785, which gives the most obscure units of local government the power to eliminate themselves. We don't want to diminish the efforts of Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, who has worked tirelessly to trim the state's nearly 7,000 units of local government. With these governmental units banding together and using tax dollars to lobby against their elimination, any step is worth noting. The new law would allow the boards of taxing districts such as cemetery, civic center, port, waste disposal, street lighting, water authority and a few other districts to either consolidate into a neighboring district or have their... READ MORE

Metra chair: Firm should temporarily act as chief audit officer

August 25, 2014 - Chicago Sun-Times

After two unsuccessful candidate searches, the Metra board is expected to hire an experienced public sector auditing firm for up to $330,000 to temporarily assume the new “reform” role of chief audit officer and other tasks. A search by Metra’s human resources department, as well as one by professional search firm Krauthamer & Associates, so far has failed to uncover “the right person” for a job board members feel is crucial to Metra’s reform efforts, Metra Board chairman Martin Oberman said Monday. Of the final round of seven or eight candidates interviewed by board members since April, some turned out to be “not interested;” others did not have the right “credentials” or “seasoning,” Oberman said. “I’ve seen the candidates. They are not bad people. They are just not the right person for the job,” Oberman said. “This is a very senior position. You want them to have respect... READ MORE

Local agencies can consolidate if they choose

August 25, 2014 - My Suburban Life

SPRINGFIELD – A new law makes it easier for local government bodies to consolidate or eliminate themselves. Gov. Quinn signed a bill earlier this month that enables local taxing bodies to join rather than continue operating as separate entities. Before the law was passed, 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. Dan Duffy, R-Barrington, helped State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston sponsor the bill in the Senate. Duffy said this legislation could help reduce the growing cost of government in the Land of Lincoln. “There’s just too many bodies taking money from people,” Duffy said. “This will at least give local entities the opportunity to reduce the tax burden of the residents of the state.” Biss said local control leads... READ MORE

State portal still doesn’t include local gov’t salaries

August 24, 2014 - Northwest Herald

Tryon agreed that CMS should move to add the local government salary data. He agreed with Franks that CMS has a tendency to inflate costs, and said the cost of creating the portal came in far under its initial estimate when lawmakers were advancing Tryon’s bill. “I think a transparent government is what everybody wants. When you look at the investment that every unit of government has made in [information technology] and computer systems, this should be a relatively easy job for anybody to do,” Tryon said. State law already requires local governments to post online the annual salaries of all employees whose total compensation exceeds $75,000. About this series “No More Excuses” is the Northwest Herald’s ongoing series of stories about the public’s right to know in Illinois. What it means State lawmakers... READ MORE

Tuition-Free College?

August 23, 2014 - Alton Daily News

llinois will look at the possibility of allowing students to go to state colleges tuition-free—at least until they graduate. The newly signed legislation will have the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) study “pay it forward” options for attending college. “What that means is to allow students to go to university tuition-free and then pay back after they’ve got a job and take a portion of their salary to pay it back,” State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said. Franks says he is concerned about the cost to the state, which is part of the reason why his legislation called for a study before potentially implementing that kind of program. He expects ISAC to issue its recommendations by the beginning of 2015.... READ MORE

State Agency Breaking The Law, Not Being Disciplined

August 22, 2014 - My Suburban Life

SPRINGFIELD - If you disobey the law, you could get in trouble. But, it's a different story for state agencies. Central Management Services was mandated by law in 2012 to expand a state employee database to include city employees. But, they don't have the money to do it. So, they haven't. "I don't believe not having enough money gives you an excuse not to abide by the law" says Emmanuel Woods, an upset taxpayer. In a statement CMS says, "At the time of this bill's hearing, CMS's preliminary estimate of the upfront cost of implementation was $480,000 and ongoing annual costs were $240,000 after year one." Lawmakers like Representative Jack Franks who sponsored the legislation says money was never mentioned during the drafting of the bill. Resident Amber Francis says she too doesn't have a strong budget, but that doesn't stop her from staying within the law. "If I drive my vehicle without having insurance - if I can afford it or not - I still have to scrape together enough money to be able to be within the law... READ MORE

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