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.







Lawmaker blasts Quinn's Lottery deal—but can it be stopped? Well...

December 10, 2014 - Crain's Chicago Business

A prominent Springfield lawmaker is blasting a deal outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn struck to replace the Illinois Lottery's private manager, saying it makes little sense to fire Northstar Lottery Group and then give its owners "a cherry on the sundae." But Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, concedes he may not be able to do anything about it. And so far, aides to Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner are stopping short of promising action, though they are highly critical. As earlier reported, the Quinn administration announced a settlement yesterday under which Northstar will immediately cease working as the Lottery's manager, but its two major owners, GTech and Scientific Games, are guaranteed to continue lucrative work as lottery vendors on technical matters at least until June 2018. Quinn "still is governor... READ MORE

Gotta change the priorities: Rep Jack Franks on Illinois Watchdog Radio

December 10, 2014 - Illinois Review

From Illlinois' continued payment to connected insiders at the lottery to phony budgets, State Rep Jack Franks talks about fixing Illinois' upside down priorities. Franks was a guest on Illinois Watchdog Radio 12-10-14... READ MORE

Judy Baar Topinka: McHenry County leaders react to death of Illinois comptroller

December 10, 2014 - Northwest Herald

News of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s death was met Wednesday with statewide shock and despair, and the reactions were no different in McHenry County. Related Links From the archives: Judy Baar Topinka, award-winning journalist before being Illinois comptroller Illinois in uncharted waters replacing Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's more colorful moments Judy Baar Topinka: McHenry County leaders react to death of Illinois comptroller Our View: Judy Baar Topinka was devoted to public service in Illinois Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka dies after stroke Topinka, who last month won a second term as the state’s comptroller, died... READ MORE

Illinois Lottery severs ties with private manager

December 9, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

The split between the Illinois Lottery and its private manager, Northstar Lottery Group, is now official after three years of acrimony over lower-than-expected revenues. The termination agreement, signed Tuesday by Gov. Pat Quinn, comes a little more than three months after he directed lottery officials to sever ties with the company after it fell short of promised revenues for the third consecutive year. At the time, the company had posted record profits to the state, but those figures still totaled nearly a half-billion dollars less than what was pledged to cash-strapped Illinois when the company took over the day-to-day operation of the lottery in July 2011.... READ MORE

Marengo, Lake in the Hills surprised by gas station gambling ruling

December 6, 2014 - Northwest Herald

LAKE IN THE HILLS – An Illinois Gaming Board decision that granted a Lake in the Hills gas station permission to use video gaming machines and allow customers to play the electronic slots surprised village officials. fficials were startled to learn that the Gaming Board, in its license approval, considered the gas station – located miles away from the nearest interstate – a truck stop. Marengo officials are also grappling with a proposal from a Shell station that wants to allow customers to consume alcohol on-site. The move would make the gas station eligible for the same video gaming license the state’s gaming authority has awarded to numerous bars and restaurants. “When you think of a truck stop... READ MORE

Our View: No lame-duck session is good news

December 4, 2014 - Northwest Herald

There is good news and bad news regarding state government this week. The bad news, of course, is that our state is still in shambles. The half-hearted pension reform legislators passed is expected to be ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. The unfunded pension liability now stands at $111 billion. There’s another $6 billion remaining in unpaid bills. The good news? It appears there will be no lame-duck session of the Legislature in January. Or as state Rep. Jack Franks put it: “There will be no shenanigans as there have been in the past.” Those past shenanigans include the January 2011 lame-duck session, when tax rates were raised 67 percent and 46 percent on households and businesses, respectively. The increases were billed by Democratic lawmakers as necessary to stabilize the state’s desperate finances... READ MORE

Illinois lawmakers to adjourn without lame-duck session, minimum wage vote

December 2, 2014 - Northwest Herald

The Illinois House will adjourn Wednesday without taking up a minimum wage vote or most other serious legislation until the swearing-in of the new General Assembly and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner. House Speaker Michael Madigan told fellow Democrats on Tuesday that the 98th General Assembly will adjourn with the end of business, state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said. Lawmakers will next reconvene Jan. 14 with the seating of the 99th General Assembly. This also means that there will be no January lame-duck session in which legislation can get rammed through by outgoing lawmakers, including any extension of the 2011 income tax increase set to substantially expire Jan. 1. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown confirmed the news, and said that while Madigan firmly believes in raising the minimum wage, the number of... READ MORE

Schaumburg: Open your wallet for public documents

November 23, 2014 - Northwest Herald

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, is working hard to get the state’s minimum wage increased during this fall’s veto session in Springfield. It’s the least Springfield can do. After all, you are going to need more money to pay for public documents that belong to you after the state Legislature gets its way. Last spring, state government rammed through legislation that sought to limit the public’s access to public documents through Freedom of Information Act requests. House Bill 3796 lets governments identify certain FOIA requests as “voluminous.” Then, the government unit can delay providing information and charge between $20 and $100 for electronic data. Yes, you could pay $100 for information that already belongs to you. Voluminous is defined in the bill as a request that includes more than... READ MORE

Franks: Wait on Lincoln Library decision

November 20, 2014 - Daily Herald

SPRINGFIELD -- The chair of a state committee says lawmakers should wait for an outside study before considering plans to separate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from a state agency. Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks leads the State Government Administration Committee. He says it's "prudent" to wait for the report experts will submit in January. House Speaker Michael Madigan brought back a proposal this month to separate the museum from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The Democrat initially proposed the bill following a clash between leaders of the two organizations. It wasn't called by the Senate. His reintroduced bill remains in committee. Experts commissioned by Franks' committee are studying the issue. Franks says things aren't working but he... READ MORE

Jim Dey: Lincoln's library has own fight on secession

November 20, 2014 - The News-Gazette

President Abraham Lincoln waged a costly civil war to prevent secession. Now, nearly 10 years after a presidential library in his honor was opened in Springfield, supporters of this nation's 16th president are waging their own war of secession. Fearing the eventual demise of this valuable historic and tourist resource, they want to sever the bonds of servitude from the library/museum and free it from tyranny represented by its overseer, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Preservation agency chiefs don't see the issue in the same light. Hence, the ongoing political battle under way in the Illinois General Assembly over the library's future. Will it remain under the control of the preservation agency? Or be freed to operate as an independent organization? "I think wholesale change is necessary," said state Rep. Jack Franks, chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee. "But I don't know what it looks... READ MORE

Franks: Hold off on making agency for ALPLM

November 19, 2014 - The State Journal-Register

The Illinois House apparently will wait for the results of a study panel before deciding whether to make the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a stand-alone state agency. Following a hearing of the House State Government Administration Committee on the issue Wednesday, chairman Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said it would be prudent to wait until the report is delivered in mid-January. “I want to hear from experts. Otherwise we’re guessing,” Franks said. “I want to hear what the best practices are with other states and other institutions and learn from them and create possible library and museum we can. Because, right now, it’s clear it isn’t working as it should... READ MORE

Illinois Lincoln Museum Could 'Secede' From Library

November 18, 2014 - WNIJ

A museum devoted to the president who held the union together could itself secede from the Illinois agency that oversees it. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is one of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency's top attractions. But leaders of the two entities and a supporting foundation have reportedly been at odds--to the point that House Speaker Mike Madigan is proposing to split the museum off on its own. Legislators are scheduled to debate the idea this week, at a committee... READ MORE

From the community: Tax Relief Cannot Wait until Next Year

November 17, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - State Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, released the following statement calling for critical tax relief proposals to be acted upon by the Illinois General Assembly during Veto Session: "When the legislature returns to Springfield this week, the current state of Illinois' economy makes conducting business as usual simply unacceptable. Our state lags well behind in job creation and economic growth, and our long-term fiscal solvency remains in jeopardy. "The results of the election sent a clear message: the people of Illinois are demanding tax relief. The expiration of Governor Quinn's 2011 income tax hike will be a strong boost to taxpayers' bottom lines, but it alone cannot be expected to cure all. To jumpstart the growth our state needs, an overhaul of our antiquated and inequitable tax system is required, and the legislature should not miss the opportunity to begin this process. "In September, I introduced House Bill... READ MORE

Millionaire tax proposal still a long shot in Illinois

November 10, 2014 - Quad-City Times

SPRINGFIELD — A majority of Illinois voters backed a proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot to raise taxes on millionaires but don't look for the wealthy to be pinching their pennies any time soon. In order for such a tax to become law, the Illinois Constitution would have to be changed. And that can't happen for at least two more years. Last Tuesday, about 64 percent of voters backed House Speaker Michael Madigan's nonbinding "millionaire tax" proposal, which would tack a 3 percent income tax surcharge on taxpayers who make more than $1 million. The money raised, estimated to be $1 billion based on the number of households with incomes topping the $1 million mark, would go to help fund public schools. But Tuesday's vote was only... READ MORE

New Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner administration: Lawmakers, experts weigh in

November 8, 2014 - Northwest Herald

When CEOs want things done, their employees leap into action and get them done. It’s not a management philosophy that works when a Republican CEO is elected governor with a General Assembly dominated by the other party. But Springfield watchers and McHenry County’s state representatives said they are confident that Governor-elect Bruce Rauner will work well with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to address the significant hurdles facing Illinois. The bottom line is that both sides are going to have to make deals to move initiatives through, said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale... READ MORE

McHenry County Republicans say new leadership fueled local rout

November 7, 2014 - Northwest Herald

The McHenry County Republican Party shared in the national rout the GOP achieved Tuesday night. After eight years with a small Democratic minority, the new County Board that will be seated Dec. 1 will again revert to all Republican rule after GOP newcomers defeated the 24-member board’s two Democratic incumbents and convincingly thumped two other Democratic challengers. And Bill Prim, the McHenry County sheriff’s candidate who narrowly edged out Undersheriff Andrew Zinke in the March primary, received 60 percent of the vote Tuesday to defeat independent candidate Jim Harrison. Republicans nationally took control of the U.S. Senate, increased their hold on the U.S. House, and gained control of several governor’s offices when most polls expected them to lose a few overall. Besides Bruce Rauner’s win in Illinois over Pat Quinn... READ MORE

Democrats Consider Supermajority in Illinois House

November 6, 2014 - Alton Daily News

When the music stopped on Election Night, only one of the 177 seats in the Illinois General Assembly switched parties. That would be the one held by State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who lost to Neil Anderson. The Democrats will hold 71 of the 118 seats in the House and 39 of the 59 in the Senate. State House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) credits talent and hard work. “I think what you have is a bunch of hard-working people who were able to connect well with their constituents,” she says, “and we also have people working with us who have been-there-done-that; (who) know how to put together a campaign (and) know how to make sure that the vote comes out.” As for that 71-member “supermajority” which, if deployed, could override a governor's veto, all you have to do is look to State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) to give the lie to that concept... READ MORE