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

 

 

 

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

Special prosecutor requested to look into McHenry County Board IMRF allegations

March 4, 2016 - Northwest Herald

State Rep. Jack Franks officially asked McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi for a special prosecutor to investigate whether County Board members are working the 1,000 hours a year required to qualify for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pensions. The letter, dated March 1 and delivered Friday, questions whether the board members now enrolled in IMRF have come close to the number of hours necessary, as they attested to in signed affidavits at IMRF’s request. Officials with IMRF said earlier this week that they were questioning the board’s numbers, after a tip from a local labor union that members may not be working the required minimum. “We believe that there is enough evidence to show that there is potential criminal... READ MORE

IMRF, Franks Question Legality of McHenry County Board Penisons

February 29, 2016 - Northwest Herald

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is questioning whether McHenry County Board members are working enough hours to justify pensions after they leave office, the Northwest Herald has learned. And a state representative known for tussling with the County Board over various issues in recent years plans to ask that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate. Under state law, McHenry County government employees must work at least 1,000 hours a year – or about 20 hours a week for 50 weeks – to qualify for IMRF benefits. The County Board in 1997 set a higher standard for its employees – the law otherwise sets a 600-hour annual minimum... READ MORE

Rauner's address does little to right 'ship of state'

February 24, 2016 - Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD — As State Rep. Mary Flowers strolled from the House chambers last week after listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address, a reporter asked her reaction to the speech. Her response? A thumbs down. It's the kind of response you'd expect from someone with her mind made up before the first word was spoken. Welcome to Springfield, the land of political entrenchment. The governor tried to set a more conciliatory tone this time. He really did. In fact, here's how the speech began: "I stand before you today with respect for our co-equal branches of government... READ MORE

Column: Listen to voters

February 23, 2016 - Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD – As State Rep. Mary Flowers strolled from the House chambers Wednesday after listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address a reporter asked her reaction to the speech. Her response? A thumbs down. It’s the kind of response you’d expect from someone with her mind made up before the first word was spoken. Welcome to Springfield the land of political entrenchment. The governor tried to set a more conciliatory tone this time. He really did... READ MORE

Family Alliance Faces Financial Strain Due to State Budget Impasse

February 23, 2016 - The Woodstock Independent

Family Alliance Comprehensive Care Service has announced it is facing a financial strain of its own because of the state budget impasse. Family Alliance has continued serving area residents needing adult day care services, memory care and respite services without full reimbursement from the state. The Illinois Department of Aging is covering costs for Family Alliance’s low-income patients who have no assets. However, the state has not reimbursed costs... READ MORE

Editorial: Support Franks' Consolidation Bills

February 23, 2016 - Chicago Tribune

Make your own guess as to how Illinois politicians will resolve their ongoing budget gridlock. Given that legislative Democrats yearn to raise our taxes, and that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is willing to make new revenues part of a deal, none of us will be surprised if we're sending more money to Springfield. Maybe lots more money. Rauner would be asked to sign into law any bill raising taxes. But after this epic battle of the budget, every sentient Illinoisan will realize that Democrats are the prime movers for any revenue hikes. So while Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan don't always turn first to us for advice, we... READ MORE

Lawmaker Calls For Special Session

February 16, 2016 - Alton Daily News

Democratic Representative Jack Franks is standing by his request for the governor to call a special session for this Thursday saying it’s an effort to shore up millions in unbalanced spending per day. Last Thursday on the House floor Franks requested the governor to call a special session. Earlier in the week Governor Bruce Rauner said it wouldn’t work. Republican Representative Tim Butler told WMAY Springfield he’s worried about the additional cost. “My problem with special session is it costs us more money to go into special session,” Butler said. However Franks said what’s happening right now is costing... READ MORE