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.







State lawmakers target state vehicle fleet for cuts

March 22, 2015 - The State Journal-Register

First it was the state's air fleet targeted for cuts. Now, state lawmakers are making another run at cutting the state's fleet of vehicles. A House committee last week approved a bill directing the state to dispose of vehicles that aren't driven much in the course of a year. The legislation stems in part from an audit of the vehicle fleet operated by the Department of Central Management Services. The audit found that nearly 25 percent of the vehicles it examined weren't driven enough in a year to justify the expense of the car. Instead, the audit said it would be less expensive to reimburse workers for using their personal cars in those cases.... READ MORE

Many officials in denial about public records

March 20, 2015 - Sauk Valley Media

Illinois’ many units of government sure seem to be in denial about releasing public records to the public. We make that observation based on the Public Access Bureau’s annual report, released Tuesday by Attorney General Lisa Madigan in conjunction with Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of access to public information. The report states that 4,032 new matters were received by the Public Access Bureau. Of those, 3,704 were requests for review by the public access counselor, made by people who were denied public records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act... READ MORE

Exclusive: Retirement plan blocked for Rockford Park District chief Tim Dimke

March 20, 2015 - Rockford Register Star

Jack Franks, D-Marengo. "Just because there's a loophole that he can exploit doesn't mean that he should." Franks had contacted the IMRF to... READ MORE

Suggestion to Impose Fines on Govt. Agencies

March 15, 2015 - WAND 17

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A lawmaker suggests imposing fines on government agencies that violate open-records laws. Rep. Jack Franks is a Marengo Democrat who sponsored a 2010 law creating a public access counselor in the attorney general's office to referee disputes over what records should be public. He says fining agencies that flout the law could help reduce a backlog of appeals over denied public-records. The Associated Press found that the counselor has 2,800 unresolved appeals on Freedom of Information Act requests out of 15,000 received. Nearly 1,200 are at least two years old... READ MORE

Addressing the College of DuPage’s administrators’ drinking habits

March 13, 2015 - Reboot Illinois

Following revelations of excessive spending by top College of DuPage administrators at an upscale campus restaurant, one of the policy changes under consideration would ban alcohol reimbursements. School officials would need to pay for their own drinks rather than pinning the tab on taxpayers, according to an internal memo obtained by the Chicago Tribune. The potential policy reforms come after a Tribune report revealed COD President Robert Breuder, board trustees... READ MORE

Rauner puts suburban lawmakers on mandate-cutting board

March 13, 2015 - Daily Herald

Gov. Bruce Rauner has named a number of suburban officials to a committee aimed at consolidating some of Illinois' many government agencies and curbing state laws that cost local governments money. The group is led by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, a Wheaton Republican. Rauner has asked local governments to cut their spending in an effort to freeze property taxes for two years. He's also proposed cutting in half what towns and counties get from state income taxes, leading some suburban mayors to say a property tax hike would be inevitable under his plans. Members of the Local Government and Unfunded Mandate Task Force include: Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo, Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington, Democratic state Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora... READ MORE

After Snub, College of DuPage gets threat that lawmakers plan to cut funds

March 12, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

Frustrated by lavish spending and lax financial oversight at the College of DuPage, Illinois lawmakers threatened Thursday to slash funding to the community college after school officials ignored their deadline to agree to a state-run audit... READ MORE

Our View: A step closer to Open Meetings Act reform

March 7, 2015 - Northwest Herald

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down: Thumbs up: To House Bill 175 passing unanimously in the state House and moving to the Senate. State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, and state Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, are spearheading the legislation, which closes a loophole in the Illinois Open Meetings Act and will allow people to report a possible violation of the act within 60 days of its discovery, rather than 60 days from the date of the meeting. Thumbs up: To the Oakwood Hills Power Plant Opposition Group for donating the remaining $10,000 it had earmarked for a presumed legal battle that never happened fighting... READ MORE

Franks: Energy, perseverance and persistence needed now

March 7, 2015 - Northwest Herald

In 2012, I led an effort to reform the structure of government in McHenry County. I proposed then a popularly elected County Board chair would help strengthen the voices of McHenry County taxpayers. Teams of supporters joined me in gathering signatures, sending out letters, planting signs, making phone calls and walking door-to-door in communities throughout our county. Then, on Nov. 4, 2012, the referendum we were fighting to pass failed. We lost. Over the next year, I worked with members of the McHenry County Board to address their concerns about the proposal and a similar question was placed on the 2014 primary ballot. That referendum passed by a large... READ MORE

State Lawmakers Heighten calls for College of DuPage Review

March 6, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

State lawmakers turned up the pressuer for a comprehensive audit of the College of Dupage following a Tribue investigation that uncovered lavish spending in school officials... READ MORE

State rep wants to end break for college employees' kids

March 5, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

An Illinois lawmaker is proposing that the state do away with tuition breaks for children of employees at its public universities. A plan from Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, would phase out the 50 percent tuition waivers over the next four years. New students would not get them next fall. cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. Add a comment 0 Franks, who chairs the State Government Administration Committee, said he wants to amend his current House bill, which would get rid of waivers this year. Doing that wouldn't be fair to current students, he said. Franks said 2,156... READ MORE

Our View: Taking aim at property taxes

March 5, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Two local lawmakers are busy filing bills in Springfield aimed at lowering your property taxes. House Bill 3129, filed by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, imposes the tax cap law on all counties in Illinois, and lowers the maximum annual increase local bodies can collect from 5 percent to 1.75 percent. The McHenry County Board, among other governments, has kept its levies flat in recent years. Other governments haven’t felt the same sense of fiscal restraint or responsibility to overtaxed taxpayers, and take the maximum rate to which they are entitled each year. It’s irresponsible, and it needs to stop... READ MORE

House passes moratorium on new units of government

March 5, 2015 - Illinois News Network

Obamacare hearing - The fate of the Affordable Care Act may be up to two U.S. Supreme Court justices after a hearing in D.C. Wednesday. The case, King v. Burwell, challenges the validity of the health insurance mandate saying the law does not allow subsidized health insurance purchases through the federal government, only through the state governments. Illinois is one of thirty-four states that have opted not to run their own exchange. If the petitioners seeking the high... READ MORE

Jack Franks' plan phases out university employee tuition breaks for kids

March 5, 2015 - Northwest Herald

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker is proposing that the state do away with tuition breaks for children of employees at public universities. A plan from Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, would phase out the 50 percent tuition waivers over the next four years. New students would not get them next fall.... READ MORE

Lawmaker Suggests Eliminating Tuition Waivers For University Employees' Children

March 4, 2015 - WUIS 91.9

urrently, students can get half of their tuition paid for by the state if one of their parents works at a public university. Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat from Marengo, says he wants to make college more affordable for everyone, but higher education budget cuts make the tuition waivers impossible to maintain. "I see the state of Illinois pretty much on a lifeboat, and we're sinking and we can't afford to do everything," he said. "I wish we could, but this is not the time that we can continue to have these type of perks... READ MORE

Hard times make half-price tuition hard to accept

February 28, 2015 - The Daily Journal

In the best of economic times, it would be easier to accept the long-held tradition of allowing children of state university employees to attend these schools at half price. But these are hardly the best of times, and that's why a proposal by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, to eliminate the practice has merits. Franks admits he does not gain pleasure by sponsoring House Bill 403. In a story produced by Illinois News Network, Franks had this to say: "I don't relish in doing it, but the fact is the governor's latest proposal for the budget cuts higher... READ MORE

McHenry County lawmakers file bills aimed at property tax relief

February 26, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Emboldened by a new governor prioritizing property tax relief, several local lawmakers are filing bills aimed at curtailing how much local governments can collect. House Bill 3129, filed by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, imposes the tax cap law on all counties in Illinois, and lowers the maximum annual increase local bodies can collect from 5 percent to 1.75 percent. House Bill 177, filed by Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, imposes a freeze on levy increases altogether until fiscal 2019. And House Bill 3130... READ MORE

Bill would end tuition perk for university employees’ kids

February 24, 2015 - Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — A state legislator says the state can no longer afford half-price tuition for the children of state university employees. The employees, perhaps naturally, disagree. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said it was only with reluctance he sponsored House Bill 403, which would end half-price tuition for the children of university employees with seven years or more service. “It doesn’t make me happy,” he said. “I don’t relish in doing it, but the fact is the governor’s latest proposal for the budget cuts higher education by over $300 million, and this perk — which has been around for a while, granted — costs the universities almost $10 million a year,” Franks said... READ MORE

Theft at College of DuPage's WDCB went longer, cost more, controller says

February 21, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

An alleged theft at the College of Dupage radio station went on for more than twice as long - and twice as costly - as prosecutors charged this week, a high-ranking administrator at the college has alleged. Lynn Sapyta, the community college's controller, said phony invoices were submitted for 16 years and the college... READ MORE

Don’t leave map drawing to those who will benefit

February 20, 2015 - Morris Daily Herald

The turmoil has partially subsided over a Chicago Little League team whose national title was taken away by Little League International. One aspect of the story still resonates with reform-minded Illinoisans. The adults who operated the Jackie Robinson West team apparently wanted to give the boys, ages 11 to 13, the best opportunity to win. The team operates within established geographic boundaries, but certain talented players lived outside those boundaries. The solution? Little League International alleges some adult team leaders quietly redrew the boundary map to bring in those top players. The result gave the team ineligible players who helped it win a championship. That championship has been taken from the players, who are paying the price for the actions of adults... READ MORE

Gov. Bruce Rauner proposes 'honest' Illinois budget, billions in cuts

February 18, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner submitted a 2016 budget heavy with cuts that drew almost immediate fire from the Democratic-controlled General Assembly. Calling his plan “our last, best chance to get our house in order,” Rauner used his first-ever budget address Wednesday to make the case for cutting back on Medicaid, shared revenue with local governments and higher education, and future public-employee pension benefits, without raising taxes. He called the budget for the 2016 fiscal year starting July 1 an “honest” one that eliminates a projected $6.2 billion shortfall and ends what he called “the irresponsible and reckless practices of the past.” “It will take time to restore Illinois to fiscal health. Now is the time to start on a responsible path after years of financial recklessness," Rauner said. "Instilling discipline is not easy, saying ‘no’ is not popular – but it is now or never for Illinois... READ MORE

New legislation calls for audit of the College of DuPage’s finances… at its own expense

February 18, 2015 - Reboot Illinois

An Illinois House Resolution introduced by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, seeks a performance audit of the College of DuPage’s finances and its board of trustees following last month’s approval of a controversial severance package for the community college’s president, Robert Breuder. State lawmakers have since filed numerous bills and resolutions aimed to prevent these kinds of lucrative, taxpayer-funded deals from happening again, and Franks’ HR162 is the latest piece of legislation in the continuing political onslaught against COD. Under Franks’ proposal, the Office of the Auditor General would examine COD’s spending and sources of revenue dating back to fiscal year 2011; the board of trustees’ compliance with its own policies and state laws also would be put under the microscope. More importantly, the school would be... READ MORE