Bicyclists Get Special “Share the Road” License Plate, “Choose Life” License Plate Supporters Get Shaft from Jack Franks

"Share the Road" license plate enacted into law this year.

Why not?

I saw one from another state on our vacation in June, but the photo didn’t turn out.

July 5th, Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill to allow “Share the Road” license plates.

A minimum of 1,000 would have to be sold, according to “Roger Kremer Cycling.”

Extra money raised would go to education about safety.

The same day, Quinn signed a bill making it illegal for motorists to crowd bicyclists.

There was some blow back from commenters under the Des Moines, Iowa, TV station WHO story.

Green Party McHenry County Sheriff's candidate Gus Phil Philpott talks with gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney as he walks his bike from the Metra train door to the Woodstock station.

Here’s one of five comments:

“Yes. The bike riders need education. We used to have courses in safety in the schools. I nearly hit a woman twice when she swerved unexpectedly. She blew two stop signs and a red light.”

Since Green Party gubernatorial candidate is touring the state by bike, it is not a coincidence that Quinn would be emphasizing his connection to that mode of transportation.

Undercutting the opposition, especially one who will probably draw more votes that would otherwise go to Democrat Quinn than Republican Bill Brady, is a time honored political tactic.

Significant locally is the chairman of the House committee that approved the bill is McHenry County’s Jack Franks.

One of Franks’ big mistakes has been to cater to the pro-abortion crowd on the issue of whether Pro-Lifers and other supporters of adoption should be able to raise money from the sale of Choose Life license plates, not to mention express their opinion.

Pro-Choice residents of McHenry County do not fill pages of the Northwest and Daily Herald once a year.  Pro-Life constituents do that to commemorate the day the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton (the “health of the mother” case) were handed down.

In the early part of his career, especially when he was running against appointed incumbent Mike Brown, while always labeling himself “Pro-Choice,” Franks’ voting record and stands on abortion questions could arguably be said to be more conservative than his opponent’s.

He resisted the extreme positions that pro-abortion Personal PAC insists that candidates embrace before getting its endorsement.

This Choose Life license plate is from Ohio. I believe I found it in the parking lot of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. You will note that the license plate holder indicates its owner is a nurse.

And Personal PAC did not endorse Franks in his early years.

Some fervent Pro-Lifers, including Paul Caprio’s Family PAC, actively supported him and helped finance his campaigns with money and in-kind contributions.

As Franks’ ambitions went statewide, however, he figured out that alienating this effective campaign organization was not a bright idea for a Democrat.

For the past two election cycles, Franks has been endorsed by this group, which can be accurately be labeled as “pro-abortion.”  (See “Jack Franks Goes to the Dark Side.”)

Perhaps in response to pressure from Personal PAC, Planned Parenthood, and other supporters of abortion, Committee Chairman Franks stuck the  bill to approve Choose Life license plates in one of his subcommittees.

When he finally allowed the bill to get a hearing, it wasn’t during prime time.

And, needless to say, the bill did not make it out onto the House floor so all legislators could vote it up or down.

And, Franks deserves the credit (if you are Pro-Choice) or the blame (if you are Pro-Life) for killing the bill.

“Franks just lied about it,” said Illinois Choose Life President Jim Finnegan of Barrington, commenting on the process. “He lied about it from the beginning.”

Now, to cover his rear end, Franks is voting against license plate bills like the bike safety one.

So did Republican Mark Beaubien. Mike Tryon supported it, as did State Sen. Pam Althoff. State Senator Dan Duffy did not vote, joining 18 other senators.

Virginia has allowed both "Choose Life" and "Trust Women Respect Choice" license plates. Illinois could, too.

But, significantly, Franks did allow the bike safety license plate bill a full committee hearing—a privilege he will not allow to adoption supporters trying to advance Choose Life license plates.

Franks didn’t have to do that.

He sets the agenda for his committee.  He decides which posted bills to call.  He doesn’t have to call a bill, if he wants to kill it.

Although I only got to be a committee chairman for four of my sixteen years in the Illinois House, I know about that discretionary power.

Voting against new license plates is nothing more than a protective shield that pro-abortion legislators use to explain why they will not support authorizing a Choose Life license plate.

This "Safe Haven" sign is outside Crystal Lake City Hall.

(More about the legislative history of the Choose Life license plate fight here by Jill Stanek and by Fran Eaton here.)

Opposing all new special license plates is like the support Pro-Choice legislators gave to allowing mothers to being newborn babies to police and fire departments without any penalty.

It’s an initiative that provides protective coloring to politicians who are Pro-Choice among constituents who are Pro-Life.

Such political actors also support making adoption easier…except in the case of supporting the selling of Choose Life license plates, part of the proceeds from which would support adoption agencies.

Pro-Choice politicians and abortion providers know that the number of people who would display Choose Life license plates dwarf the number who would buy Pro-Choice plates.

The last time I looked 20,000 people had said they would buy and display Choose Life license plates.

It is not a coincidence that Franks has been endorsed by the most fervently pro-abortion political action committee in the country—Personal PAC—for the last two election cycles.  He has delivered the goods by killing Choose Life license plates.

If should be noted that Franks has a Republican opponent for the first time since 2004.  McHenry Grade School and Library District Board member John O’Neill is running against him this year.


Bicyclists Get Special “Share the Road” License Plate, “Choose Life” License Plate Supporters Get Shaft from Jack Franks — 5 Comments

  1. Cal, you covered all the bases very well on the past history of the Choose Life Adoption Aid specialty license plate. The biggest lie that Jack Franks told was that he suddenly woke up one morning to decide that there were too many specialty plates on the highways of Illinois. That he had always been against speciality plates, and nothing but a coincidence that it occured at the exact moment the CL plate was being introduced here in Illinois. Sure Jack, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to see you.

    The least we should expect is integrety when discussing issues we disagree with. It is common knowledge that Franks has taken every dollar that abortion on demand organizations offer him for his support. As our mothers used to warn us, “you will be known by the people you associate with.”

    The Choose Life plate is on the highways of 25 states with an additional 15 states in the process of offering it. We have no problem with the abortion on demand group offering their own license plate once they have met the states criteria for same.

    Over 30,000 people have signed our petition asking for the plate to be offered in Illinois. Many with touching emotional comment on why the plate would mean so much to them in fullfilling a lifelong dream of completing their family through adoption.

    We are certain that our Choose Life plate will be the #1 selling specialty plate in Illinois within five years.Three dollars of the twentyfive dollar charge for the plate goes to the state, with the remaining going to adoption aid organizations. A win win for all it would seem except Jack Franks. For him to deny this to a constituency that overwhelming wants its availability is almost criminal on his part. That is until you find out whose cause he really is serving on this one, and it is not those supporting adoption that is for certain.

    James Finnegan
    President Choose Life Illinois

    Web site for more information

  2. Great piece, Cal. Thanks for reviewing this issue and reminding us all how Jack Franks has worked to play both sides of the fence on this issue.
    We’ll share with our Illinois readers.

  3. I know this topic is very serious and not an excuse for humor. But Jack Franks sort of reminds me about a legend I once heard regarding the late State Rep. Helmut W. Stolle (R-Chicago) who served from 1963 to 1969. According to the legend, Stolle some years even before Roe v. Wade was once asked his position on abortion. Stolle replied, “If someone can draft a bill that’s acceptable to both sides, I’ll be happy to vote for it.” Do you suppose that Jack Franks is trying to channel the spirit of Helmut Stolle?

  4. I am honored to count Cal Skinner as a friend for more more than forty years, Paul Caprio a friend of more than thirty years and Jack Franks, although I’ve only met twice is the father of my father’s bets friend’s great grandson. In Yiddish the word might be meshpucheh or makitonum to describe the relationship.

    I am not single issue or two issue person, and most of my positions at least mildly offend everyone. On the issue of “life” I call myself a pro-choice pro lifer. That is not a copout. I think its where more than 85% of the Amerian people stand. For example, I would oppose any law to require a woman to have to have an abortion. And I support every woman’s right to choose during the first and most of the second trimester. I oppose partial birth abortions unless the fetus sould be born with a very serious mental or physical defect or to protect the loife of the mother from a physical standpoint. This is not exactly exact, but I see no reason for the government to take positions on these issues.

    Illinois is facing a thirteen billion dollar deficit. This is an issue for the government, and it won’t be solved by diversionary tactics on what appears on any license plate. The principal reasons for license plates is to be able to identify a vehcile in the event of an accident or crime, so the larger the size of the alpha numerical portion the better.

    So called vanity plates or special interest plates are secondary.

    I also favor birth control pills and morning after pills. Married adults have a right to plan their families, and even though eah of us was a one time possible abortion, had our parents decided not to have us, we wouldn’t be any the worse for it, as we would not know about it.

    Obviously, I’m very glad that I was a wanted child as is our 35 year old son.
    I fully understand that there are those who willtake issue with me from both the right and the left. That is the great strength of our First Amendment.

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