What’s Jack Franks Up To in Springfield? Substance & 48 (!) Shell Bills

Jack Franks make the turn on the run at a Settlers Days Parade.

Jack Franks make the turn on the run at a Settlers Days Parade.

Thought I’d take a look at what McHenry County’s Democratic Party State Representative Jack Franks has introduced in Springfield.

There are two Constitutional Amendments:

  • Abolish the Office of Lt. Governor.  (Dave McSweeney introduced it and got it through the House last year and, Franks is a sponsor of McSweeney’s measure this year, but he introduced one of his own.)
  • Merge the Offices of Comptroller and Treasurer

Given his success in getting publicity in the College of DuPage Presidential Golden Parachute, Franks has introduced House Resolution 162 to require the Auditor General to audit the junior college.

There are dozens more:

House Bill 156  would exclude Medicare premiums from the income calculation for Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption

House Bill 157 gives disabled people double the current 5% income tax credit.

House Bill 158 would authorize counties to establish and operate a homestead protection program under which the county treasurer may make payments from the indemnity fund to pay the delinquent taxes.  The county would end up with a lien against the home.

House Bill 159 increases property tax exemptions for disabled veterans ranging from $2,500 to the whole tax bill, depending on the degree of disability.

House Bill 171 reduces the fee for a Limited Liability Company Act by 50% for Veteran-owned enterprises.

House Bill 228 prohibits the creation of new units of government four years from now, except for consolidations.

House Bill 229 expands to other counties the powers to consolidate local governments that DuPage County now has.

Gas price 3.99 on pump 4.07 on sign

When gas prices were a lot higher.

House Bill 230 exempts motor fuel from sales taxes.

House bill 243 provides that tax bills shall contain a list of each Tax Increment Financing district in which the property is located and the percentage of the taxpayer’s total payment that goes to the TIF district.

House Bill 257 proposes a 2016 Term Limits for Legislative Leaders advisory referendum.

House Bill 297 increases the state earned income tax credit by 50%.

House Bill 402 creates an income tax deduction for student loan payments.

House Bill 403 repeals 50% tuition waivers for children of State university employees who have been employed by any one or by more than one State university for at least 7 years.

House Bill 440 is one that has no substantive content, but amends the Revenue Act.  This is commonly called a “shell bill.”

House Bill 441 is another shell bill amending the Public Accountability and Performance System Act.

MCC Closed meeting Shah Center

The McHenry County College Board went into secret session to discuss future plans and goodness knows what else.

House Bill 442 is a third shell bill amending the State Auditing Act.

House Bill 443 is a fourth shell bill amending the State Records Act.

House Bill 444 is a fifth shell bill amending the Open Meetings Act.

House Bill 445 is a sixth shell bill amending the Public Labor Relations Act.

House Bill 446 is a seventh shell bill amending the Regulatory Sunset Act.

House Bill 447 is an eighth shell bill amending the Administrative Procedure Act.

House Bill 448 is a ninth shell bill amending the Civil Administrative Code.

House Bill 449 is a tenth shell bill amending the Governor Succession Act (just in case the Constitutional Amendment abolishing the office passes).

House Bill 450 is an eleventh shell bill amending the Attorney General Act (just in case the Constitutional Amendment abolishing the office passes).

House bill 451 is a twelfth shell bill amending the Lobbyist Registration Act.

House Bill 452 is a thirteenth shell bill amending the General Assembly Organization Act.

House Bill 453 is a fourteenth shell bill amending the Rivers, Lakes, and Streams Act.

House Bill 454 is a fifteenth shell bill amending the Highway Code.

House Bill 455 is a sixteenth shell bill amending the Railroad Incorporation Act.

House Bill 456 is a seventeenth shell bill amending the Unified Code of Corrections.

House Bill 457 is an eighteenth shell bill amending the Criminal Code.

House bill 458 is a nineteenth shell bill amending the Supreme Court Act.

House Bill 459 is a twentieth shell bill amending the Court Reporters Act.

House Bill 460 is a twenty-first shell bill amending the Code of Civil Procedure.

House bill 461 is a twenty-second shell bill amending the Alienation of Affections Act.

House Bill 462 is a twenty-third shell bill amending Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

House Bill 463 is a twenty-fourth shell bill amending the Financial Reporting Standards Board Act.

House Bill 464 is a twenty-fifth shell bill amending the Alternative Health Care Delivery Act.

House Bill 465 is a twenty-sixth shell bill amending the Insurance Code.

House Bill 466 is a twenty-seventh shell bill amending the Code of Criminal Procedure.

House Bill 467 is a twenty-eighth shell bill amending the State Housing Act.

Woodstock North High School

Woodstock North High School

House Bill 468 is a twenty-ninth shell bill amending the School Code.

House Bill 469 is a thirtieth shell bill amending the College Campus Press Act.

House Bill 470 is a thirty-first shell bill amending the Educational Labor Relations Act.

House Bill 471 is a thirty-second shell bill amending the Election Code.

House Bill 472 is a thirty-third shell bill amending the Election Code.

House Bill 473 is a thirty-fourth shell bill amending the Income Tax Act.

House Bill 474 is a thirty-fifth shell bill amending the Income Tax Act.

House Bill 475 is a thirty-sixth shell bill amending the Income Tax Act.

House Bill 476 is a thirty-seventh shell bill amending the Income Tax Act.

House Bill 477 is a thirty-eighth shell bill amending the Banking Act.  (Franks is a banker.)

House Bill 478 is a thirty-ninth shell bill amending the Municipal Code.

Election Judges in Algonquin Township Precinct 7 sort ballots.  Only one electronic vote was cast there and in Algonquin 19, which shares the polling place.

Election Judges in Algonquin Township Precinct 7 sort ballots. Only one electronic vote was cast there (in Algonquin 19 which shares the polling place).

House Bill 479 is a fortieth shell bill amending the Airport Authorities Act.

House Bill 480 is a forty-first shell bill amending the Election Code. (Makes a technical change in a Section concerning the nomination of candidates for the General Assembly.)

House Bill 1311 establishes a a program to provide loans to 400 eligible students per academic year to attend a public community college or university, to be repaid, in part, according to the income of the student borrowers.

House Bill 1334 subtracts from a retired employee’s salary the amount of his or her pension if he or she is employed in the same agency after retirement or in an agency governed by the Illinois Pension Code.  Excludes the first $2,000 per month of retirement annuity payments.

House Bill 1433 requires the posting of tax information on the Revenue Department’s web site of companies that receive state tax credits.

House Bill 1434 provides that an elected official may not hold more than one public office at a time.

House Bill 1435 provides that the waiver of the applicant’s privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under Federal and State laws only applies to records sought in connection with determining whether the applicant qualifies for a license to carry a concealed firearm under the Act.

House Bill 1436 requires that school emergency and crisis response plan be revised after each remodeling.

House Bill 1437 requires that a statement of the anticipated impact on the racial and ethnic composition of the criminal offender population be prepared for each criminal bill.

Even those with paid mortgages continue to have to pay taxes to live in their homes.

Seniors can defer their taxes until after death.

House Bill 1438 is a forty-second shell bill amending the Securities Law.

House Bill 1439 lowers the interest rate for seniors deferring the payment of their property taxes.

House Bill 1440 provides that any person convicted of an infamous crime or public corruption crime shall be prohibited from holding any political office.

House Bill 1441 amends the Premises Liability Act. Provides that whether a condition is open and obvious may be considered by the trier of fact only in assessing the degree of comparative fault, if any, and shall not be considered with respect to any other issue of law or fact, including duty.  [Would some attorney please explain this bill in English?]

House Bill 1559 is a new redistricting idea.  How new?  Read this:

No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other person or group, or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group. In establishing districts, no use shall be made of any of the following data:

  1. addresses of incumbent legislators or members of Congress;
  2. political affiliations of registered voters;
  3. previous election results; or
  4. demographic information, other than population head counts, except as required by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

The State Board of Elections would draw up to three maps for the legislature’s approval. If that doesn’t work the four legislative leaders would appoint one apiece who would then by a majority of at least three pick a tie-breaker.

House Bill 2693 is the forty-third shell bill. It amends the Labor Dispute Act.

House Bill 2694 is the forty-forth shell bill amending the Employment of Strikebreakers Act.

House Bill 2695 is the forty-fifth shell bill.  It amends the Employee Arbitration Act.

House Bill 2696 is the forty-sixth shell bill.  It amends the Uniform Commercial Code.

House Bill 2697 is the forty-seventh shell bill.  It amends the Business Corporation Act.

House Bill 2698 increases penalties on employees who don’t pay wages.

House Bill 2699 is the forth-eighth shell bill amending the Environmental Protection Act.

House Bill 2700 would allow Credit Union Boards to hold a savings promotion raffle.

House Bill 3129 extends the Property Tax Cap to all units of government in the State.  (Now, Home Rule Units like Chicago and Crystal Lake are exempted.)  Starting with taxes collected in 2021, the extension limitation would be 1.75% or the rate of increase approved by voters.  And starting with taxes collected in 2017, one’s assessed value would be the average of the last three assessments.

There is no chance at all the Harvard Fire Protection District can get 15% more in property taxes next year than it did this year, but that is the request.

There is no chance at all the Harvard Fire Protection District can get 15% more in property taxes next year than it did this year, but that is the request.

House Bill 3130 amends the Property Tax Cap so that when a district’s total assessed valuation  is less than the total equalized assessed value for the previous levy year, then the extension limitation is (a) 0% or (b) the rate of increase approved by voters.  Now the limit is in the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

House Bill 3131 would require tax districts whose total tax rate exceeds that of the year before that the governmental entity must hold a Truth in Taxation hearing.  Now such hearings, attended by very few, must be held if the increase in the amount of taxes requested exceeds 5%.  [This law as passed after the 1978 Thompson Proposition asking if such hearings should be required. It mainly benefits newspapers when big black-boxed ads are run.]

House Bill 3136 creates a law for autonomous vehicles.

House Bill 3214 provides for a study of state funds and whether they should be continued or consolidated.

House Bill 3334 provides that voters may petition for a referendum to elect the board members of the Marengo Rescue Squad District.  Trustees are now appointed by the County Board.

House Bill 3335 provides that a person who is 62 or older at the time of a first violation for parking a vehicle with expired registration shall be subject to fines, penalties, fees, and costs not to exceed $25.  (In McHenry County, such a violation can cost a couple of hundred dollars once all of the fees are added.)

House Bill 3336 exempts data centers from sales and electric taxes.

House Bill 3377 allows for the recall of community college board members.  Such a petition would have to be signed by an average of 1/3 of number of votes for winning trustees in the previous election.  There would be 90 days for signature collection.  Such petitions could not be filed until the trustee sought to be ousted had served at least six months, but the referendum could not be held until the next time board members would be up for election.  Replacement would be occur at the same election through the election of someone else who had so petitioned and won the election.

Red Light Camera sign in ChiHouse Bill 3432 allows voters of counties and municipalities to hold referendums to get rid of red light traffic cameras.  5% of those who voted in the previous election are required to sign petitions to trigger the referendums.  [Franks apparently has changed his mind on red light cameras.  In 2006, he co-sponsored the bill to allow them.  See Tribune article dated 12-18-9.]

House Bill 3760 Provides that each unit of local government shall report the annual value of any tax incentive granted by the unit of local government as lost revenue on the annual financial report for that unit of local government.  “Incentives” are defined as property tax abatements granted or any tax increment financing affecting a unit of local government.

House Bill 4032 creates a new act entitled the Health Care Cost Estimate Act.  Prior to an admission, procedure, or service and upon request by a patient or prospective patient, a health care provider shall, within 2 working days, disclose the allowed amount or charge of the admission, procedure, or service.  Also requires companies providing health benefits to provide the estimated or maximum allowed amount or charge for a proposed admission, procedure, or service and the estimated amount the insured will be responsible to pay upon phone or internet request.


What’s Jack Franks Up To in Springfield? Substance & 48 (!) Shell Bills — 14 Comments

  1. How about introducing a bill to prohibit “shell” bills?

    That’s how we ended up with this (which passed through a committee chaired by Jack Franks):


    Jack’s bill to eliminate the sales tax on motor fuels is a repeat of a bill he introduced in the last session.

    While I favor lowering taxes wherever possible, this bill will blow a $750 million hole in an already unbalanced budget with no provision for making up the revenue anywhere else. It’s a non-starter.


    The time for gimmicks is over.

    This isn’t why he was sent to Springfield.

    Illinois’ problems are systemic, and if Jack Franks fancies himself a bipartisan broker of true reform, it’s time to get on with it.

  2. Health Care Cost Estimate Act is excellent idea.

    While it would be preferable to initiate action promoting healthcare price transparency through market forces competition, such competition has been effectively squelched in the last decade.

    If regulation is the only option available, we must take it. Once price transparency is a mandate, there may be a relaxation of the terror encouraged amongst providers (by third party payers) which hinders price publication.

    When prices are published, competition can begin.

    The healthcare transaction can recover a more healthy ratio of influence directly between buyer and seller, rather than between third-party-gatekeeper-and-seller, and third-party-gatekeeper-and-buyer without other legal options.

  3. All of this is craziness because none of it will matter since no one has introduced any bills to stop poisoning the water and the air.

  4. Something needs to be done about shell bills.

    Shell bills intentionally thwart the democratic process.

  5. To put the definition in a short version is, A Shell Bill is a legislative gimmick.

    These shell bills are not written in a final form due to time restraints.

    They then can be amended at any time to say what the bill really means.

  6. It’s also like OBama Care, you can keep your own insurance and then find out later the real truth.

  7. Hey Jack a couple of years ago per my request you introduced a bill that Senior citizens over the age of 75 could hunt and fish for free in the state of Illinois…..

    this bill made a big splash in the Newspapers you grabbed some headlins…………

    but ……..that was then….where is it now…????????

    I am 79 do I need a new license this year?

  8. Franks himself is a shell ……….

    he’s carefully fabricated a fake persona at great variance with his real, vicious and gimlet-eyed personality.

    As an octogenarian, I agree w/ ‘bill matteson’ …..

    all of Franks’ “bills” are manufactured for press-release ‘splashes’ ………

    You’d do well Bill, to not put any hopes on Franks ….. unless it’s the hope that he’ll do his best to feather his own foul nest!

  9. The “shell bill” is nothing more than a “shell game” keeping the taxpayers from knowing what is hidden under the shell as they shuffle ’em up and spring us with the unconstitutional, taxable, freedom-killing SURPRISE!

    Give your most loyal constituents a carrot on a stick then with their trust & loyalty and the non-obstruction of uninformed they advance their game piece.

    Heads they win, tails we lose.

  10. Well McHenry County you can suck it up now!

    We had a chance to get Jack out and put a man who would do a better job in.

    It is time to end the crap and do the hard cold work in Springfield that needs to be done and it will take a real citizen like Steve Reick NOT a professional politician.

  11. Farmer is right. McHenry County blew it big time with not electing Steve Reick.

  12. I didnt realize Franks had this reputation with the Shell Bills nonsense, and apparently is using them for headlines and re election ala “see what I’m working on for you folks” stuff and nothing ever really gets done???.

    I will offer personal experience and kudos to his office though—they helped process my Conceal Carry Licence Request, no charge, and even though they said their published “help” to citizens is really for FOIDs, they were willing to help me through the process given I didnt have the computer resources at the time to do it myself.

    For that I commend him, that a real need for a citizen was done and I live just outside his district, and in McSweeney’s but whose office apparently doesnt provide this..they also were very gracious to a woman who came in crying histerically while I was there, who had just lost her son and was treated rudely by the Social Security Office—they were very helpful to her directly, made phone calls on her behalf, gave her additional information, and calmed her down, they could’ve just as easily shunned her, as the Social Security Office down the road had just done, especially since her request was Federal not State level….his office and staff deserve high praise for what I personally have experienced and witnessed first hand—the shell bill nonsense?—Jack, what say you?

    I sure got the impression they are committed to helping folks in the area out,maybe use that same effort in actualy moving sponsored bills forward and guess you have a winner.

    Dont do that?—consider another more helpful person for Springfield business folks.

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