Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Félix Ortiz, and Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried today announced that the Assembly intends to pass legislation to enact Lauren's Law which would encourage organ donation in New York State.
"New Yorkers have to wait longer for a transplant than recipients in other states because of the low number of registered donors," said Silver. "It is imperative that we give New Yorkers a greater chance to obtain a life-saving organ donation. Through this bill we hope to increase organ donor enrollment throughout the state to potentially save countless lives."
According to the New York State Organ Donor Network, New York State currently has the lowest Donor Designation Rate in the United States. In total, only 19 percent of eligible donors are currently enrolled in the New York State Organ and Tissue Registry.
The bill (A.10039-B/Ortiz) would require individuals who apply for a New York State Drivers License to complete the organ donor registry section of the application by selecting either "yes" or "skip this question." The legislation is named after Lauren Shields, a heart transplant survivor.
Assemblyman Félix Ortiz, sponsor of the bill, said, "This is a critically important piece of legislation that will raise awareness about the need for organ donations and help to save lives. This measure takes a step in the right direction to address the organ shortage crisis in New York State by encouraging New Yorkers to participate in this important program."
"It's shocking that New York State has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in America," said Gottfried, who is registered with the New York organ donor registry. "The Ortiz-Carlucci bill can be a simple and effective way to get more of us into the organ donor registry and save thousands of lives a year. A big 'thank you' to Lauren Shields for helping lead the way."
Silver and Ortiz noted that the bill would also further ensure that a decedent's religious or moral beliefs are observed when an organ donation is made.