Legislature Approves Stronger Organ Donor Registry

June 23, 2006

The State Legislature today gave final legislative approval to a measure (A.11883/S.8379) that is aimed at making New York State’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry a stronger force for increasing the numbers of New Yorkers who can benefit from organ donation.

If the legislation is signed by the Governor, New Yorkers will be able to use the state registry to give their legal consent to donate their organs and/or tissues upon their death. Currently, New York State residents can use the registry – via the Internet or space provided on driver’s license applications and renewals – to indicate their intent to donate their organs but not their consent. The change was sought by the New York Alliance for Donation.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly, said, “For the more than a hundred thousand New Yorkers awaiting organ and tissue transplants, their futures and their very lives depend on our finding ways to increase rates of organ donation. The organ and tissue donor registry, which was written into state law two years ago by way of legislation I sponsored, has proven its worth. Taking it a step further and allowing people to use the registry to record their legal consent for organ donation will give new hope to those who are desperately waiting.”

Under the terms of the legislation, the State Commissioner of Health would be required to contact all those who are currently on the registry and explain the new law, giving them the opportunity to change their registration. If and when the new law goes into effect, individuals who register will be able to specify which organs and tissues they want to donate and whether they can be used for transplantation, research or both.

The measure was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Joseph Robach.