The state Legislature has reached a deal to encourage organ donation by expanding the donor options on driver’s license application.
The new measure would require individuals who apply for a driver’s license to complete the organ donor registry section of the application by selecting either “yes” or “skip this question.” Currently, filling out the section is optional.
The bill is named after 12-year-old Lauren Shields of Stony Point, Rockland County, who received a heart transplant in 2009.
“It is imperative that we give New Yorkers a greater chance to obtain a life-saving organ donation,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said in a statement. “Through this bill we hope to increase organ donor enrollment throughout the state to potentially save countless lives.”
The state Senate passed a version of the bill last year, and Lauren Shields attended the proceedings. But the Assembly had concerns with the measure, which would have required applicants to either check “yes” or “not at this time.”
Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, said he’s confident that the new bill would pass the Senate because of the support in the Assembly. The legislative session ends Thursday.
Carlucci, the bill’s sponsor, said the wording change gives people enough of an opportunity to be an organ donor or to choose not to.
“We’re all happy with it. The advocates are happy with it, and we’re hopeful that we get it passed by the end of the week,” he said.