(Albany, NY) The New York State Senate passed Lauren’s Law (S3885a), sponsored by Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) that will prohibit a driver’s license application from being processed unless the organ donation section is filled out. Applicants would have to check a box stating “yes,” or “not at this time.” There currently is an organ donation section on the application, but it is not required to be filled out.
This change would increase organ donation in New York, which ranked last in the country for the number of new donors.
Passing Lauren’s Law today has very special meaning to heart transplant survivor Lauren Shields, the namesake of the bill as it is also her eleventh birthday.
“Today is an extra special day for me. Without my donor angel, I would not be here today to celebrate my 11th birthday or the passing of Lauren’s Law,” Lauren Shields said. “I want to thank Senator Carlucci for working so hard to save other people’s lives who are waiting for a life saving organ just like I was. I also want to thank Senator Skelos and all of the other Senators who voted today to save lives. Last week I had a special meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and I hope very soon to be celebrating with him and Assemblyman Ortiz when it passes the Assembly.”
“New York State took a giant leap in encouraging life saving organ donation,” Senator Carlucci said. “Today is a very special day for Lauren, not just because this legislation that is so personal for her passed the Senate, but because she turns 11 years old today. My gratitude goes out to Lauren Shields and her family for doing so much to bring attention to this very important issue, and I wish her many more birthdays to come. I am looking forward to Lauren’s Law being passed by the Assembly and signed into law by the Governor.”
In New York, more than 9,300 people are on the list for organ transplants. However, the state has ranked last in the number of organ donors signed up through their DMV program. In 2009, New York ranked last in the nation, signing up only 11 percent (or 427,562) of the 3.8 million people who received a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification. By contrast, Colorado signed up 64 percent of new license holders.
Nationally, there are approximately 110,000 men, women and children waiting for organ transplants. Every 11 minutes, a new name is added to the national waiting list. However, 18 people die every day because of the lack of donated organs.