Currently people aren’t required to answer on driver license applications whether they want to be an organ and tissue donor. A year from now, applicants will have to formally check a box to indicate they want to be a donor or don’t want to answer.
The bill, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Wednesday, is aimed at increasing the number of organ and tissue donors in the state. People who die from fatal brain injuries in car crashes may be candidates to donate organs.
From my colleague, Jon Campell, in Albany:
Lauren’s Law will require driver’s license applicants over the age of 18 to answer whether they would like to join the state’s donor list. Currently, the question is optional.
The new law is named in honor of Lauren Shields, a 12-year-old Stony Point girl who survived a heart transplant in 2009. Lauren made multiple trips to the state Capitol in the past two years to try to persuade lawmakers to support the measure.State lawmakers passed the bill earlier this year after it had stalled in 2011, largely over disagreements on language.
A compromise was reached in June, and the law allows license applicants to answer “yes” or “skip this question.” A previous version of the bill had required either “yes,” “no” or “not at this time.”
Do you think it will encourage people to say “yes” to organ donation? Have you made your wishes known to your loved ones? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
(Lauren Shields on Oct. 4, 2012. Peter Carr/The Journal News/LoHud.com)