BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents of New York could soon become organ donors by signing up for a library card or applying to college.
Sen. Chris Jacobs, (R-Buffalo) and Assemblyman Mickey Kearns are spearheading the effort to introduce legislation that would add a “Check Yes” box to become a New York State-registered organ donor onto library card or SUNY and CUNY college applications.
Jacobs introduced the legislation to the New York State Senate earlier this year. Kearns is expected to introduce a companion bill to the NYS Assembly soon.
Currently, the primary way New Yorkers sign up to be an organ donor is through the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Board of Elections, Jacobs said.
“Unfortunately, a majority of New York City residents don’t drive, and too many others don’t vote so they have no interaction with the Board of Elections,” Jacobs said. “Our hope is that through our legislation, more people, and particularly younger generations, will get exposed to the concept of organ donation earlier in life and hopefully sign up.”
Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are currently waiting for organ transplants. New York has the third highest need for donors in the country, but also the second lowest percentage of registered donors- it’s estimated that 500 people die every year in New York due to a donor shortage.
Individuals can sign up to become organ donors in New York starting at age 16. $1.6 million was included in the New York State budget for promotion and education about organ, eye, and tissue donation.