(Buffalo, NY) – Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) is helping to raise awareness that April is
“Donate Life Month” by announcing he has reintroduced legislation that would expand access to organ donor registration across New York State. The bill (S1491) would require organ donor registry information be included on all SUNY, CUNY and Library card applications.
“Right now the primary vehicles for registering for organ donation are through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Unfortunately, a significant portion of New York City residents don’t drive so they have no interaction with their local DMV,” said Senator Jacobs. “My hope is that through this legislation, more people, particularly younger generations, will get exposed to the concept of organ donation earlier in life and hopefully become volunteers in this life-saving cause,” Jacobs added.
New York has the third highest need for donors in the country with nearly 10,000 New Yorkers waiting for organ transplants. The national average of registered organ donors is 56%, while New York State has less than half that with 22% of registered donors. Each year, an estimated 500 men, women and children in New York die because of the shortage of donors. Currently, there are 282,838 individuals enrolled in the NYS Donor Registry in Erie County. Jacobs said his legislation could have a powerful impact on these numbers.
“The New York State library system serves over 19 million people statewide, while SUNY serves 1.3 million and CUNY 500 thousand people annually,” said Jacobs. “When you consider that every one additional donor can save up to eight lives, these statistics reinforce just how great our potential is to grow our donor base, dramatically reduce the size of our waiting lists and show how compassionate we are as a society in this great state,” the Senator added.
Jacobs has been a longtime proponent for increasing donor registration. As the former Erie County Clerk, he led a campaign at the Erie Auto Bureaus to dramatically increase the numbers of customers signing-up to the Organ Donor Registry. In one year, he increased enrollment by 30 percent, more than 22,000 Erie County residents.
The Senator secured unanimous passage of this legislation in 2017 only to have the bill not advance in the Assembly. He hopes that recent renewed interest in the Assembly on this issue will result in more timely action being taken in that chamber.
“Occasions like Donate Life Month should be marked not just with words but with action,” said Jacobs. “I hope that the recent attention this issue has been receiving will lead to passage in both houses and a speedy signature from the Governor,” the Senator concluded.