Senate Approves Extension Of 'Lauren's Law' In Ongoing Effort To Boost Organ And Tissue Donations

John J. Flanagan

February 26, 2016

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) announced that the State Senate has unanimously approved legislation to extend an important state law first enacted four years ago aimed at increasing organ and tissue donations in New York State.

The legislation (S6228/A8594) would enact a four-year extension of what’s known as “Lauren’s Law” in honor of 12-year-old heart transplant survivor Lauren Shields of Stony Point, New York.

Lauren, who was in Albany when the bill was passed by the Senate, received her heart transplant in 2009.  She and her family were leading advocates for the law’s initial enactment in 2012 and are at the Capitol today pushing for its extension.  Lauren’s Law is set to expire this October.

Lauren’s Law prohibits a driver's license application from being processed unless the organ donation section is filled out. Applicants have to check a box stating “yes” or “skip this question.”  Prior to the law’s enactment, filling out the organ donation section on the application was optional.

“Lauren is living proof that you can save someone’s life by registering as an organ donor.  This legislation will aid in the efforts to increase the number of registered donors in our state and help raise awareness of this important topic.  This will enable Lauren’s advocacy to continue saving lives in our great state and throughout our nation,” stated Majority Leader Flanagan.

According to LiveOnNY, formerly the New York Organ Donor Network, over 10,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the New York State and another name is added to the state's organ transplant waiting list every 2½ hours.

That combined with the fact that New York State is ranked last in the nation in registered organ donors is a clear sign that our state needs to find ways to register more people.  Supporters of the legislation project that the law's renewal will result in 560,000 new organ donor registrants over the next four years.

The bipartisan legislation is expected to be approved by the state Assembly, where it is currently in the Health Committee, and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Please click here to view Majority Leader Flanagan's remarks welcoming Lauren to the New York State Senate.