Senator Flanagan Hails Late Assemblyman Conte’s Organ Donation Law

John J. Flanagan

October 04, 2013

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) proudly announced that Lauren’s Law (S.7103A of 2012), which the late Assemblyman James Conte led the fight to pass last year to increase enrollment of organ donors in New York State, is now in effect in New York State.  The law will require common sense changes to license applications in New York State to help increase organ donation.

The legislation is named after Lauren Shields, a young girl from Rockland County who received a heart transplant when she was 9.  She became the face of New York State’s campaign to raise awareness about the need to drastically increase the number of organ and tissue donors.

The new law requires the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) to ensure that anyone who completes a New York State license form give an answer to the question of whether they would like to join the Donate Life Registry.  Now all applicants must provide an answer by either checking off “yes” or “skip this question” under the organ donor registry section of the application. 

Lauren’s Law will apply to the following:

  • Application or renewal for a license
  • Non-driver identification card application or renewal
  • Renewal form to register or decline registration in the donate life registry

This new law was deemed necessary because New York lags far behind the national average of enrollees in the organ donor program.  According to the New York State Organ Donor Network, only 20% of New Yorkers age 18 and over have enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry as organ tissue and eye donors while the average nationwide is 45%.

An overwhelming majority of people who do enroll actually do so through the Department of Motor Vehicles when applying for a driver’s license or a non-driver ID. 

“Assemblyman Conte was a leader on this issue and this new law will serve as a fitting tribute to his efforts to save lives.  By requiring all who apply for licenses to answer the question of whether to be an organ donor, applicants will have an opportunity to examine the issue more deeply when previously they might have chosen not to answer the question at all,” stated Senator Flanagan.

Please click here to sign up to be a donor or for more information on organ donation.