Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NYS Legislature gives final approval to legislation extending "Lauren's Law"

Albany, N.Y., May 18—The State Assembly today gave final legislative approval to legislation previously approved by the Senate and co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) to extend an important state law first enacted four years ago aimed at increasing organ and tissue donations in New York State.
“Encouraging organ and tissue donation is one of the most important life-saving actions that we can take in New York State, and Lauren’s Law has been and will continue to be an important part of this ongoing effort,”said O’Mara, who said that the Senate first approved the legislation in February.
 If signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which is expected, 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 (Rockland County).  Lauren 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.
 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.
 Supporters of the legislation project that the law's renewal will result in 560,000 new organ donor registrees over the next four years.
 O’Mara also co-sponsors legislation (S6528/A8661) approved by the Senate earlier this month that would make “Lauren’s Law” permanent.  That legislation remains in the Assembly Health Committee.