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Conte Urges Assembly to Pass Lauren’s Law

Assemblyman Jim Conte

The office of Assemblyman Conte issued this release :

Assemblyman Jim Conte (R,I,C,WF-Huntington Station) today held a press conference at the Hauppauge Department of Motor Vehicles urging the state Assembly to pass Lauren’s Law as a means of increasing organ-donor enrollments throughout the state. The legislation is named after Lauren Shields, a heart transplant survivor who recently celebrated her eleventh birthday.

The legislation, which recently passed in the state Senate, seeks to increase enrollment on the state organ donor registry by prohibiting a driver’s license application from being processed unless the organ donation section is filled out. While there currently is an organ donation section on the application, applicants are not required to fill it out.

Last year, New York ranked last in the country for the number of new donors, something Assemblyman Conte is working to change through the passage of Lauren’s Law.

“As a two-time kidney transplant recipient I have firsthand experience with the tremendous impact organ donors can have on the lives of others,” said Conte.  “By passing Lauren’s Law, we can help save lives and increase the quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers by increasing organ and tissue donor enrollments throughout the state.”

“The state’s lack of organ donor enrollees is a real and urgent matter,” said Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C-Patchogue). “By increasing organ donor enrollments, Lauren’s Law will give thousands of New Yorkers the ultimate gift – a second chance at a full and healthy life. I hope Lauren’s Law comes to the floor for a vote quickly, and swiftly passes to become law.”

“At only 13 percent, New York State currently has one of the lowest donor registration rates in the nation. This number is not reflective of the caring and giving nature of the citizens of this state; it demonstrates the lack of knowledge about how to register as a donor,” said Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I – East Meadow). “Lauren’s Law will make it easier for New Yorkers to enroll in the state donor registry and help provide needed support for the thousands of New Yorkers in need of a transplant.”

“Although I can’t be there in person today, I am in spirit along with all those who strive to support the miracle of organ donation from the donors and families, recipients, and dedicated support personnel that make the gift of life a reality,” said Ed Burki Director of Special Projects Long Island Trio.

Assemblyman Conte noted that there are currently more than 110,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the United States, 8,000 in the New York metropolitan area alone. Eighteen people across the U.S. die every day while waiting for a donor.  In 2009, New York ranked last in the nation, signing up only 11 percent (or 427,562) of the 3.8 million people who received a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification.  By contrast, Colorado signed up 64 percent of new license holders.

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