BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new bill introduced by Assemblyman Pat Burke would automatically enroll New York residents 18 years of age or older as organ donors unless they choose to opt-out of the registry.
“I’m introducing this legislation because I want to start a conversation about how we can get more people on the organ donation registry, and ultimately save more lives,” said Burke.
The legislation that Burke is proposing would create a space on the driver's license applications for applicants to opt-out of of the New York State organ and tissue donor registry.
According to Burke, there are currently 9,000 individuals on the waiting list for organs in New York State and the third highest need for organ donors in the U.S.
Those who are 16 or 17 years of age would still be eligible to donate, but would need to opt-in to the system.
“With this bill, more New Yorkers will become organ donors, but people will still retain the element of choice. If someone does not want to participate for any reason, they can simply opt out,” Burke continued. “A single organ donor can save up to eight lives and impact dozens more. This legislation has the potential to save countless lives.”
Burke issued a statement Saturday night to clear up any confusion on the topic.
"This proposal is meant to spark the conversation about the importance of organ donation," said Burke. "If this proposal became law, it would change the question on a New York State driver’s license application from an opt-in question to an opt-out question. Under this proposal, driver’s license applicants over the age of eighteen would have to opt-out by saying 'no' to being an organ donor.
"The application would not be complete until this question was answered."
Burke continued on to say this proposal would not move forward until it has earned significant public support.