FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2016
(AUSTIN) — As the number of registered organ donors in Texas reached a record 8 million just before the new year, a new law taking effect this month makes it even easier for Texans to register as donors and make financial donations to support organ donation, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, announced today (Thursday).
Sponsored and passed by Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, and Senator Zaffirini, the new law allows persons to support the state's organ donor registry by making donations of more than $1 during the vehicle registration and driver's license application processes, allows the registry to use mobile technology to recruit more potential donors and extends registration opportunities to holders of commercial driver's licenses.
"Every year thousands of generous Texans identify themselves as organ and tissue donors via www.DonateLifeTexas.org," said Senator Zaffirini, a registered organ donor since 2005. "I'm confident that these new tools will allow even more persons the opportunity to give the gift of life."
In 2005 Senator Zaffirini worked with the late Rep. Glenda Dawson to sponsor and pass legislation establishing Texas' organ donor registry, and in 2007 the senator authored and passed legislation naming the registry in memory of Rep. Dawson, a kidney transplant recipient who was a passionate advocate for organ donation.
In 2009 Senator Zaffirini continued her advocacy for organ donation by authoring and passing Senate Bill (SB) 1803, requiring Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) employees to ask customers one question: “Would you like to register as an organ donor?”
This amazingly simple measure worked wonders, and registrations at DPS offices nearly doubled. Thousands soon registered as donors, but many wanted the opportunity to make a financial contribution, too. Accordingly, in 2013 she authored and passed SB 1815, allowing Texans to make donations of $1 during the driver's license application process.
"The financial gift option is another great way for Texans to support life-saving organ donation," Senator Zaffirini said. "Many, however, want to donate more than $1. The new law makes that possible."
Texans can register as organ donors online via www.DonateLifeTexas.org, mail or fax or in person at DPS driver's license offices. Materials are available in English and Spanish.
"Any Texan can register as an organ donor, regardless of age, race, gender or health status," Senator Zaffirini said. "Don't exclude yourself!"
More than 123,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants, and 22 die every day because the organ they needed was not available. Diseases requiring organ transplantation impact families of all backgrounds, but disproportionately impact racial minorities. One organ donor can save the lives of eight people, and one tissue donor can save countless lives.
ORGAN DONORS AND RECIPIENTS and their families join Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, at the Texas Capitol. The legislators authored and passed a new law taking effect this month that makes it even easier for Texans to register as organ and tissue donors and make financial donations supporting the state's organ donation registry.