Senator Elaine Phillips joined Northwell Health officials at a news conference Wednesday, coinciding with New York’s third annual Organ Donation Enrollment Day, to encourage New Yorkers to register as organ donors. Present at the news conference was organ recipient, Linda Samville of Queens Village who received a heart transplant six weeks ago and Rene Nardi of Hicksville, who is currently on the waiting list.
“With the addition of the new heart transplant center at North Shore University Health, and the team of outstanding surgeons in place, residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties can have life-saving transplants close to home, family and friends,” Phillips said. “Now we must work to increase organ donations to ensure that the over 10,000 individuals waiting for organs, including Rene Nardi, across our region and state are given a second chance at life.”
New York State currently ranks the lowest in the country for registered organ donors.
“Earlier this year my colleagues and I in the State Senate passed several measures, which increase awareness, encourage more New Yorkers to become organ and tissue donors and protect the rights of those who do,” Phillips said. “Only 27 percent of eligible New Yorkers are enrolled in the state’s Donate Life Registry. As a donor myself, I am committed to raising awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation and how do doing so will help more people, like Linda Samville and Rene Nardi, live long, healthy lives.”
This year’s enacted state budget included $1.3 million as part of the Senate’s ongoing commitment to help New Yorkers in need of lifesaving transplants. Highlights of the organ donation legislation passed in the Senate earlier this year and that will be advocated to pass both house this year includes:
- Preventing discrimination against living organ or tissue donors who have or are applying for life, accident, health or long-term care;
- Establishing a one-time personal income tax credit for up to $10,000 for expenses related to a taxpayer donating his or her organs for transplantation;
- Enabling SUNY, CUNY and library card applicants to register as an organ donor under an expansion of Lauren’s Law;
- Adding human organ delivery vehicles to the list of authorized emergency vehicles in the state;
- To include information about organ and tissue donation and about how to register as an organ donor in the course required in order to get a New York State driver’s license;
- Providing applicants for the practice of a profession or occupation, state income tax filers, and applicants registering motor vehicles with the option to register in the New York State Donate Life Registry; and
- Allowing a taxpayer or their spouse to deduct costs related to the taxpayer’s organ donation, including childcare costs.
Earlier this year, legislation authorizing 16 and 17 year olds to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry went into effect.
Individuals interested in learning more about organ donation or how to register as an organ donor may visit Phillips’ website.