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From the desk of Assemblyman Jim Conte: June 28, 2012

Assemblyman Jim Conte announced the passage of Lauren’s Law. Conte, a sponsor of the bill and two-time organ-transplant recipient, noted that the bill will help increase organ-donor enrollments throughout the state as well as prolong and enhance the lives of thousands of New Yorkers waiting for a transplant.

The legislation is named after Lauren Shields, a heart-transplant recipient who celebrated her 12th birthday this past April.

“I am incredibly grateful for the second chance I have been given by receiving two kidney transplants. These acts of kindness have allowed me to raise my family and lead a full and productive life,” said Conte. “By increasing awareness about the real and urgent need for organ and tissue donations, Lauren’s Law will ensure that more New Yorkers participate in the state organ and tissue donor registry and help the thousands of patients awaiting transplants for organ, eye, tissue, bone marrow and blood.”

In 2009, New York ranked last in the country for the number of new donors, something Lauren’s Law will change by increasing 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 is an existing organ-donation section on the application, applicants are currently not required to fill it out.

“I am very pleased to have had a hand in crafting and promoting this important public health legislation,” said Conte. “Its passage will truly make a difference to the thousands of New Yorkers awaiting a transplant.”

Individuals who would like to become organ and tissue donors may sign up online at the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry,