Governor Patrick today signed into law a bill supporting the expansion of organ and tissue donation efforts in Massachusetts. The legislation, "An Act Establishing an Organ and Tissue Donor Registration Fund" (SB 2515), will help increase awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donations, as well as facilitate donor registration.
"This bill is a major step forward in addressing the critical need for tissue and organ donations in Massachusetts," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Organ and tissue donations save lives, and I am proud that Massachusetts will be expanding its efforts to educate the public about the importance of this issue."
The legislation establishes a fund that will accept public and private gifts, grants and donations that will support donor registration and revitalizes the Department of Public Health's Advisory Council on Organ and Tissue Transplants and Donations. The Council will coordinate the efforts of all public and private agencies concerned with organ transplantation, advise the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health and the director of organ transplants and develop strategies to increase organ donation. The bill also directs the Council to create a website with educational materials about organ donation.
Additionally, the bill will enable Massachusetts residents to register as organ donors online through the Registry of Motor Vehicles website.
"Organ donor legislation is a major life giving piece of legislation which will give hope to many," said Senator Susan C. Fargo, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health.
"This bill goes a long way to encourage organ donations and raise awareness on the issue. Because of the tireless efforts of the families involved, legislators were able to work together to craft this important piece of legislation," said Senator Thomas McGee.
"This legislation will promote education and awareness of organ donation: a simple and profound way to give the gift of life," said Representative Katherine Clark. "I thank Governor Patrick for his early support of this legislation, the legislative co-sponsors, and the Linehan family of Melrose whose work on this legislation truly honors their daughter Laura."
"With the passage of this law, there will be more organ donors to help patients have their prayers answered in a shorter amount of time," said Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health.