from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121
May 2, 2005

New Statewide Organ Donor Registry Provides Hope for Texans in Need of Transplants

(AUSTIN) - The Texas Senate today (Monday) voted unanimously to create a Donor Education, Awareness, and Registry Program of Texas (DEAR) and a Texas Organ, Tissue, and Eye Donor Council (OTEDC).

Senate Bill 24 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, would create a statewide organ donation registry to list persons who are willing to donate their organs. The bill also lays out a program for the state's education and outreach regarding organ donation.

"Every 13 minutes, a new name is added to the national transplant waiting list, and during that time an average of 17 persons die waiting," said Senator Zaffirini, a member and former chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. "This bill gives hope to persons who are anxiously awaiting a desperately needed transplant and to their families who wait with them."

The bill would require the creation of a donor education, awareness and registry program and require the Department of Public Safety to allow each driver's license or identity card applicant the opportunity to indicate the person's desire to make an anatomical gift in the event of his or her death.

An additional voluntary $1 fee would pay the costs of the new DEAR and the OTEDC. The Council would develop educational and awareness activities to improve understanding and acceptance of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

"Texas does not currently have a statewide organ and tissue donor registry," Senator Zaffirini said. "This bill creates one and strengthens efforts to promote awareness and action so that more Texans can receive life-saving organs."

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