Councilman pushes bills to boost New York’s organ donor population

Every 18 hours someone in New York state dies waiting for an organ.

New York state ranks dead last when it comes to the number of available organ donors and one city elected official wants to reverse that statistic.

City Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Wednesday two bills that would decrease the barriers that he says prevent a lot of New Yorkers from signing up to be a donor. New York state is ranked 50th nationwide when it comes to percentage of the population that’s registered for organ donation, only 24% compared to the 50% national average. Every 18 hours someone in New York state dies waiting for an organ, said Constantinides (D-Astoria).

“We are in a public health crisis in terms of organ donation. It is evident that more needs to be done to encourage people to donate and remove any barriers that might be in place that prevent people from becoming living organ donors,” the councilman said in a statement.

One of Constantinides’ bills would amend the agency-based voter registration program to highlight the option for voters to sign up as a donor. The second bill would allow employees to use hours accrued under the Earned Sick Time Act in order to donate organs and not lose pay.

Councilmen Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, and I. Daneek Miller backed the bills.

Ivan Pereira