It's intended to get more people to become organ donors.
Legislation to get more people to become organ donors has been introduced into the Maryland General Assembly. The "Patricia Hanberry Gift of Life" Act is sponsored by Frederick County State Senator Ron Young. He says it would require the Motor Vehicle Administration to inform applicants for driver's licenses and identification cards that they are considered to be organ donors unless they opt out. "It was my feeling that it would increase the number of organ donors," says Young, who notes that he too is an organ donor.
The legislation is named for Pat Hanberry, the Director of the Mental Health Association of Frederick County, who donated one of her kidneys to someone who needed it.
Young says countries which have adopted the "opt-out" provision for their citizens applying for or renewing driver's licenses have more organ donors than those who don't have it. "I just think that extra little bit makes you stop and think about the question a little more than just breezing by, hurrying, trying to get your license," says Young.
He says many MVA offices don't even mention the opportunity to become organ donors when citizens come in and apply for new licenses or renewals, or identification cards.
Across the country, Young says there are more than 120,000 people in need of organ transplants, and this will help get more Marylanders to sign up to be organ donors.
"I think it's going to be tough passage when the organ donor groups are against it," says Young. "They said that they think more people would opt out if that was requested. The statistics I've seen don't back that, but they have other statistics."
The legislation had its first reading on Tuesday before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
A similar bill has been introduced in the House of Delegates by Frederick County Delegate Galen Clagett.