Illinois lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can work together when it comes to saving lives, at least according to a recent vote in the Illinois State Senate.
HB 1805, the “Drive for Life Bill,” passed unanimously in the Senate and was supported by the Secretary of State along with a host of bi-partisan lawmakers and the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network. The legislation amends the law and allows drivers as young as 16 to decide to join the organ donor registry. Gov. Bruce Rauner will now have the option to sign it into law.
The legislation is vital to the life-saving efforts of local hospitals. Gift of Hope says that 4,700 people are on the waiting list in the Land of Lincoln, and nearly 300 people lose their lives annually waiting for an organ transplant.
In national terms, Illinois is behind the times as one of only three states throughout the nation that doesn’t allow 16- and 17-year-old drivers to make the choice to become an organ donor. The “Drive for Life Act” will be the first time that young drivers in the state are allowed to express their wishes. Parents or legal guardians would have the final say in any organ donations up until a young driver turns 18. However, the law still allows teenagers to make their wishes clearly known to parents and to health care professionals.