Everyone Agrees — Organ Donations Uber Alles

Lest one believe the California Legislature is more discordant than a combination of Charles Ives, Dead space and the first two cuts on Bitches Brew, at least one measure was sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on a unanimous vote.

Apparently, expanding the ability of California drivers to make organ and tissue donations is an issue that transcends partisan politics.

Approved 72 to 0 by the 80-member Assembly and 40 to 0 by the 40-member Senate, a measure by Assemblyman Dave Jones, a Sacramento Democrat, would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a hyperlink on its website to the state’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, known as Donate Life California.

The idea is to give drivers more opportunities to donate organs by giving them the option when they annually renew their vehicle registration on-line.

Currently, the only organ donation opportunity is when a Californian applies for a driver’s license or an ID card at the DMV. For most drivers, that happens once every five years.

According to Jones, just 23 percent of Californians are organ and tissue donors. States with the highest sign-ups average 58 percent. The national organ transplant waiting list has 100,000 persons on it, 20,000 of them Californians. Jones says 64 percent of organ transplant candidates in California are minorities of whom 71 percent are awaiting kidneys.

“Giving Californians an annual option to join the Donate Life California registry will increase the number of donors and help save the lives of thousands of people who are awaiting life-saving transplants,” Jones said in a press release announcing the measure, AB 1132, being sent to the GOP governor.

A 2001 bill by then state Sen. Jackie Speier, a Hillsborough Democrat, authorized creating an organ and tissue registry at the state Health And Human Services Agency. However, the agency never got funding for the registry and, in 2003, Speier carried another bill giving the task to a new non-profit entity.

That entity became Donate Life California, which sponsored Jones’ measure.

As with most bills now on his desk, Schwarzenegger has taken no position on AB 1132.



  1. Personally, I think it is a very bad idea for drivers to have organs or pianos in their cars. If text messaging is a distraction, tickling the ivory has to be far worse and I speculate that DMV statistics will back me up.

    Making it easier to donate one’s organ following and automobile accident only encourages this kind of behavior. Howver, I am totally fine with people carrying as much tissue as they want in their automobiles.

    Comment by Missing the Point — 9.17.2009 @ 3:32 pm

  2. Gee, this piece left me…\"Kind of Blue.\"

    Comment by Robyn Boyer — 9.18.2009 @ 12:55 pm

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