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Bill expanding Kentucky's organ donor program heading to Governor's desk

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Posted at 6:36 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 19:35:00-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Senate Bill 30, which aims to get more people registered as organ donors, has passed through the Kentucky Legislature.

The House of Representatives passed it Tuesday after it previously passed through the Senate.

The bill expands the state's current organ donor program. Currently, Kentuckians are asked if they want to register as an organ donor when they renew their driver's licenses. If signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear, drivers may also be asked when they renew their car registration.

"Maybe for somebody that has said no in the past, they'll think about it, and they'll say yes the next time they go in," Christy Hurst said. Her 18-year-old daughter, Jill, was killed in a car crash, and her organs were donated, per her wishes.

Hurst was one of several dozen people at the Capitol supporting the passage of SB 30 Tuesday.

Lawrence "Chief" Montalto, who is an organ recipient, was also there. He said he had mixed emotions when he was waiting for a double organ transplant back in 2017.

"You know that some family is losing a member so that you may live," he said. "It's tough."

Montalto said he has compassion for all donor families, like Shelley Snyder and her family. Her dad died unexpectedly when she was 17. He donated his corneas and tissue.

"We always say while he wasn't able to walk me down the aisle we know through his gifts, he was able to help another dad walk their daughter down the aisle, and that's what these heroic donors make possible," Snyder said.

Now, Snyder works for Donate Life KY.

She said about 60% of the 4.5 million people in Kentucky are registered organ donors, and her mission is to get that number up.

"Right here in Kentucky 1,000 adults and children and their families are waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and the only way that people get transplants is by other people saying yes, I support the mission of organ donation and I want to register as a donor," she said.

She added that it only takes five minutes and there are no health or age requirements or screenings.

Anyone interested in becoming an organ donor can do so here.