California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to encourage organ donation Tuesday in a ceremony held at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. The legislation, Senate Bill 1395, aims to prompt Californians to consider the option of registering as an organ donor by making it mandatory to indicate whether or not they want to be an organ donor on the Department of Motor Vehicles driver license application, driver license renewal or state identification card application form.
Prior to the passage of the bill, California drivers had the option not to answer the question when filling out their license or ID applications. The bill, introduced by state Senator Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), is intended to increase organ donations and encourage Californians to “give the gift of life” by becoming organ donors.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a 2009 liver transplant recipient who spearheaded the campaign to pass the bill, was on hand to watch Schwarzenegger sign it.
“This new law will save thousands of lives in California each year,” Jobs said. “It’s good for everyone. The donor’s family knows their loved one is making it possible for others to live. Talented surgeons can save the lives they’re trained to save. Recipients are given the gift of an extended life…as a transplant recipient, I know how precious this gift of life is.”
The bill will also create the nation’s first donor registry for kidney transplants, which, according to Schwarzenegger, will enable those awaiting transplants to find their matches more easily.