Key legislation that would allow state income tax filers to add their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry is one step closer to reality.
The Check Your Heart Act passed the House today. It now moves to the Senate for hearings and public comment before a vote. If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by June, the question would likely appear on the state’s 2024 tax forms.
“For the nearly 2,400 patients waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, we hope this important legislation will move swiftly through the Senate,” said Dorrie Dils, president and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s Ann Arbor-based organ and tissue donation program. “We believe that – if passed – Michigan would be the only state in the nation to provide this opportunity for residents.”
The act would allow tax filers to check a box if they want to add their names to the Donor Registry. The Department of Treasury would process registrations with the Michigan Department of State. Registrants would then be able to have the donor heart icon on their driver’s license or state ID.
Representatives Felicia Brabec of Pittsfield Township, Cynthia Neeley of Flint and Natalie Price of Berkely introduced the bill in March. Bills HB4362, HB4363 and HB4364 would create a new schedule on the Michigan income tax form for filers wanting to join the Donor Registry. Those already registered need not re-register, although there is no harm in doing so.
The bill is crucial because the Donor Registry’s growth has slowed significantly in recent years for a variety of reasons. Among them: Michiganders are interacting with Secretary of State branch office clerks less frequently because of new schedules for driver’s license renewals. A bevy of new online services also means fewer trips to the Secretary of State, where 95% of new Donor Registry sign-ups take place.
“One of the only opportunities Michiganders have to join the Donor Registry is during in-person driver’s license and state ID renewal appointments at Secretary of State offices,” Brabec said. “The Check Your Heart Act will create more opportunities for Michigan residents to add their name to the Donor Registry and save lives.”
Gift of Life is asking residents to Check Your Heart. Do you have a heart on your license or state ID? If not, look within yourself and consider your potential to help save lives. Join the Donor Registry at golm.org/register.