2.The Legislature finds and declares that:
a.For over three decades, the State of New Jersey has supported organ and tissue donation as a public policy, because one individual can save up to eight lives by donating his or her vital organs and enhance more than 50 lives by donating tissue;
b.Although 95% of the national population indicates support for donation, a far smaller percentage have actually made a legally binding decision to be organ and tissue donors, the result of which has been the deaths of over 74,186 people nationally and 2,470 New Jersey residents since 1997 because life-saving organs were not available to them for transplant;
c.A public policy supporting organ donation is no longer adequate, given the health crisis faced by more than 98,000 people awaiting life saving organ transplants nationally, of whom more than 4,000 are New Jersey residents;
d.A new public policy of advocacy which encourages positive donation decisions is now imperative in order to save more lives;
e.The health and welfare of New Jersey's residents requires a more dynamic, comprehensive framework regarding organ donation, one with mandated educational and decisional components;
f.This comprehensive framework must incorporate the federal government's charge to organ procurement organizations to work with states in educating the public so that more individuals make positive donation decisions and document those decisions;
g.In order to insure that more New Jersey residents become donors, it is necessary to provide curriculum in both secondary schools and institutions of higher education, as well as establish educational requirements for physicians and nurses, to dispel myths associated with organ donation, provide accurate information about the donation and recovery process, and emphasize the fundamental responsibility of individuals to take appropriate action, when able to do so, to help save another person's life;
h.It is further necessary to provide residents with an accessible, secure means using the Internet, to register as organ donors in a way that ties the donation decision to a routine but necessary function, such as the receipt of a driver's license or personal identification card, so that an interaction on the issue of organ donation occurs at or around the time New Jersey residents reach the age of majority; and
i.The combined initiatives provided for in this act will effectively achieve the State's public policy goal to increase the number of organ and tissue donors in the State so that more lives can be saved or enhanced.
L.2008, c.48, s.2.