West Virginia hunting and fishing license applications now include the option to register as an organ donor. The Mountain State is one of the first states to offer the option.
Senate Bill 613, passed during the 2019 legislative session and signed into law by Governor Jim Justice, permitted the state Division of Natural Resources to include the election of organ donation.
Justice said he's honored to see that the state has taken the measure.
“Registering as a donor is a simple act but one that can save lives,” Justice said.
“I am proud that West Virginia stands among the nation’s leaders in offering this option on our hunting and fishing applications.”
The achievement came about through the cooperative efforts of the governor's office, Donate Life West Virginia, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education, and the Division of Natural Resources.
Janet James, chair of the center's governance board, emphasized the legacy of hunting and fishing in West Virginia and the legacy of organ donation.
“It goes without saying that hunting and fishing is a legacy pastime celebrated from generation to generation in West Virginia,” James said during a Wednesday press conference in South Charleston.
“With the new legislation in effect, this presents West Virginians one more option to become a registered organ donor while getting their license, which is a nice parallel to the legacy that is left behind when someone decides to give the ultimate gift of life."
James emphasized the state's progressiveness in promoting donations through hunting and fishing licensure.
“This addition to the application serves as a milestone for the entire state of West Virginia," she said.
"In fact, West Virginia is one of the first states in the nation to provide an organ donation registration option in its hunting and fishing license application, solidifying its position as an outstanding advocate for organ donation.”
The donor option is available now on hunting and fishing license applications online and at certain offices that offer in-person applications.
As do most states in the U.S., West Virginia already offers the donor option on driver’s license and identification card applications.