(June 5) – A bill by Rep. Janet Buckner to continue an organ donation awareness program named to honor her late husband, former Rep. John W. Buckner, was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon.

“Ten years ago this fund was named for Emily Keyes, a young woman whose life was taken too early, to honor her memory and her desire to give the gift of life,” said Rep. Buckner, D-Aurora. “I’m so honored that my husband’s name will now join hers, and that both of their legacies as extraordinary people who made extraordinary contributions to help others thrive will continue. I am hopeful that the memory of their contributions will encourage more people to become organ and tissue donors and give the gift of life.”

Rep. Buckner, D-Aurora, sponsored HB17-1027 to honor her late husband, who was an organ and tissue donor after his death in May 2015. Other members of the legislature surprised her by bringing an amendment to add her husband’s name to the fund.

The new law continues the Emily Maureen Ellen Keyes and John W. Buckner Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Fund for ten years and clarifies that an applicant’s designation as an organ and tissue donor on a driver license or identification card remains in effect until revoked by the applicant.

The bill, which was also sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, and Sens. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, passed both chambers unanimously.

According to the Donor Alliance, Colorado has one of the highest donor designation rates in the country, meaning the percentage of people self-designating themselves as donors when obtaining or renewing their driver’s license or state ID.

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