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State Senate passes tax incentives for living organ donors

The Georgia Senate passed legislation Tuesday aimed at encouraging more Georgians to become living organ donors.

Senate Bill 330 is sponsored by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who donated one of his kidneys last July to his son, who suffered renal failure and was forced to go on dialysis at the age of 24. 'This bill is going to save lives,' Albers told his Senate colleagues shortly before Tuesday's unanimous vote. 'My goal is to get the transplant [waiting] list down to zero.'

The legislation would expand an existing state income tax exemption for living organ donors from $10,000 to $25,000. Businesses would receive a state tax credit to help them cover the cost of up to six weeks paid time off for employees recovering from transplant surgery, whether they are donors or recipients. The bill also would prohibit life insurance companies from canceling or denying coverage to living organ donors.

The tax breaks would cost the state an estimated $1.7 million a year. Albers said that pales in comparison to the tax dollars the state spends to maintain patients on dialysis. Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, spoke in support of the legislation but suggested it be expanded to apply to health insurance as well as life insurance when it moves to the state House of Representatives. While the bill is currently limited to kidney and liver donors, Jordan said it also should include living donors of other organs including lungs, intestines and bone marrow.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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