This month is dedicated to educating and encouraging Americans to register as donors of organs, tissue, marrow, and blood. Donating is a generous act that saves thousands of lives annually.

Transplanting organs and tissue are one of the greatest and most successful medical procedures in the history of medicine. Organ transplantations offer patients a chance to return to their families, friends, and communities. It gives the patients a chance at healthier and more productive life, as well.

Nearly 34,000 lives were saved last year due to successful transplants. Organs that can be donated include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and intestines. Tissues that can be donated include arteries, bone marrow, eyes (corneas), cartilage, skin, soft tissue, veins, and heart valves and vessels. More than 115,000 men, women, and children are on the transplant waitlist currently.

Anyone can sign up to be a donor despite your age and medical history. In Texas, you can sign up to be a donor at Texas Donor Registry. You can also sign up to be an organ donor when you apply or renew you Texas Driver’s license through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, too. Instructions to receive the Organ Donor designation on your Driver’s License can be found at Organ Donation in Texas. To donate blood, you can find a blood center or blood bus near you at Red Cross Blood Donation or Coastal Bend Blood Center.

Also, the 86th Legislative Session is in full swing! Sine Die, the final day, of this Session is May 27th. Until then, the Legislature will continue to hold hearings over bills in committees and decide matters in the House and Senate Chambers. To look up and/or track legislation that interests you, please visit Texas Legislature Online . You can look up legislation by word, phrase, or bill number in the top-middle section of this page. The left of the page has several links that will connect you to the Texas House of Representatives and to the Texas Senate.

To receive alerts of bills that interest you, please visit My TLO login. You can create a free account by clicking on “New User” underneath the password box. Once you’ve created your login, you will see a line full of empty boxes. Under “bill”, you type in the bill number and leave the next box as “any category”. This will send you alerts each time the bill moves through the legislative process. You can also add notes. Finally, select “Add Bill”.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672