A measure meant to expand and encourage live organ donors is heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk following its approval on Wednesday in the state Assembly. 

The measure is meant to encourage living donors with financial support as well as educational programs. The proposal is also aimed at boosting New York's low rate of organ donation compared to other states in the country. 

“New York must do more to encourage and support life-saving living organ donation,” Speaker Carl Heastie said. “We rank abysmally low compared to the rest of the country, and I am proud to see this legislation passed by the Legislature to help ensure that we are doing everything in our power to save lives of individuals on transplant waiting lists.”

The bill, backed by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Sen. Gustavo Rivera, would provide for reimbursement of expenses for living donors who are New York residents to recipients who are also New York residents. Reimbursements would include costs incurred as a result of the donation, including lost wages, sick and vacation days, child care, travel, lodging or medical expenses. 

The measure would also try to boost understanding of organ donation among patients. More than a third of New Yorkers believe the risk of death during a donor surgery is one in 20 when the actual risk is one in 3,000. 

The bill was approved earlier this year in the state Senate.

“New York faces an organ shortage for transplants. We should support and protect those who choose to be a living donor by making sure they are covered for health care costs and lost wages,” Gottfried said. “I’m delighted this life-saving bill has passed both houses."