Blood banks hope to get more of that life-saving liquid by lowering the donor age.
Right now, anyone who is 17 or older can voluntarily donate blood. New legislation being voted on in a legislative committee at the state capitol aims to lower that minimum age by one year, to 16-years old.
"Part of the reasoning behind this legislation is that if we get these youngsters started to donate at this age, perhaps as they become older they will continue on."
State Representative J.A. "Doc" Hines (R-Oxford) authored the measure, at the request of the American Red Cross . Sarah Stevermer with the Red Cross says it also allows students to give back to their community in a way they otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Stevermer estimates Wisconsin blood banks would be able to collect an extra 1,500 units of blood just from those 16-year olds, who must first get parental consent to donate. Representative Hines says everyone he talks to likes the idea.
"Nobody was in opposition to it. Everybody thought it was a good idea, otherwise they wouldn't have voted for it."
Other states, including neighboring Illinois and Iowa, are having success with recently enacted laws. Minnesota is working on similar legislation.
The Assembly Committee on Public Health this morning recommended passage by a vote of 9-0. The bill ( AB-539 ) now goes to the Assembly Rules Committee.