SB 5179
As Reported by Senate Committee On:
Health & Long Term Care, February 5, 2021
Title: An act relating to blood donation.
Brief Description: Concerning blood donation.
Sponsors: Senators Liias, Rivers, Das, Randall and Wilson, C..
Brief History:
Committee Activity: Health & Long Term Care: 2/03/21, 2/05/21 [DPS, w/oRec].
Brief Summary of First Substitute Bill
  • Permits anyone between the ages of 16 and 17 to donate blood, including donation through apheresis, in any voluntary and noncompensatory blood program after obtaining parental or legal guardian permission.
Majority Report: That Substitute Senate Bill No. 5179 be substituted therefor, and the substitute bill do pass.
Signed by Senators Cleveland, Chair; Frockt, Vice Chair; Muzzall, Ranking Member; Conway, Holy, Keiser, Padden, Randall, Robinson, Van De Wege and Wilson, J.
Minority Report: That it be referred without recommendation.
Signed by Senator Rivers.
Staff: Ricci Crinzi (786-7253)

Since 2016, the Department of Health has regulated blood establishments in the state.  Current statutory authority allows anyone over the age of 18 to donate blood without parental permission, but does not address blood donation requirements for minors.  The Washington State Office of the Attorney General’s website states that minors between the ages of 16 and 17 years old may donate blood with parental permission.


Blood donation through apheresis is the process where blood is collected via a special machine to allow for specific blood components to be separated during donation. After the blood is drawn from the donor, the blood is placed into a machine called a "cell separator", where the blood can be separated out into platelets, plasma, or white blood cells. The remaining blood is then returned to the donor.

Summary of Bill (First Substitute):

Anyone 18 and older can donate blood, including donation through apheresis, without parental permission or authorization.  Anyone between the ages of 16 and 17 may donate blood, including donation through apheresis, in any voluntary and noncompensatory blood program after obtaining parental or legal guardian permission or authorization.

  • Allows legal guardians to approve blood or apheresis donations for 16 and 17 year olds.
Appropriation: None.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Original Bill:

The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard.  PRO:  Blood donation is a way to give back to the community and save lives.  Blood donation centers are beginning to see a deficit in blood donations as the older generation ages out.  The youth population can help address this deficit and become lifelong blood donors.  Previously, some youths could not donate blood platelets due to their age.  A large blood donor pool is important because certain blood donations, like platelets, have a short shelf life and require frequent donations.  Donations are often used for research which impacts the blood supply for those in need.  Allowing youths to donate blood will access an untapped group of individuals who can impact the blood supply and have a longstanding impact on their community.  High school blood drives are a common way youths donate blood and this bill would allow for more youths to donate blood in a variety of ways. 

Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Marko Liias, Prime Sponsor; Grace Griffin; James Moore, BloodworksNW; Jennifer Hawkins, Vitalant; Carson Price, Seattle University; Jaelyn Sotelo; Katie Clark.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.