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U.S. House Passes SECURE Notarization Act

Katie Jensen
Aug 01, 2022
US House

A number of housing associations have stated their support for the legislation, which allows for remote notarizaiton.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The bill authorizes the use of secure remote online notarization (RON) nationwide with key consumer protections.
  • It also allows businesses and consumers the ability to execute critical documents without needing to visit a notary.
  • The bill includes requirements for two-way audiovisual communication, multi-factor authentication, and tamper-evident technology. 
  • Currently, 42 states have enacted laws allowing permanent access to remote online notarization.

A number of housing associations have stated their support for the recent passage of the SECURE Notarization Act by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bill 3962, also called the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2021, authorizes the use of secure remote online notarization (RON) nationwide with key consumer protections. It also allows businesses and consumers the ability to execute critical documents without needing to visit a notary.

The SECURE Notarization Act was rolled into a package of bills the House passed last Wednesday evening, July 27, by a vote of 336 to 90. 

If passed, the SECURE Notarization Act would:

  • Permit immediate nationwide use of remote online notarization (RON);
  • Create national minimum standards for its use;
  • Provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) applauded the decision, stating that current requirements for a signer to physically be in the presence of a notary are often impractical and sometimes impossible due to social-distancing constraints. This also provides a convenient alternative to traditional in-person notarization for all consumers, but it is particularly beneficial to consumers who are unable to easily travel. This includes active-duty military stationed overseas, child and elder caregivers, and sick or elderly persons. 

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) also applauded the decision. Specifically, it points out that the bill includes critically important security standards to protect consumers, including requirements for two-way audiovisual communication, multi-factor authentication, and tamper-evident technology. 

"Today, the U.S. House took a major leap toward establishing a more modernized notarization system that doesn't leave anyone behind," said ALTA CEO Diane Tomb. "Unfortunately, too many consumers and businesses across several states still do not have access to technology that allows them to execute critical documents remotely. ... We are optimistic that all consumers across the country will soon be granted permanent access to RON."

The bipartisan SECURE Notarization Act was introduced in the House by Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.); it has 128 cosponsors in the House. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) have introduced a companion bill, which has 11 cosponsors in the Senate. 

"The leadership of Representatives Dean and Armstrong in getting this bill through the House cannot be overstated," Tomb said. "They have been tireless in their efforts to bring this common-sense legislation forward. We are grateful for their tremendous efforts."

Currently, 42 states have enacted laws allowing permanent access to remote online notarization.

The reliability and validity of notarized public records is central to the real estate market and provides a foundation for all parties when mortgaging, purchasing, and selling real property, according to a statement by NAR. RON is a critical tool for ensuring that all businesses and consumers can continue executing and notarizing critical documents.

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