REMOTE NOTARIZATION/GOV'T TRANSPARENCY. (NEW)

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 776 (Public) Filed Monday, May 3, 2021
AN ACT TO ALLOW REMOTE ELECTRONIC NOTARIZATION AND TO STRENGTHEN CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT BY INCREASING ACCESSIBILITY TO CERTAIN PUBLIC PERSONNEL PERFORMANCE AND DISMISSAL RECORDS.
Intro. by D. Hall, Davis, Hardister, Reives.

Status: Conf Com Appointed (Senate action) (Sep 23 2021)

SOG comments (2):

Long title change

Senate committee substitute to the 2nd edition changed the long title. Original title was AN ACT TO ALLOW REMOTE ONLINE NOTARIZATION.

Long title change

Senate amendments to the 3rd edition changed the long title. Previous long title was AN ACT TO ALLOW REMOTE ELECTRONIC NOTARIZATION.

Bill History:

H 776

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Sep 22 2021 - More information

    Senate amendments make the following changes to the 3rd edition. 

    Amendment #1 corrects statutory cross-references in GS 10B-134.7 and GS 10B-161. Corrects the lead in language by correcting the number of the session law that has amended GS 20-30.

    Amendment #2 adds to the act the content of the 3rd edition of House Bill 64, which provides as follows.

    Amends GS 126-23 regarding required State personnel recordkeeping by each department, agency, institution, commission, and bureau of the State, to require records to show the date and general description of the reasons for each promotion, demotion, dismissal, transfer, suspension, or separation (dismissals, suspensions, and demotions were previously separated and required stated disciplinary reasoning). No longer requires keeping records for suspension or demotion for disciplinary reasons of a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the head of the department setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal. Adds that nothing in the statute authorizes the disclosure of any confidential information protected by HIPAA, the Americans With Disabilities Act, or other applicable law. Requires that for the general descriptions of the reason for each promotion, demotion, dismissal, transfer, suspension, or separation: (1) no general description can disclose information otherwise prohibited from disclosure by an applicable law and (2) the general description must become part of the record upon the later of the expiration of the time period to file an appeal or a final decision being entered in that administrative appeals process. Amends GS 126-22 by amending the term employee to mean any current State employee, former State employee, or application for State employment subject to Article 7, The Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records. Amends the term employer, defined as any State department, university, divisions, bureau, commission, council or other agency subject to Article 7, by specifying that university includes the Board, the Board of Trustees, Chancellor, constituent institutions, and the President.

    Makes identical changes to the personnel recordkeeping requirements by local boards of education and community colleges: GS 115C-320 and GS 115D-28. 

    Makes identical changes to that information considered public record for LME/MCOs, local governments, and water and sewer authorities, pursuant to the following governing statutes: GS 122C-158, GS 153A-98, GS 160A-168, and GS 162A-6.1. Further amends GS 122C-158 to make a public record the station to which an LME/MCO employee is currently assigned. Further amends GS 153A-98 to also make the statute applicable to employees subject to GS 153A-103 (number of employees in offices of sheriff and register of deeds); makes a conforming clarifying change to GS 153A-99. Amends GS 130A-45.9 by making those same changes to the public health authority employee information that is public record and also (1) requires the type of promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification to be public record; (2) includes as public record the office or station to which the employee is currently assigned; and (3) makes organizational changes. Amends GS 131E-257.2 by making those same changes to the public hospital employee information that is public record and also requires the type of the promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification to be public record. 

    Requires, by November 30, 2021, each employer affected by this act to adopt personnel policies to effectuate the act to allow its employees to challenge the wording of the general description of any promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or dismissal occurring on or after December 1, 2021. This provision is effective when the act becomes law.

    Effective December 1, 2021, and applies to promotions, demotions, transfers, suspensions, separations, and dismissals occurring on or after that date.

    Amends the act's titles.


  • Summary date: Sep 8 2021 - More information

    Senate committee substitute amends the 2nd edition as follows. 

    Deletes proposed Article 4, Remote Online Notarization Act, of GS Chapter 10B. Instead, enacts new Part 4A, Remote Electronic Notarization, to Article 2, GS Chapter 10B as follows. 

    Sets forth defined terms. Authorizes a remote electronic notary registered with the Secretary of State to perform the types of notarial acts listed in GS 10B-115 by means of communication technology, defined as an electronic device, process, or system that allows a remote electronic notary and a remotely located principal to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound using audiovisual technology and that makes reasonable accommodation for remotely located principals with vision, hearing, or speech impairments. Allows for remote electronic notaries to perform any authorized remote electronic notarial act with respect to tangible records and electronic documents. Prohibits a remote electronic notary from performing a remote electronic notarial act if the principal is not physically located in the State, is not personally known to the notary, or whose identity cannot be verified. Also prohibits remote electronic notarial acts for any reason set forth in GS 10B-20 (limitations of notary publics) or GS 10B-134.9 as enacted (requirements and procedures for remote electronic notarial acts). Lists nine documents which remote electronic notaries are prohibited from performing any remote electronic notarial act upon, including self-proved wills, advance directives for a natural death, health care powers of attorney, trusts, codicils to wills, and mail-in absentee ballots. Provides an exception to the stated prohibitions if the remotely located principal is a member or spouse of a member of the US Armed Forces who meets specified criteria. Bars remotely notarized powers of attorney to be used by the attorney-in-fact with any other remotely notarized document to convey title to, or transfer any interest in, a remotely located principal's real property, with the exception of a member or spouse of the US Armed Forces meeting the specified criteria.

    Lists requirements for the use of communication technology to perform remote electronic notarial acts for remotely located principals, including making reasonable accommodations for principals with vision, hearing, or speech impairments; hosting the meeting in real time; allowing direct interaction between the principal and the remote electronic notary so that each can communicate simultaneously by sight and sound through an electronic device, process, or system; being capable of recording; and being capable of using the IP address of the remotely located principal to corroborate that the remotely located principal is physically located in the State. Provides for security and automated backup requirements. Bars requiring a remote electronic notary from being required to use a communication technology the notary has not selected.

    Requires the remote electronic notary and the remotely located principal to be physically located in the State in order to perform authorized remote electronic notarial acts, with the exception of a member or spouse of a member of the US Armed Forces who meets specified criteria. Makes such acts governed by State law. Requires verification of the remotely located principal through one of two described methods. 

    Details the requirements and procedures for remote electronic notarial acts. Requires the notary to give prior notice to the participants of the communication technology recording requirement, and to verify the identity of the remote located principal. Requires the principal to demonstrate that he or she is not under duress or being coerced to complete the transaction, and to verbally state the documents for the notarial record or the general nature of the transaction. Requires the notary to refuse to perform if the notary has reasonable grounds to believe the principal is acting under duress or being coerced or is aware of insecurity of the communication technology, if the electronic signature cannot be attached to the electronic document, if the notary's electronic notarial certificate and seal cannot be attached to the electronic document using an electronic technology that renders any subsequent change or modification to the document evident, or if the location of the remotely located principal cannot be verified as statutorily required. Requires using communication technology for oaths and affirmations. Allows any notary public registered with the Secretary, regardless of registration as a remote electronic notary, to administer an oral oath or affirmation to a remote witness in judicial actions or proceedings which do not require notarization of a record of a notarial certification and seal when done in person, so long as the notary is physically located in the State and the notary uses communication technology and meets the requirements for identity proofing. Specifies that a notary is not required to select the medium of communication technology or retain a recording of the performance of each remote oral oath or affirmation. Provides that failure to comply with the requirements for remote electronic notarization does not invalidate the notarial act or electronic record, but does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record on other substantive grounds. Requires the notary to maintain confidentiality of the remotely located principal's documents at all times. 

    Details requirements and procedures for the remote electronic notary to have each remotely located principal's the identity verified, which must include credential analysis, identity proofing, and related comparisons if the remote electronic notary does not have personal knowledge of the remotely located principal creating the electronic signature. Allows a remote electronic notary to require the principal to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the principal's identity. 

    Provides requirements for using electronic notarization and conducting remote electronic notarization. Requires each remote electronic notarization to include a communication technology recording. 

    Details electronic journaling requirements for remote electronic notaries performing remote electronic notarizations for each remote electronic notarization, deemed the exclusive property of the remote electronic notary. Requires a remote electronic notary or the notary's guardian, conservator, agent, or personal representative to retain a communication technology recording of the performance of each remote electronic notarial act for 10 years after the performance of the notarial act. Provides required terms for third-party contracts for communication technology recording storage. Provides for retention of the electronic journal upon resignation or revocation or suspension of the remote electronic notary's commission. Provides for designation of a custodian for acts associated with electronic journaling. Allows for designation of a steward approved by the Secretary to maintain the electronic journal and backups, retain communication technology recordings and backups, and/or provide methods of access or export for the electronic journals or communication technology recordings. Provides for delivery of the electronic journal to a designated steward for maintenance for the designated time period upon death or adjudication of incompetency of a current or former remote electronic notary. Details security requirements of remote electronic notaries. Allows for surrender of the electronic journal upon termination of employment, with the duty to maintain an accurate backup of the journal for at least 10 years. Provides required action following discovery of any permanent loss of data, unauthorized use, loss of use, or compromised security of the electronic journal or communication technology recordings. Provides for suspension of the remote electronic notary's commission for failure to comply with a records request of the Department of State within 30 days until the Secretary reinstates the commission. 

    Details security measures required of the Secretary. Allows the Secretary to establish guidelines for the secure storage of the electronic journal and communication technology recordings associated with remote electronic notarial acts that use standard encryption technologies; establish any necessary additional guidelines for identity proofing and credential analysis; establish standards and processes for the technology communication to allow secure real-time communication; establish standards for tamper-evident technologies; require use of a communication technology provided by a third-party vendor that has presented evidence of compliance with industry standards; adopt rules to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of remote electronic notarizations, such as imposing additional educational requirements; and adopt rules regarding the performance of a remote electronic notarial act as specified. Requires technology selected by a remote electronic notary, and communication technology, credential analysis, identity proofing, and custodial services selected by the notary, to conform with standards established by the Secretary. Provides for liability of third-party vendors. 

    Provides for laws and court and NC State Bar opinions relating to the unauthorized practice of law to be unaffected by the new Part, including laws and opinions concerning real estate transactions. Explicitly prohibits a remote electronic notary who is not an NC licensed attorney from rendering services or advice that constitutes the practice of law. 

    Makes conforming changes to GS 10B-2.

    Adds remote electronic notary public or remote electronic notary to the defined terms in 10B-101, applicable to Article 2 (Electronic Notary Act). Makes technical changes.

    Makes the qualifications for electronic notary registration and registration procedures for electronic notaries under GS 10B-105 and GS 10B-106 applicable to remote electronic notaries. Additionally makes the electronic notarial components required for electronic documents, set forth in GS 10B-117, applicable to remote electronic notarial acts; adds required attachment of the phrase "Remote Electronic Notary Public Utilizing Communication Technology." 

    Enacts new Part 7, Article 2, GS Chapter 10B. Deems a paper or tangible duplicate of an electronic document subject to electronic notarization to be a true and correct duplicate of the notarized electronic document if the electronic notarial certificate is affixed to the document in compliance with new GS 10B-226, and the electronic document has not been changed or modified since the affixation of the certificate. Makes a custodian's attestation of such requirements prima facie evidence that the requirements of the statute have been satisfied with respect to the paper or tangible duplicate of the electronic document. Requires the custodian to attest that the electronic document is in tamper-evident format, along with five other attestations, including that the custodian personally printed or supervised the printing of the electronic document onto paper or other tangible medium. Requires documents with the described attestation to be accepted for recording by a register of deeds so long as all other statutory and locally adopted prerequisites are met. Defines custodian. 

    Amends GS 20-30, as amended by SL 2021-34, to permit making a color photocopy of a color reproduction of a drivers license, learner's permit, or special identification card to perform a remote notarization act under new Part 4A, Article 2, GS Chapter 10B (currently, limited to black and white copies). 

    Effective January 1, 2022. Authorizes the Secretary to begin rulemaking to implement new Part 4A, Article 2, GS Chapter 10B prior to that date, but prohibits temporary or permanent rules from becoming effective prior to January 1, 2022. 

    Makes conforming changes to the act's titles. 


  • Summary date: May 5 2021 - More information

    House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes. 

    Revises new Article 4, Remote Online Notarization Act, to GS Chapter 10B as follows. 

    Additionally prohibits a remote online notary from performing a remote online notarial act for any reason set forth in GS 10B-224(b), as enacted, which prohibits remote online notarial acts if any of four specified situations apply. 

    Regarding the authority to perform a remote online notarial act, allows for a remotely located principal physically located outside of the US to have the principal's electronic signature confirm to the remote online notary that the requested remote online notarial act and the electronic document are related to a property right, title, or interest granted by an entity of the US government or a US court, as an alternative to the four other confirmation types permitted for those principals. Now provides that a remote online notarization performed by a remote online notary of the State is governed by state laws (previously more specifically provided for the validity of such notarizations).

    Regarding the requirements and procedures for the remote online notary to verify the identity of the principal, allows for satisfactory evidence of the principal's identity by two forms of multifactor authentication, identity proofing and credential analysis (was two forms of multifactor identification), as approved by the Secretary of State. 

    Regarding the requirements for using electronic notarization and conducting remote online notarization, makes changes to consistently refer to a remote online notarization, remote online notarial act, and communication technology recording, as used throughout the act. 

    Now requires a remote online notary to retain the required electronic journal, upon resignation, revocation, or suspension, in accordance with the electronic journaling requirements of remote online notaries under new GS 10B-230, in addition to new GS 10B-231, regarding required security measures of remote online notaries. Authorizes a remote online notary to designate a steward (was custodian) to maintain and backup the electronic journal, retain and backup communication technology recordings, or provide methods for the remote online notary to access and/or export the electronic journal or communication technology recordings. Makes conforming changes to refer to the designated steward.

    Additionally now requires a remote online notary to designate a steward third-party vendor approved by the Secretary to receive and maintain the notary's electronic journal and all other notarial records for the 10-year retention period, with the journal and other notarial records required to be transmitted by the notary or the notary's personal representative or guardian or other person in possession, to the steward, upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of the commission, or the notary's death or adjudication as incompetents. Makes conforming changes. 

    Regarding security measures of remote online notaries and the Secretary, to consistently refer to communication technology, communication technology recordings, and remote online notarial acts, as context requires and consistent with the act. 


  • Summary date: May 3 2021 - More information

    Enacts new Article 4, Remote Online Notarization Act, to GS Chapter 10B as follows. Sets forth defined terms. Provides that the Notary Public Act (Article 1) and the Electronic Notary Act (Article 2) apply to all acts authorized under the new Article, except in case of conflict, in which the provisions of the new Article control. 

    Sets qualifications for remote online notary registration to be those for electronic notary registration under Part 2 of Article 2. Authorizes a remote online notary to perform acknowledgements, jurats, verifications or proofs, and oaths or affirmations with respect to tangible records and electronic documents through means of communication technology, defined as an electronic device, process, or system that allows a remote online notary and a remotely located principal to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound using audiovisual technology and that makes reasonable accommodation for principals with vision, hearing, or speech impairments. Allows a registered remote online notary to perform these notarial acts as an electronic notarization under Article 2. Prohibits a remote online notary from performing a remote online notarial act if the principal is not personally known to the notary or identified by satisfactory evidence or any reason set forth in GS 10B-20 (limitations of notary publics). Establishes requirements for the use of communication technology for remote online notarization, and requires ensuring security measures. Requires principals to use the communication technology the remote online notary has selected.

    Limits the remote online notary's authority to perform a remote online notarial act to when the remote online notary is physically located in the state and the remotely located principal is physically located in the state, outside of the state but within the United States, or outside of the United States if the remote online notary has no actual knowledge of the remote online notarial act being prohibited in the jurisdiction in which the remotely located principal is physically located, and the remotely located principal placing an electronic signature, as defined, on the electronic document confirms to the remote online notary that the requested remote online notarial act and the electronic document are either: (1) part of or pertaining to a matter to be filed with or is currently before a court, governmental entity, or other entity in the United States; (2) related to real property in the state; (3) related to property other than real property located in the United States; or (4) related to a transaction substantially connected to the United States that does not involve the transfer of real property. Provides for state laws to govern the validity of a remote online notarization performed by a remote online notary of the state.

    Establishes the requirements and procedure for remote online notarial acts, as well as prohibited notarial acts if certain circumstances are present. Provides that failure to comply with the requirements of the remote online notarization does not invalidate the notarial act or the electronic records that were notarized, but it does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record. Provides for confidentiality of the principal's documents. Details requirements and procedures for the remote online notary to verify the identity of the principal. Allows a remote online notary to require the principal to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the principal's identity. 

    Enumerates six components that must be attached to, or logically associated with, the electronic document by the remote online notary, which must be immediately perceptible and reproducible in the electronic record to which the remote online notary's electronic signature is attached, including the notary's commission information and electronic signature and the completed wording of the specified notarial certificates, as appropriate.

    Provides requirements for using electronic notarization and conducting remote online notarization. Requires each electronic notarization to include a communication technology recording. 

    Details electronic journaling requirements for remote online notaries performing remote online notarizations for each remote online notarization, deemed the exclusive property of the remote online notary. Requires a remote online notary or the notary's guardian, conservator, agent, or personal representative, or a contracted third party, to retain a communication technology recording of the performance of each remote online notarial act for 10 years after the performance of the notarial act. Provides required terms for third-party contracts for communication technology recording storage. Provides for retention of the electronic journal  upon resignation or revocation or suspension of the remote online notary's commission. Provides for designation of a custodian for acts associated with electronic journaling. Provides for transmission of the electronic journal to the Secretary upon death or adjudication of incompetency of a current or former remote online notary. Details security requirements of remote online notaries. Requires surrender of the electronic journal upon termination of employment, with the duty to maintain an accurate backup of the journal for at least 10 years. Provides required action following discovery of any permanent loss of data, unauthorized use, loss of use, or compromised security of the electronic journal. Provides for suspension of the notary's commission for failure to comply with a records request of the Department of State within 30 days until the Secretary reinstates the commission. Directs that all notarial records required by statute or rule be delivered to the Secretary upon resignation, revocation, or expiration, or death of a notary.

    Details security measures required of the Secretary. Allows the Secretary to establish guidelines for the secure storage of the electronic journal and communication technology recordings associated with notarial acts that use standard encryption technologies; establish any necessary additional guidelines for identity proofing and credential analysis; establish standards and processes for the technology communication to allow secure real-time communication; establish standards for tamper-evident technologies; require use of a communication technology provided by a third-party vendor that has presented evidence of compliance with industry standards; adopt rules to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of remote online notarizations, such as imposing additional educational requirements; and adopt rules regarding the performance of a notarial act as specified. Requires technology selected by a remote online notary, and communication technology or identity proofing selected by the notary, to conform with standards established by the Secretary. 

    Deems a paper or tangible copy of an electronic document that a licensed attorney has certified to be in a tamper-evident format for which the attorney has detected no changes or errors in the electronic signature or other information in the electronic document, personally printed or supervised printing of the electronic document onto paper or other tangible medium, and has not made any changes or modifications to the electronic document or to the paper or tangible copy thereof other than the certification described [subsection (b)] to satisfy legal requirements that, as a condition of recording, filing, or submission, the document must comply with as to three specified criteria, including that the document is an original or in writing [subsection (a)]. Requires State and local officials charged with recordation to record a paper or tangible copy of a document otherwise entitled to be recorded, provided certification by a licensed attorney of the electronic document evidenced by certification that complies with three requirements. Provides a standard form of certificate which meets the requirements for certification; deems such a certificate attached to or made a part of a paper or tangible document prima facie evidence that the requirements of subsection (b) have been satisfied with respect to the document. Provides for the statute's application to real property. Defines document.

    Provides for laws and court and NC State Bar opinions relating to the unauthorized practice of law to be unaffected by the new Article, including laws and opinions concerning real estate transactions. Explicitly prohibits a remote online notary who is not an NC licensed attorney from rendering services or advice that constitutes the practice of law. 

    Makes conforming changes to GS 10B-2.

    Effective January 1, 2022. 


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