Bill Summary for S 680 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Apr 12 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 680 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 7, 2021
AN ACT TO ALLOW REMOTE ONLINE NOTARIZATION.
Intro. by Britt, Daniel, McInnis.

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Bill summary

Enacts Article 4 to GS Chapter 10B, to be cited as the Remote Online Notarization Act. 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, the provisions of the new Article control. 

Establishes qualifications for remote online notary registration, including that the individual holds a valid commission as notary public in the state, complies with Articles 1 and 2, satisfies the instruction requirements of GS 10B-107, and submits an electronic registration form. Provides for denial based on grounds set forth for the denial of notarial commission under GS 10B-5(d). Requires prior notification of the Secretary of State (Secretary) of the notary's capability to perform electronic notarial acts and the technology the notary intends to use before performing remote online notarial acts. Provides for simultaneous registration or re-registration of the capability to perform online notarial acts with applications for recommissioning under Articles 1 and 2. Provides for required content of the electronic application. Establishes a duty to update registration information. Sets the application fee at $10, in addition to the fee for notary commission and registration as an electronic notary under Articles 1 and 2.

Requires notaries to take at least two hours of instruction on notarial laws, procedures, and technology as they pertain to remote online notarization, and pass an exam of the course, subject to Secretary approval. Provides for additional courses and approvals as required for various notarial communication technologies. Requires the Secretary to maintain an electronic database of all registered remote online notaries.

Requires registration of any device employing an approved communication technology, which must remain valid for the notary to continue performing remote online notarizations. Provides for notice requirements regarding new technology registrations.

Authorizes acknowledgements, jurats, verifications or proofs, and oaths or affirmations to be performed by means of online communication technology with respect to both tangible records and electronic documents; excludes eight acts, such as a self-proved will, health care directives and health care powers of attorney, and a codicil to a will. Further authorizes the notary, upon registration under the new Article, to perform the authorized acts as an electronic notarization pursuant to Article 2. Requires that the remote online notary either personally know the principal or be identified to the remote online notary by satisfactory evidence, as specified. Makes the prohibitions of GS 10B-20 applicable to remote online notaries. Establishes requirements for the use of communication technology for remote online notarial acts, and requires ensuring security measures. Requires principals to use the communication technology the remote online notary has selected. Establishes the requirements and procedure for remote online notarial acts, as well as prohibited notarial acts if certain circumstances are presented. 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. Requires identity proofing through a third party and credential analysis, as those terms are defined, to comply with the statute's requirements, as specified. 

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 for requirements for using electronic notarization and conducting remote online notarization. Sets maximum fees at up to $50 per signature for acknowledgements, jurats, verifications or proofs, and oaths or affirmations. Specifies that these fees are in addition to the maximum fees for electronic notarization. 

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 communication technology recording of the performance of each remote online notarial act. 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. Directs 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, with consideration given as described. Requires providers of communication technology, identity proofing, credential analysis, or storage to appoint the Secretary as the provider's agent for service of process in any civil action in the state related to the notarial act, with the Secretary authorized to substitute another agency or private party to act as the agent. 

Deems a paper or tangible copy of an electronic document that a notary public has certified to satisfy any legal requirements that, as a condition of recording, the document must comply with as to three specified criteria, including that the document is an original or in writing. Authorizes a commissioned notary public to certify that a paper or tangible copy of an electronic document is a true and correct copy of the electronic document provided that the notary has confirmed that the electronic document is in a tamper-evident format and the notary satisfies three criteria as to the document [subsection (b)]. Requires State and local officials charged with recordation to record a paper or tangible copy of a document that is otherwise entitled to be recorded, provided certification by a notary public of an electronic document evidenced by a notarial certificate that complies with five specified 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 statutes and acts taken under the statute's application to real property. Provides four defined terms. 

Makes conforming changes to GS 10B-2. Increases the maximum fees set under GS 10B-32 for notarial acts from up to $5 per principal signature to up to $10 per principal signature for acknowledgements, jurats, verifications or proofs, and from up to $5 per person to up to $10 per person for oaths or affirmations without a signature.

Effective January 1, 2022. 

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