Location: HCR 0112
LLS 17-0190.02: Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts
COMMITTEE ON COLORADO COMMISSION ON UNIFORM STATE LAWS
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12:53 PM -- LLS 17-0190.02: Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts
12:59 PM -- The commission explained the history behind the different versions of the bill. The .01 version consists of the 2016 Amendments to RULONA approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) at the annual meeting. As Colorado had not yet adopted RULONA, a .02 version of the bill was drafted and consists of RULONA without the 2016 Amendments. This version was approved for introduction at the November meeting. Since the last meeting, stakeholders have contacted commission members to advocate for allowing remote notarization in Colorado. In addition, the commission has been made aware of another bill being drafted regarding remote notarization. A .03 version of the bill, consisting RULONA with the 2016 amendments (allowing remote notarization of documents), was drafted in advance of this meeting to see if the two bills could be combined and meet commission approval, thus eliminating the need for two separate bills. The commission also has the option of introducing the .02 version and then adding the 2016 amendments to the bill by amendment during committee hearings.
01:16 PM -- Adam Pase, Notarize, Inc., supports the .03 version of the act with the provisions for remote notarization. The notarization industry plays an important and integral role in the American economy with more than a billion notarizations each year but the industry is not keeping up with technology. It needs better tools, security, and record keeping.
01:22 PM -- Michael Chodos, Notarize, Inc., emphasized that the uniform act provides a platform for change and gives the Secretary of State’s office authority to bring industry standards up to speed as technology allows. It offers remote notarization as an option and not a mandate. Notarization is critical to commerce. Other states provide remote notarization services and consider the services to be safe and efficient.
A video demonstration was offered and the commission decided to view the video at the end of the meeting.
01:37 PM -- Tim Griesmer, DOS, the DOS does not support remote notarization at this time. It has concerns with identification, verification, security, and viewing standards of remote notarization as it currently exists. There were also concerns regarding record keeping retention and the ability to investigate complaints. The DOS does strongly support the .02 version of the act and would like to see the commission move forward with that version. If the commission decides to proceed forward with remote notarization legislation, the DOS would prefer to have the commission introduce a second bill for those provisions.
01:48 PM -- Megan Waples, DOS, answered questions on current record keeping and storage. The DOS does request notary journals when complaints are filed and generally there are 50 to 75 complaints a year. She pointed out that the .02 version of the act incudes additional requirements regarding journal information and the security of journals, and expressed concerns regarding keeping electronic journals secure while also making them available.
01:53 PM -- Letitia Maxfield, Colorado Bar Association (CBA), also voiced support for the .02 version of the act. The Bar would like time to review the 2016 amendments to see how they fit within Colorado law, their chief concern being able to maintain the validity of legal documents.
01:55 PM -- John Burrus, Independent Bankers of Colorado, also supports the .02 version and has similar concerns to those already voiced regarding remote notarizations. He added that they are open to finding a system of remote notarization that works well and wondered how this act relates to the uniform unsworn documents act.
01:59 PM -- Diane Evans, Land Title Association of Colorado, stated that her industry sees transacting business via remote notarization as a goal, but currently see shortfalls in its implementation and believes more study is needed.
- The commission had questions regarding digital record storage, including the security and accessibility of records, who stores them, and for how long. They were told that, electronic records were stored electronically in a portable document format (pdf) with signatures and notary seals. The document is digitally sealed making the document “tamper evident”, meaning that any attempt to alter the document would be visually apparent. The commission acknowledged that technology is moving in the direction of remote notarization, but decided to move forward with the introduction of the .02 version of the uniform act (without the remote notarization language) in the Senate with Commissioners Gardner and Wist as prime sponsors. The commission agreed in the value of hosting stakeholder meetings regarding remote notarization now and acknowledged that the commission bill may be significantly amended post-introduction or amended by the introduction of a second bill adding remote notarization language. The commission requested to be invited to any stakeholder meetings held.