May 1, 2020 – FROM THE BOARD OF LAILTA:
We are concerned with the current bills in the legislature regarding Remote Online Notary, one is filed in the Senate, and there are two filed in the House. The two in the House are substantially the same, however LAILTA supports HB 274 with suggested amendments from the La Law Institute, a copy of which is here. Below is a brief discussion on the current state of the bill and the urgency to move forward as suggested in the email.
This bill will be in the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure as early as next week, May 4 to 8…
The Law Institute and other interested parties have been discussing the RON issue for several years, about five to be exact. The bill currently before the House Committee on Civil Law is the product of several years work by the Law Institute committee which consists of members from state banks, national lenders, title agents, title underwriters, notaries, real estate agents and vendors of RON platforms. Much consideration has been given to all aspects of this issue, no stone has been left unturned. LAILTA has as one of its tenets “…safeguards against the eroding nature of title examination and underwriting standards and help to keep title insurance claims in check…” We firmly believe that HB 274 is the best RON legislation to accomplish this tenet. Please read below and contact your legislator, and members of the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee to support the bill with the Law Institute amendments. https://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/CivilLaw
I am reaching out to all resident Louisiana title agents in regards to the currently-pending RON bill, HB 274, which was drafted by the Law Institute Study Committee on RON. In particular, I am reaching out to inform you of some amendments to HB 274 that the Law Institute will likely be proposed. As many of you are already aware, the SECURE Notarization Act—a federal bill currently pending before Congress—seeks to authorize remote online notarization nationwide. Importantly, this bill would authorize remote online notarization without providing any exclusion of authentic acts from such a scheme. Essentially, without a countervailing state law in place, the SECURE Notarization Act would allow authentic acts to be performed via RON in Louisiana. Accordingly, it is imperative that we ensure the SECURE Notarization Act does not become effective without our own legislation becoming effective alongside it. HB 274 as currently written provides an effective date of February 1, 2022, so as to allow the Secretary of State time to promulgate regulations. This is the issue that the aforementioned amendments address. Specifically, the Law Institute has drafted a temporary, emergency version of 35:625 that allows the bill to take effect prior to the promulgation of regulations. If the SECURE Notarization Act is indeed passed, special effective dates ensure that our bill will automatically kick in with this alternative 35:625—which will remain effective until February 1, 2022, when the Secretary will promulgate regulations, at which point our original 35:625 will become effective. The emergency version of 35:625 will only become effective if the SECURE Notarization Act is passed; if this federal bill is not passed, our RON-enabling legislation will take effect, as originally contemplated, on February 1, 2022.
In addition to this alternative 35:625 and these special effective dates, the Law Institute has also added language to 35:6 that clarifies that authentic acts may not be performed via RON by foreign notaries. The Law Institute felt that such a statement had become a necessity in light of the fact that RON has now been authorized in some form or fashion—be it by legislative or executive action—in 45 states. Please note that this amendment is not contingent upon anything; it will go into effect automatically, upon the governor’s signature.
To view a copy of the bill with the amendments incorporated click here —we welcome any questions or commentary you may have. Additionally, we expect that HB 274 will come before the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee sometime this coming week. You will be updated once we have received a more concrete timeline.
We ask that you cut and paste from this email and send emails to members of the House Committee on Civil Law, see link provided above, to support the Amended Act as it is attached, and for the reason discussed above.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
On behalf of the Board of LAILTA
Chad F. Reynolds
Louisiana Association of Independent Land Title Agents