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MD House Bill 663/Senate Bill 317

Legislation

State: Maryland
Signed: May 30, 2022

Effective: June 01, 2022
Chapter: 714/715

Summary

These two concurrent bills, which took effect without the Governor’s signature, authorizes the Secretary of State to increase Notary and remote notarization fees through rulemaking and authorizes Notaries to perform remote notarizations on tangible records.

Affects
Amends Sections 18-107, 18-214, 18-222, and 18-223 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (State Government).
Changes
  1. Raises the amount of the fee for an original notarial act not to exceed $25 for which the Secretary of State may establish through regulation.
  2. Authorizes a Notary or a person on behalf of a Notary to charge a maximum $50 for a remote notarization, subject to regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.
  3. Removes the restrictions on wills and trust instruments being remotely notarized.
  4. Adopts the 2021 Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) remote notarization amendments explicitly authorizing remote acknowledgments of tangible documents.
  5. Provides that ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(a)(2) is satisfied if the remotely located individual signs a declaration during the audio-visual recording of a remote notarial act on a tangible record stating that the record of which the declaration is a part or to which it is attached is the same record on which the Notary Public performed a notarial act and before whom the remotely located individual appeared by means of communication technology.
  6. Clarifies that a remote notarial act on a tangible record is effective on the date the remotely located individual signed the declaration under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(d).
  7. Clarifies that ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(c) does not preclude use of another procedure to satisfy the requirement of ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(a)(2) for a notarial act performed on a tangible record.
  8. Authorizes a Notary to administer oaths remotely, except as otherwise provided by other law, if the Notary identifies the remotely located individual under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(a)(1), creates an audio-visual recording of the individual taking the oath or affirmation, and retains or causes the retention of the recording under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(j).
  9. Clarifies that identity proofing is not required for a remote notarization for which the Notary personally knows or relies on a credible witness identified by the Notary under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-206(b).
  10. Authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt regulations to prescribe the methods for reasonable confirmation of a tangible record by a Notary.
  11. Clarifies that when necessary under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(a)(1)(iii), identity proofing and credential analysis must be performed by a reputable third party who has provided evidence to the Notary of the ability to satisfy the requirements of the law.
  12. Clarifies that when necessary under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(a)(1)(iii), identity proofing must be performed through a dynamic knowledge-based authentication that meets the requirements, as specified.
  13. Clarifies that when necessary under ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-214(a)(1)(iii), credential analysis must use public or private data sources to confirm the validity of an identification credential presented by a remotely located individual and shall meet certain minimum requirements, as specified.
  14. Provides that communication technology shall provide reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the electronic record that is the subject of the notarial act if there is an electronic record instead of a tangible record.
  15. Provides that if the notarial act is regarding an electronic record, a Notary shall attach or logically associate the Notary's electronic signature and official stamp to an electronic record by use of a digital certificate complying with the X.509 standard adopted by the International Telecommunication Union or a similar industry-standard technology.
  16. Clarifies that if the notarial act is regarding a tangible record, ACM (St. Gov’t) 18-215(b)(1) applies.
  17. Provides that notwithstanding any other provision of law, the notarization of any document under the requirements of Executive Order 20.03.30.04, authorizing remote notarizations, or Executive Order 20.09.29.01, amending the order of March 30, 2020, authorizing remote notarizations, shall be deemed valid if the notarization occurred during the time that the executive order was in effect.
Analysis

Maryland becomes the latest state to enact so-called “remote ink signed notarization” provisions by adopting the 2021 amendments to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Under the 2021 amendments and this Maryland new law, a Notary may take an acknowledgment of a signature on a tangible (paper) record. Key to attempting to make this procedure secure, the new law provides that existing Maryland law which requires the Notary to be satisfied that both the remotely located individual and Notary are signing the same record is satisfied by the remotely located individual signing a declaration under penalty of perjury that essentially provides that the Notary and individual transacted the same record. This doesn’t prove that the tangible record sent to the Notary is the same as the record signed by the remotely located individual, but it does give the Notary a safe harbor for satisfying the requirement. It also doesn’t preclude the Secretary of State from adopting a regulation stipulating other ways this requirement may be satisfied.

Senate Bill 317 also raises the amount of the fee for an original notarial act not to exceed $25 for which the Secretary of State may establish through regulation, and authorizes a Notary, subject to further regulations by the Secretary, to charge a remotely located individual a fee not to exceed $50 for a remote notarization. Before a Notary can charge these higher fees, the Secretary must adopt regulations.

Senate Bill 317 also includes a clause validating notarial acts performed under the Governor’s executive orders issued previously under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 317 became law without the Governor’s signature.

Read the text of Senate Bill 317.

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