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Law

ME House Paper 1033

Notary Law Update: ME House Paper 1033

State: Maine

Summary:
House Paper 1033 continues until January 1, 2023, temporary modification of in-person notarization laws and remote notarization previously issued in Executive Order 37 of 2020 and extended by proclamation.

Signed:  June 23, 2021

Effective:  June 23, 2021

Chapter: Public Law 337

Affects:
Temporarily adds Section 961 to Title 4 of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.

Changes:

Note: H 1033 extended Governor Mills’ Executive Order 37 virtually verbatim, but with the changes noted below. To read the main provisions of the new law, see the NNA’s new law update on Executive Order 37.

  1. Requires the Signatory to send the original signed document directly to the witness within 96 hours (previously 48 hours) after the signatory signs the document, or to the Notary if no witness is involved.
  2. Requires the witness to sign the document within 96 hours (previously 48 hours) after receiving the original document from the Signatory, and sent it to the second witness, if any, or to the Notary if no other witness is involved.
  3. Requires the Notary, upon review of the original document and satisfactory comparison with the faxed or electronic document provided on the date of signing, to notarize the original document within 96 hours (previously 48 hours) of receipt, and clarifies that the official date and time of the notarization shall be the date and time when the Notary witnessed the signature via the two-way audio-video technology.
  4. Requires the Notary to add the following language below the Notary and or Witness signature lines: "Notarized (and/or Witnessed) remotely, in accordance with Maine Revised Statutes, Title 4 section 961".
  5. Requires the Secretary of State to study remote and online notarization and develop recommendations for permanently implementing remote and online notarization, and submit a report by February 1, 2022, covering the recommendations of the study and any other recommendations related to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts to the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.
Analysis:

Maine Governor Mills issued a lengthy and detailed executive order that temporarily allows Maine Notaries to perform notarial acts on paper documents for individuals who are remote to the Notary in April 2020. After many extensions of this order by proclamation, the Maine Legislature stepped in and passed H 1033a to extend these provisions, with the changes noted above, until January 1, 2023.

Read the bill text.

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