NH Senate Bill 94 | NNA
Law

NH Senate Bill 94

Notary Law Update: NH Senate Bill 94

State: New Hampshire

Summary:

Senate Bill 94 construes the words "under oath" to mean that a matter is made under penalty of perjury without having a Notary or notarial officer administer the oath when used in connection with a document filed electronically with the court.

Signed:  May 05, 2015

Effective:  May 05, 2015

Chapter: 22

Affects:

Creates new Section 21:52 of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated.

Changes:
  1. Provides that the words “under oath” when used in connection with a document to be filed with the court shall be satisfied by electronic signature “under the penalty of perjury” if the document is filed with the court electronically.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 94 weakens the administration of the notarial act related to oaths. It allows a signature made "under oath" on a document filed with the court to be made under penalty of perjury instead if it is signed using an electronic signature and filed electronically with the court. Currently, there are two movements under foot to weaken oaths and affirmations. The first is to allow oaths to be made under penalty of perjury without a Notary. A Notary's or notarial officer's intervention in administering an oath has been a longstanding protection. Simply allowing an individual in their own privacy to sign a statement under penalty of perjury removes the witnessing aspect fundamental to oaths. The second movement that weakens the notarial act is to remove any notarization requirement if a document is signed and filed electronically. The NNA has seen many bills enacted over the past few years allowing corporate, lobbyist and other miscellaneous filings to dispense with the formality of notarization in lieu of using electronic signatures. There are many benefits to using electronic signatures, but an electronic signature doesn't necessarily make a document as secure as one that is signed in front of a Notary. SB 94 brings both of these into the same case. Fortunately, the scope of this bill affects only documents filed with a court. The saving grace here is that there is oversight by the court in all in matters involving it. A judge or jury can decides if an individual has committed perjury. In private transactions, this is not the case and the involvement of a Notary is even more important.

Read the bill text.

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