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NY Senate 1780

Law

State: New York
Signed: December 22, 2021

Effective: June 22, 2022
Chapter: 767

Summary

Senate 1780 authorizes Notaries to perform electronic notarial acts and use video conference technology to notarize electronic documents for remote signers. 

Affects

Adds new Section 137-a and amends Section 136 of the Executive Law.

Changes

Definitions

  1. Adds new definitions for the terms “communication technology,” “electronic document,” “electronic notarial act,” “electronic Notary Public,” or “electronic Notary,” and “electronic signature.”
  2. Clarifies that “electronic” has the meaning set forth in State Technology Law Section 302.

Identifying Document Signers

  1. Requires the methods for identifying document signers for an electronic notarization to be the same as the methods required for a paper-based notarization, but requires an electronic notarization conducted using communication technology to meet the standards approved by the Secretary of State through regulation. 
  2. Requires an Electronic Notary to keep a copy of the recording of any video and audio conference used to ascertain a document signer’s identity in a remote notarization and make a notation of the type of any other identification used.
  3. Requires a Notary Public to keep a recording of a remote notarization for a period of at least 10 years from the date of the electronic notarization.

 Registration to Perform Electronic Notarial Acts; Status Changes

  1. This bill requires a Notary Public who wishes to perform any electronic notarial acts to register the capability to notarize electronically with the Secretary of State in a form prescribed by the Secretary of State before performing electronic notarial acts.
  2. This bill requires a Notary Public registering to perform electronic notarial acts to provide the following information to the Secretary of State Notary Processing Unit: (a) the applicant’s name as currently commissioned; (b) a complete mailing address; (c) the expiration date of Notary Public commission;(d) the signature of the Notary Public; (d) the applicant’s email address; (e) a description of the electronic technology/technologies to be used in attaching the Notary Public’s electronic signature to the electronic document; and (f) an exemplar of the Notary Public’s electronic signature, which must contain the Notary Public’s name and any necessary instructions or techniques that allow the Notary Public’s electronic signature to the read.
  3. Requires a Notary Public, within 5 days after changing the Notary’s email address, to notify the Secretary of State by electronic means, and further requires the notification to be signed with the Notary’s official electronic signature.

 Electronic Notarial Acts

  1. Authorizes any notarial act authorized by Section 135 of the Executive Law to be performed electronically if (a) the document may legally be signed with an electronic signature, and (b) the Electronic Notary is in the state of NY, regardless of the location of the document signer.
  2. Clarifies that an electronic notarial act performed using communication technology satisfies the requirement that a document signer personally appear before, be in the presence of, or be in a single time and place with a Notary at the time of the performance of the notarial act.
  3. Prohibits a Notary or business employing the services of a Notary operating in New York from exclusively requiring notarial transactions to utilize electronic notarization.
  4. Authorizes the Secretary of State to set a fee for electronic notarial services by regulation.

 Electronic Signature and Certificate of Remote Notarization

  1. Requires a Notary to apply an electronic signature when performing an electronic notarial act
  2. Requires the Notary’s electronic signature to be attached to the electronic document in such a way that removal or alteration of the electronic signature is detectable and will render evidence of alteration of the electronic document.
  3. Clarifies that any evidence of alteration of the document may invalidate the electronic notarial act.
  4. Clarifies that a Notary’s electronic signature is deemed to be reliable if it meets the standards approved by regulation by the Secretary of State.
  5. Requires a Notary’s electronic signature to be (a) unique to the Notary; (b) capable of independent verification; (c) retained under the Notary’s sole control; (d) attached to the electronic document; and (e) linked to the date in such a manner that any subsequent alterations to the underlying document are detectable and may invalidate the electronic notarial act.
  6. Prohibits the use of a Notary’s electronic signature for any purpose other than the performance of electronic notarial acts.
  7. Requires a Notary’s electronic signature to conform to any standards adopted by the Secretary of State.
  8. Requires the remote online notarial certificate for an electronic notarial act to state that the person making the acknowledgment or making the oath appeared remotely online.

County Clerk Recording Provisions

  1. Allows a paper copy of an electronic record that complies with the requirements of the new law to be accepted for recording if the law requires as a condition for recording that the document be an original, printed on paper or another tangible medium, or be in writing.
  2. Clarifies that an electronic signature satisfies any requirement as a condition for recording that a document must be signed.
  3. Clarifies that the requirement that a document or a signature associated with a document be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform that act, and all other information required to be included, is attached to or logically associated with the document or signature.
  4. Clarifies that a physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal is not required to accompany an electronic signature if the Notary has attached a compliant electronic notarial certificate. 

Regulations

  1. Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations on approved communication technology standards. 
  2. Requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules necessary to establish standards, procedures, practices, forms, and records relating to a Notary’s electronic signature.
  3. Requires the regulations for identifying remotely located individuals to include, but not be limited to, the following: (a) the signal transmission used in an electronic notarization must be secure from interception through lawful means by anyone other than the persons communicating and (b) the signal transmission must be live, in real-time.
  4. Requires the regulations to be adopted by the Secretary of State to include that the technology used in an electronic notarization must permit the Notary to communicate with and identify the remotely located individual at the time of the notarial act.
Analysis
Senate 1780 permanently authorizes electronic notarization in New York. Much of the new law requires the Secretary of State to adopt regulations in advance of the June 30, 2022, effective date to implement the new law. The regulations will cover matters including how a remotely located individual is identified, rules related to a Notary’s electronic signature, and standards for the use of communication technology. A Notary who wants to perform remote notarizations must register before performing remote notarizations.

Read the Text of Senate 1780.  

On February 24, 2022, the Governor signed Senate 7780 (Chapter 104), a chapter amendment to this new law, that accomplished the following:
  • It renumbered Executive Law 137-a as enacted by this new law as Executive Law 135-c;
  • It amended  provisions of the newly renumbered Executive Law 135-c; and 
  • It delayed the effective date of this new law and the new amendments until January 31, 2023.

Read the Text of Senate 7780.  

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