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Law

PA House Bill 2370

Notary Law Update: PA House Bill 2370

State: Pennsylvania

Summary:

House Bill 2370 authorizes Notaries Public in Pennsylvania, effective immediately, to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals (remote online notarization).

Signed:  October 29, 2020

Effective:  October 29, 2020

Chapter: Act No. 97

Affects:
Amends Section 304 and 320 of and creates Section 306.1 in title 57 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

Changes:
  1. Defines “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States” and “remotely located individual.”
  2. Requires a Notary to notify the Department of State that the Notary will be performing notarial acts facilitated by communication technology before the Notary performs first such notarization and requires the Notary to identify the technology the Notary will use.
  3. Provides that if the Department of State has adopted standards for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, the communication technology and identity proofing must conform to the standards.
  4. Authorizes Notaries to certify that a paper printout of an electronically signed and notarized record is a true and correct copy of the electronic record.
  5. Clarifies that a remotely located individual may comply with the requirement to appear personally before a notarial officer by appearing before a Notary by means of communication technology.
  6. Provides that a Notary may verify the identity of a remotely located individual by personal knowledge, the oath or affirmation of a credible witness appearing physically before the Notary or by means of communication technology, or two different types of identity proofing processes or services.
  7. Provides that a Notary who performs a notarial act for a remotely located individual must reasonably be able to identify the record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or executed a signature.
  8. Provides that a Notary who performs a notarial act for a remotely located individual must create an audio-visual recording of the notarial act that includes all interactions between the Notary and the remotely located individual.
  9. Provides that if the remotely located individual for whom a Notary performs a notarial act using communication technology is located outside the United States, the record that is the subject of the notarial act must be filed with or relate to a matter before a court, governmental entity, public official or other entity under the jurisdiction of the United States, or involve property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or a transaction substantially connected with the United States.
  10. Provides that if the remotely located individual for whom a Notary performs a notarial act using communication technology is located outside the United States the notarial act must not be prohibited by the foreign state where the remotely located individual is located.
  11. Requires a notarial certificate for a notarial act involving a remotely located individual to indicate the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology.
  12. Clarifies that a short form certificate provided in Section 316 is sufficient to be used for a notarial act for a remotely located individual if the certificate is in the form provided in Section 316 and contains the following or similar statement, “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology” or the certificate complies with regulations promulgated by the Department of State.
  13. Requires a Notary, a guardian, a conservator or an agent of a Notary, or a personal representative of a deceased Notary to retain the audio-visual recordings of remote online notarizations or cause the recordings to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the Notary for at least 10 years after the recording is created or as otherwise required by regulations adopted by the Department of State.
  14. Requires the Department of State to adopt regulations related to notarial acts for remotely located individuals.
  15. Provides that the regulations issued by the Department of State must (a) prescribe the means of performing a notarial act involving communication technology to communicate with a remotely located individual; (b) establish standards for communication technology and identity proofing, including the use of credential analysis, dynamic knowledge-based authentication, biometrics and other means of identification; (c) establish requirements or procedures to approve providers of communication technology and the process of identity proofing; and (d) establish standards and periods for the retention of an audio-visual recordings.
Analysis:

Pennsylvania becomes the thirtieth state to enact permanent remote online notarization statutes. House Bill 2370 tracks very closely to the provisions of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts provisions related to notarizations for remotely located individuals, a term that is defined in the new law. The statute requires the Notary to notify the Department of State before performing these notarizations and identify the technology the Notary will use. When performing these notarizations, the Notary must verify the identity of the remotely located individual through personal knowledge, a credible witness, or two forms of identity proofing (another defined term). A Notary must keep an audio-visual recording of the notarial act in addition to the journal that is required for any notarial act. If the remotely located individual is located outside the United States, certain additional requirements must be met.

House Bill 2370 takes effect immediately. Section 4 of House Bill 2370 states that upon the effective date of the act, the Department of State “shall immediately authorize a notary public to conduct notarial acts in the manner authorized … if the notary gives notice to the Department of State as required … and uses a communication and identity proofing [technology] designated in the Department of State’s March 25, 2020, notice of limited suspension of the requirements of 57 Pa.C.S. § 306, or that is designated in a list of additional acceptable technologies subsequently adopted by the Department of State. A notary public may use any other technology within 30 days of giving notice as required under 57 Pa.C.S. § 306.1(f)(1), unless the Department of State prohibits the use of the technology for good cause for failure to satisfy the requirements … or determines that the use of the technology should be delayed pending an evaluation of the technology. This section (Section 4) shall expire upon the adoption of regulations by the Department of State …”

Read the bill text.

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