Bill would allow electronic way of notarizing documents

Interesting article from VLW:


Legislation that would allow notaries to use an electronic means of confirming signatures on documents is making its way through the General Assembly.

Virginia could become one of the first states to authorize procedures such as real estate transactions using video and audio conference technology, coupled with electronic ID cards, for verifying a document signer’s identity.

Del. Kathy Byron, R-Campbell County and sponsor of HB2147, told a Senate committee Wednesday that the measure was sup-ported by the Virginia Bar Association, high-technology businesses and several other interest groups.

The measure’s audio and video aspects would take effect July 1, 2012 under Byron’s bill, and she said that the yearlong delay would allow businesses time to set up the technology.

Other aspects of Byron’s bill, which also would allow the use of an electronic ID card for document signers, would go into effect this year.

The National Notaries Association was the only group opposing the bill Wednesday in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

The Senate already passed a bill similar to Byron’s HB2147. That measure, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, is SB827. The language of the two bills still is evolving.

Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, opposed Byron’s bill and asked whether Virginia would, in fact, become the first state to allow electronic notaries. No one in the hearing could name another state that uses the technology.

Josh Levi, a lobbyist for the Northern Virginia Technology Council, told the panel his group supported Byron’s bill.

“The technology is out there. We have companies in Northern Virginia that can do this. We believe it will help facilitate e-commerce. It’s the future,” Levi said.

Byron said she had received e-mails from notaries who feared the measure would require them to buy expensive equipment to stay in business. That fear is unfounded, Byron said.

“Nobody is required to use it,” Byron said. “They still certainly can do their paper transactions the way they have always done,” Byron said.

In addition, she said, the electronic method allows even more security on document transactions, because the law would require that video records of the proceedings be kept on file for five years.

Please contact us if you have questions or need legal assistance.
Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C.
Charlottesville, Virginia
434-973-7474

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