ALTA-supported SECURE Notarization Act Reintroduced in House

June 17, 2021

U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), along with 28 other members of the House of Representatives, reintroduced the bipartisan Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2021.

HR 3962 would:

  1. Permit immediate nationwide use of RON
  2. Create national minimum standards for its use
  3. Provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON

The minimum standards require multi-factor authentication that includes knowledge-based authentication and credential analysis, use of tamper-evident technology and an audio-visual recording of the notarial act.

If passed, the legislation would not preempt state laws that adhere to minimum consumer protections, such as laws based on RULONA (Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts of 2018). The SECURE Notarization Act also does not interfere with a state’s sovereignty to authorize or regulate RON. The legislation allows states the flexibility to add additional requirements through legislation or regulation. States can set higher standards than the national mini-mum framework found in the SECURE Notarization Act.

On May 13, Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the SECURE Notarization Act of 2021 (S. 1625) in the Senate.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses have been forced to rapidly adapt to a new normal, and the real estate industry is no exception. One of the title industry’s most important tools in this process has been remote online notarization,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “We applaud the leadership of Reps. Dean and Armstrong for recognizing the clear benefits of extending RON access to all Americans and introducing this bipartisan legislation, which offers a safe and secure alternative to execute real estate and mortgage transactions. By passing the SECURE Notarization Act, we can take a much-needed step into the future by modernizing the notarization process with a secure system that has proven to meet consumer needs and expectations.”

Joining as original cosponsors on the House bill are: Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Jim Banks (R-IN), Andy Barr (R-KY), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Bob Good (R-VA), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), David Kustoff (R-TN), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Alex X. Mooney (R-WV), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), David Scott (D-GA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), William Timmons (R-SC), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Ann Wager (R-MO) and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA).

An ALTA survey conducted of major vendors working in the remote notarization space found that use of RON increased 547% during 2020 when compared with 2019. This increase can be attributed to heightened demand for RON during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the fact that 35 states have passed permanent laws authorizing its use. An additional three states recently passed RON legislation but have yet not promulgated regulations.

RON is a convenient alternative to traditional in-person notarization for all consumers, but it is especially beneficial to consumers who are unable to easily travel to access notarial services.

“There is a need and demand for this approach to notarization throughout the United States,” Tomb said. “The SECURE Notarization Act allows businesses and consumers the ability to execute critical documents using two-way audiovisual communication. Current requirements for a signer to physically be in the presence of a notary are often impractical and sometimes impossible due to social distancing limitations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other roadblocks for in-person signing, like overseas military service and time constraints.”

We Need Your Help

ALTA needs strong, bipartisan support for H.R. 3962 in order for the House to take action on this bill.  Please contact your representative today and request that they co-sponsor this important bill. 

Contact Your U.S. Representative

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].