U.S. House Subcommittee to Discuss Remote Online Notarization Bill During Hearing

May 24, 2022

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on May 26 will consider the ALTA-supported Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2021 (SECURE Notarization Act) as a part of a legislative hearing on various bills.

Titled “Legislative Hearing to Protect Consumers and Strengthen the Economy,” the committee will consider eight other bills in addition to SECURE, which has more than 95 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and Senate. ALTA expects additional cosponsors following more than 140 meetings with members of Congress and their staff during the ALTA Advocacy Summit where attendees discussed the many benefits of remote online notarization (RON).

ALTA member Michael O’Neal, vice president of corporate underwriting at First American Title Insurance Co., will testify during the hearing about the SECURE Notarization Act and the importance of RON. 

In his written testimony submitted to the subcommittee, O'Neal wrote that before the pandemic the title and lending industries began undergoing a digital transformation to provide consumers with convenient options when buying a home.

"One of these new tools is remote online notarization," O'Neal wrote. "The SECURE Notarization Act is a bipartisan bill that increases access to RON for consumers. Just like it sounds, remote online notarization takes the traditional notarial process and moves it online—allowing a signer to get a document securely notarized over a webcam or smart phone. Americans sign documents and engage in countless e-commerce transactions every day using electronic signatures thanks to Congress’s adoption of E-SIGN in 2000. Now is the time to do the same for notarizations." 

ALTA CEO Diane Tomb added, "The SECURE Notarization Act is an important, common-sense piece of legislation that would allow the immediate nationwide use of RON and increase accessibility for Americans across the United States and overseas. The national framework established by this bill would complement existing state laws, allowing states the flexibility and freedom to implement their own RON standards. By establishing clear standards, it would provide homebuyers and sellers confidence that a virtual notarization experience is just as secure as visiting a notary in-person.”

The SECURE Notarization Act would:

  • Authorize every notary in the U.S. to perform RON.
  • Create national standards requiring use of tamper-evident technology, multifactor authentication of a signer and retention of an audio-visual recording of the notarial act.
  • Allow signers outside the U.S., such as military personnel and their families, to easily and securely notarize documents.
  • Complement existing state laws, while allowing states the flexibility and freedom to implement their own RON standards.
  • Follow a similar structure of complementary state/federal legislation, such as the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).

The SECURE Notarization Act would not:

  • Impede consumer choice.
  • Infringe upon state data privacy laws.
  • Impact state law on testamentary wills and trusts or the practice of law.
  • Favor specific technology or restrict the use of new and emerging advancements

The hearing will be held at 12 p.m. ET on May 26. It can be livestreamed here.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.