Letter from Chuck Bowman – An Update on Remote Online Notary

Chuck Bowman gives and update on online remote notary

As president of the Missouri Land Title Association for FY19, I want to provide an update on the Remote Online Notary (RON) ad hoc committee for the Missouri Land Title Association (MLTA). We have reviewed SB 140, which is mirrored by HB 495. These are the secretary of state’s bills that completely overhaul the existing notary statutes and attempt to add RON.

The following talking points explain why the Missouri Land Title Association opposes these bills and has filed an alternative bill, SB 409 (ALTA/MBA Model) that addresses these concerns:

There is no definition of RON in SB 140 or HB 495, and in fact, the bills do not properly distinguish between electronic notary (signed and notarized electronically, but notary and signor are physically in the same location) and remote online notary (signed and notarized electronically, but the notary and signor are in different locations communicating through audio/video conferencing technology). This is one of the biggest and most extensive problems with the bill, as the terminology throughout the bill creates confusion between these two, very different types of notarial acts. This issue also makes the secretary of state’s bills very difficult to amend.

SB 140 and HB 495 do not have a papering out provision. This is a provision that would allow a remotely notarized document to be printed and recorded if the county recorder does not accept electronic recordings.

SB 140 and HB 495 do not clarify that the location of the Missouri remote notary be within the state of Missouri when notarizing a document regarding Missouri property, potentially allowing notaries from other states to perform remote notarizations for consumers in the state of Missouri for Missouri property.

SB 140 and HB 495 do not have retention standards for the audio and video recordings.

SB 140 and HB 495 do not put minimum authentication standards in the law, but rather rely on regulatory adoption of standards.

We know that the secretary of state would like to address some of these issues in the regulations, but we prefer to have these minimum items in the legislation, which affords us greater protection in the courts than do regulations.

– Chuck Bowman, President