Transforming Notarization in the Golden State
In a significant leap forward for California, Governor Newsom signed SB 696 into law to embrace the future of notarization – Remote Online Notarization (RON). Introduced by Senator Anthony Portantino, the passage of this legislation is a pivotal moment signaling a shift toward efficiency, convenience, and accessibility in notarial services, aligning California with 43 additional states adopting RON. In this blog post, we’ll explore the implications of this legislation and how it is set to transform notarization in the Golden State.
The Genesis of Remote Online Notarization
Remote Online Notarization allows individuals to have their documents notarized remotely, typically through secure video conferencing technology. This method of notarization offers a range of benefits, including:
- Convenience: Signers and notaries no longer need to be physically present in the exact location, enabling notarizations from the comfort of one’s home or office.
- Accessibility: RON makes notarization services accessible to individuals with mobility issues who live in remote areas or have busy schedules.
- Security: RON platforms employ stringent security measures to verify the identity of signers, often exceeding the protection of traditional notarization.
California’s Journey Toward RON
The road to embracing RON in California was a massive collaborative effort between California and national associations, organizations, and businesses. The need for legislative changes, security concerns, and the preservation of notarial integrity were central issues addressed by lawmakers. Ultimately, the passing of this legislation signifies the confidence California has in the security and reliability of RON platforms.
Key Provisions of California’s RON Legislation
While the specific details may evolve during the implementation, highlights of California’s RON legislation include
- Identity Verification: Robust identity verification processes to ensure the signer’s identity is verified with a high degree of certainty.
- Secure Technology: Using secure and approved RON platforms that adhere to stringent security standards.
- Recordkeeping: Guidelines for the retention and storage of electronic notarial records.
SB 696 will have a rolled-out implementation ending on January 1, 2030. The California Secretary of State will drive the process as we advance through regulatory and legislative vehicles over the next few years.
The Impact on Californians
The passage and implementation of SB 696 in California promises to have far-reaching effects:
- Streamlined Transactions: Real estate transactions, legal documents, and business agreements can now be notarized more efficiently.
- Consumer Convenience: Californians will benefit from the convenience of remote notarizations, particularly during the ongoing era of remote work.
- Business Growth: Adopting RON can foster business growth by reducing paperwork and bureaucracy.
- Reduced Fraud: Stringent identity verification processes in RON contribute to fraud prevention.
A New Era of Notarization
California’s decision to embrace Remote Online Notarization is a testament to the state’s commitment to innovation and efficiency. It opens doors to a new era of notarization that prioritizes convenience, accessibility, and security. As this legislation takes effect, Californians and notaries can look forward to a more streamlined and convenient notarization experience, all while preserving the integrity of notarial acts.
The passage of RON legislation in California reinforces the notion that the future of notarization is digital, secure, and accessible to all, bringing notarial services into the modern age and paving the way for similar transformations nationwide.
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina have yet to pass any RON legislation, and while Connecticut passed a RON law, it does not apply to real estate.
The Electronic Signatures Record Association (ESRA) will continue to work with the remaining states and CA Secretary of State on SB 696’s implementation while supporting the membership’s needs in the upcoming phases. Check back at our library for updates and the latest ESRA activity.