Cal. No. 458

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                    January 15, 2021

        Introduced  by  Sens.  SKOUFIS, GOUNARDES, MAY, REICHLIN-MELNICK -- read
          twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
          Committee  on  Finance  --  reported  favorably  from  said committee,
          ordered to first and second report, amended on second report,  ordered
          to  a  third  reading,  and  to be reprinted as amended, retaining its
          place in the order of third reading -- reported  favorably  from  said
          committee  to  third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining
          its place in the order of third reading -- passed by Senate and deliv-
          ered to the Assembly, recalled, vote reconsidered, restored  to  third
          reading,  amended  and  ordered  reprinted, retaining its place in the
          order of third reading

        AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to  providing  for  elec-
          tronic notarization

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. The executive law is amended by adding a new section  137-a
     2  to read as follows:
     3    §  137-a. Electronic notarization. 1.  Definitions. (a) "Communication
     4  technology" means an electronic device or process  that:  (i)  allows  a
     5  notary public and a remotely located individual to communicate with each
     6  other  simultaneously  by  sight  and sound; and (ii) when necessary and
     7  consistent with other applicable law, facilitates communication  with  a
     8  remotely located individual who has a vision, hearing, or speech impair-
     9  ment.
    10    (b)  "Electronic" shall have the same meaning as set forth in subdivi-
    11  sion one of section three hundred two of the state technology law.
    12    (c) "Electronic document" means information that  is  created,  gener-
    13  ated, sent, communicated, received or stored by electronic means.
    14    (d)  "Electronic  notarial  act"  means  an  official  act by a notary
    15  public, physically present in the state of New York, on or involving  an

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 1780--C                          2

     1  electronic  document  and  using  means  authorized  by the secretary of
     2  state.
     3    (e)  "Electronic  notary public" or "electronic notary" means a notary
     4  public who has registered with the secretary of state the capability  of
     5  performing electronic notarial acts.
     6    (f) "Electronic signature" shall have the same meaning as set forth in
     7  subdivision  three  of section three hundred two of the state technology
     8  law.
     9    2. Identifying document signers.   (a)  The  methods  for  identifying
    10  document signers for an electronic notarization shall be the same as the
    11  methods  required  for a paper-based notarization; provided, however, an
    12  electronic notarization  conducted  utilizing  communication  technology
    13  shall  meet the standards which have been approved through regulation by
    14  the secretary of state as acceptable. Such  regulations  shall  include,
    15  but not be limited to:
    16    (i)  that  the  signal  transmission shall be secure from interception
    17  through lawful means by anyone other than the persons communicating;
    18    (ii) that the signal transmission shall be live, in real time; and
    19    (iii) that the technology shall permit the notary to communicate  with
    20  and identify the remotely located individual at the time of the notarial
    21  act.
    22    (b)  If  video and audio conference technology has been used to ascer-
    23  tain a document signer's identity, the electronic notary  shall  keep  a
    24  copy  of  the recording of the video and audio conference and a notation
    25  of the type of any other identification used.  The  recording  shall  be
    26  maintained  for  a  period of at least ten years from the date of trans-
    27  action.
    28    3. Registration requirements. (a)  Before  performing  any  electronic
    29  notarial  act  or acts, a notary public shall register the capability to
    30  notarize electronically with the secretary of state in a form prescribed
    31  by the secretary of state.
    32    (b) In registering the capability to perform electronic notarial acts,
    33  the notary public shall provide the following information to the  secre-
    34  tary of state, notary processing unit:
    35    (i)  the applicant's name as currently commissioned and complete mail-
    36  ing address;
    37    (ii) the expiration date of the notary public's commission and  signa-
    38  ture of the commissioned notary public;
    39    (iii) the applicant's e-mail address;
    40    (iv)  the  description of the electronic technology or technologies to
    41  be used in attaching the notary public's  electronic  signature  to  the
    42  electronic document; and
    43    (v)  an  exemplar  of  the notary public's electronic signature, which
    44  shall contain the notary public's name and any necessary instructions or
    45  techniques that allow the notary public's  electronic  signature  to  be
    46  read.
    47    4.  Types of electronic notarial acts. (a) Any notarial act authorized
    48  by section one hundred thirty-five of  this  article  may  be  performed
    49  electronically  as  prescribed  by this section if: (i) under applicable
    50  law that document may be signed with an electronic signature;  and  (ii)
    51  the  electronic notary public is located within the state of New York at
    52  the time of the performance of an electronic notarial act using communi-
    53  cation technology, regardless of the location of the document signer.
    54    (b) An electronic notarial act performed using communication technolo-
    55  gy pursuant to this section satisfies any requirement  of  law  of  this
    56  state  that  a document signer personally appear before, be in the pres-

        S. 1780--C                          3

     1  ence of, or be in a single time and place with a notary  public  at  the
     2  time of the performance of the notarial act.
     3    5. Form and manner of performing the electronic notarial act. (a) When
     4  performing  an  electronic  notarial act, a notary public shall apply an
     5  electronic signature, which shall be attached to the electronic document
     6  such that removal or alteration of such electronic signature is  detect-
     7  able  and  will render evidence of alteration of the document containing
     8  the notary signature which may invalidate the electronic notarial act.
     9    (b) The notary public's electronic signature is deemed to be  reliable
    10  if  the  standards  which  have  been approved through regulation by the
    11  secretary of state have been met. Such regulations  shall  include,  but
    12  not be limited to, the requirements that such electronic signature be:
    13    (i) unique to the notary public;
    14    (ii) capable of independent verification;
    15    (iii) retained under the notary public's sole control;
    16    (iv) attached to the electronic document; and
    17    (v)  linked  to  the  date in such a manner that any subsequent alter-
    18  ations to the underlying document are detectable and may invalidate  the
    19  electronic notarial act.
    20    (c)  The  notary  public's electronic signature shall be used only for
    21  the purpose of performing electronic notarial acts.
    22    (d) The remote online notarial certificate for an electronic  notarial
    23  act shall state that the person making the acknowledgement or making the
    24  oath appeared remotely online.
    25    (e)  The secretary shall adopt rules necessary to establish standards,
    26  procedures, practices, forms, and records relating to a notary  public's
    27  electronic  signature.  The  notary  public's electronic signature shall
    28  conform to any standards adopted by the secretary.
    29    6.  Recording of an electronic record. (a) If  otherwise  required  by
    30  law  as  a  condition for recording that a document be an original docu-
    31  ment, printed on paper or another tangible medium, or be in writing, the
    32  requirement is satisfied by paper copy  of  an  electronic  record  that
    33  complies with the requirements of this section.
    34    (b)  If otherwise required by law as a condition for recording, that a
    35  document be signed, the requirement may be satisfied  by  an  electronic
    36  signature.
    37    (c)  A  requirement  that  a document or a signature associated with a
    38  document be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made  under
    39  oath  is  satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized
    40  to perform that act, and all other information required to be  included,
    41  is attached to or logically associated with the document or signature. A
    42  physical  or  electronic  image of a stamp, impression, or seal need not
    43  accompany an electronic signature if the notary has  attached  an  elec-
    44  tronic notarial certificate that meets the requirements of this section.
    45    7.   Change of e-mail address. Within five days after the change of an
    46  electronic notary public's e-mail address, the notary public shall elec-
    47  tronically transmit to the secretary of state a notice  of  the  change,
    48  signed with the notary public's official electronic signature.
    49    8.  No  notary  public  or business employing the services of a notary
    50  public operating in the state of  New  York  shall  exclusively  require
    51  notarial transactions to utilize electronic notarization.
    52    §  2.  Section  136  of  the  executive law is amended by adding a new
    53  subdivision 3 to read as follows:
    54    3. For  electronic  notarial  services,  established  in  section  one
    55  hundred  thirty-seven-a of this chapter, a fee set through regulation by
    56  the secretary of state.

        S. 1780--C                          4

     1    § 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
     2  it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition,  amend-
     3  ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen-
     4  tation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or
     5  before such effective date.