Iowa: Senate Study Bill 1151 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to create a warehouse drying and storage lien, which would be an agricultural lien within the scope of UCC Article 9.  In addition, the bill would create a central notification system under the federal Food Security Act to be certified by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.  The bill was assigned to the Senate State Government Committee.  A similar bill was introduced in the House last week as HSB 130.

Kentucky: Senate Bill 177 was introduced on 2/4/2021 and includes provisions for perfection of a security interest in digital assets by filing, possession or control. See more details under the Emerging Technology Legislation section below. 

Mississippi:  SB 2020, which includes a provision that would add a valid tribal identification card with a color photograph and other specified information to the sufficient sources of an individual debtor name for purposes of a financing statement under the state’s version of UCC § 9-503(a)(4), passed the Senate on 2/3/2021.  The bill is now pending in the House.

North Dakota: HB 1251, which would extend the time limit for bringing an action upon a judgment or a contract contained in a mortgage and other real estate instrument from 10 to 20 years, passed the House on 2/2/2021.  The bill also extends the duration and effectiveness of a judgment lien from 10 to 20 years.  The bill is now pending in the Senate.

Oklahoma:  House Bills 1322 through 1326 were introduced on 2/1/2021 to enact the Uniform Commercial Code Reform Act.  Text is not yet available.  Committee assignments are pending.   

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 273 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to require persons who prepare certain tax lien notices related to personal property to register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission and pay a $50 annual fee.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

Other Uniform Laws Legislation

Alabama:  House Bill 177 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to amend the state’s UETA to permit a municipality to use electronic signatures and records in the conduct of its affairs.. The bill was assigned to the House County and Municipal Government Committee.   

California:  Assembly Bill 358 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to amend the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act so that the debtor’s location means the debtor’s principal residence or domicile. Committee assignment is pending.   

Virginia: HB 1856, which would adopt the Uniform Electronic Wills Act, passed the House on 2/3/2021.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Wyoming:  House Bill 64 was introduced on 2/4/2021 to amend the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.  The amendments would shorten the time period for extinguishing certain claims and other actions related to fraudulent transfers. The bill was assigned to the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee.   

Emerging Technology Legislation (Blockchain, DLT, Cryptocurrency, etc.)

Kentucky: Senate Bill 134 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to address virtual currency for purposes of the Kentucky Money Transmitters Act of 2006.  This bill (i) deletes definition of “monetary value” and instead defines “medium of exchange” to include virtual currency; and (ii) defines “virtual currency.”  The bill was assigned to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

Kentucky: Senate Bill 177 was introduced on 2/4/2021 to address issues related to digital assets. This bill (i) classifies digital assets as intangible personal property and, for purposes of Article 9, general intangibles; (ii) amends KY’s Article 9 with respect to the perfection and priority of security interests in digital assets; (iii) specifies what constitutes control and possession for purposes of Articles 8 and 9;  (iv) provides for perfection of a security interest in a digital asset by filing, possession or control; and (v) authorizes financial institutions to provide custodial services for digital assets.  Committee assignment is pending.

New York:  Assembly Bill 4332 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to study of the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results. The bill was assigned to the Assembly Election Law Committee.   

New York:  Senate Bill 4195 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to establish a task force that will study and report on the potential implementation of blockchain technology in state record keeping, information storage, and service delivery. The bill was assigned to the Senate Internet and Technology Committee.   

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 562 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to adopt the Oklahoma Financial Technology Access and Improvement Act, which creates a regulatory sandbox program for innovative financial products or services using technology including blockchain.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee.   

South Dakota: SB 55, which would authorize innovative insurance products using new and emerging technologies, including blockchain, through the use of insurance innovation waivers, passed the Senate on 2/4/2021.  The bill is now pending in the House.

Texas:  House Bill 1576 was introduced on 2/4/2021 to establish a work group on blockchain matters that will develop a master plan for the expansion of the blockchain industry in this state and recommend policies and state investments in connection with blockchain technology. Committee assignment is pending.   

Business Organization Legislation   

Alabama:  Senate Bill 96 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to clarify when provisions of the Alabama Business and Nonprofit Code supersede the general provisions of Chapter 1 of the code. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   A similar provision was introduced the same day in the House as HB 230 and was assigned to the House State Government Committee.

Maryland: SB 320, which would amend resident agent requirements for foreign corporations, passed the Senate on 1/29/2021 and is now pending in the House Economic Matters Committee.  This bill would authorize a foreign corporation to certify that the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is the corporation’s resident agent when registering or qualifying with SDAT; and authorize SDAT to act as a resident agent for a foreign corporation that does business in MD without a resident agent or with a resident agent who cannot be found or served with the exercise of reasonable diligence.

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 228 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to amend the state General Corporation Act to permit electronic transmission of consents and several other changes.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

Notary Legislation

Arizona:  SB 1115, which would adopt the 2018 Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, passed the Senate on 2/4/2021. Committee assignment is pending in the House.   

Arkansas:  House Bill 1367 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to regulate the witnessing requirements for a notary. The bill was assigned to the House State Agencies and Government Affairs Committee.   

Illinois:  Senate Bill 72 was introduced on 1/29/2021 to adopt the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnessing Act. Among other provisions, the bill provides that an electronic will is a digital assets.  In addition, it authorizes and establishes the requirements for remote witnessing of a document using AV technology.  Committee assignment is pending.   

Illinois:  Senate Bill 97 was introduced on 2/3/2021 to amend the Illinois Notary Public Act.  The amendments include (i) updated definitions, including electronic-related terms; (ii) establishment of a separate electronic notary commission; (iii) a new education requirement for first-time notaries, electronic notaries and notaries renewing an electronic commission; (iv) a requirement for an electronic notary to register the electronic notarization technology with the secretary of state; (v) a journal requirements; (vi) requirements for remote notarization and electronic technology; and (vii) various electronic form requirements.  Committee assignment is pending.   

Minnesota: House Bill 575 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to authorize notaries public to perform civil marriages.  The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary, Finance and Civil Law Committee.

Missouri: House Bill 1013 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to provide for remote online notarization and establish statutory requirements and qualifications for remote notaries.  Committee assignment is pending.

New Hampshire:  Senate Bill 134 was introduced on 2/00/2021 to amend the state’s Uniform Law on Notarial Acts to provide for electronic signatures and electronic notarial acts.  The bill also enacts URPERA (see further description under the Real Estate Legislation Section).    The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

New Mexico:  Senate Bill 12 was introduced on 2/1/2020 to adopt the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, including the remote notary provisions.   The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

New York:  Assembly Bill 4277 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to require notaries public to maintain certain information after performing a notarial act on a document of conveyance.  This is effectively a journal requirement. The bill was assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.   A similar bill was introduced in the Senate on 2/3/2021 as SB 4292 and assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. 

New York:  Senate Bill 3419 was introduced on 1/29/2021 to require that all banks and credit unions have a notary public on staff and available during business hours.   The bill was assigned to the Senate Banks Committee. 

New York:  Senate Bill 4292 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to require notaries public to maintain certain information after performing a notarial act on a document of conveyance.  This is effectively a journal requirement. The bill was assigned to the Senate Finance Committee.   

North Carolina: House Bill 28 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to clarify the meaning of “reside legally” for purposes of the notary statute.  The bill was assigned to the House Commerce Committee.

Oklahoma:  House Bills 1218 through 1222 were introduced on 2/1/2021 to create the Notary Public Acknowledgment and Authentication Act.  Text of the bills are not yet available.  Committee assignments are pending.   

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 480 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to prohibit disqualification of a notary for certain crimes.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 916 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to authorize a notary to certify or attest documents remotely through use of electronic means if the notary complies with certain requirements specified in the act.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

South Dakota:  Senate Bill 193 was introduced on 2/3/2021 to amend certain remote notarization provisions in state law.  The bill would clarify the meaning of “personal knowledge” and “video communication technology,” as well as provide a new certificate of acknowledgement for use with video communication technology.   The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

New York:  Assembly Bill 4673 was introduced on 2/4/2021 to authorize any notarial act permitted by law to be performed remotely using audio-video technology if certain specified conditions are met. The bill was assigned to the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee. 

Utah:  House Bill 276 was introduced on 1/29/2021 to extend eligibility requirements for a notary commission to persons employed in the state. The bill was assigned to the House Public Utilities and Technology Committee.   

Wisconsin:  Assembly Bill 31 was introduced on 2/3/2021 to address remote notarization during the COVID-19 emergency.  The bill would allow a notary public, through the end of calendar year 2021, to perform notarizations involving estate planning documents for individuals not physically present before the notary public.  The bill was assigned to the Assembly Health Committee.   

Wyoming:  SB 29, which would adopt RULONA, including remote notarization provisions, passed the Senate on 1/29/2021 and then passed the House on 2/4/2021.  The bill is awaiting transmission to the governor.

Real-Estate-Recording-Related Legislation

Connecticut: House Bill 6369 was introduced on 2/3/2021 to address release of mortgages and dissolution of mechanic’s liens.  This bill would (i) require a mortgagee to deliver the mortgage release to the town clerk and a certified copy of such release to the mortgagor; (ii) require a mortgagee to accept a payment for mortgage releases from an attorney’s IOLTA account; and (iii) allow property owners to substitute bonds for mechanic’s liens without seeking judicial intervention.  The bill was assigned to the Joint Banking Committee. 

Indiana: HB 1255, which would amend various provisions of state law related to electronic wills, notarial act requirements and requirements for recordation of documents, passed the House on 2/1/2021.  If enacted, the bill would allow for proof of various documents by witnessing remotely using audio-visual technology.  The bill is now pending in the Senate.

New Hampshire:  Senate Bill 134 was introduced on 2/3/2021 to adopt the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA).  The bill omits the URPERA administration and standards section and requires that all recorders continue to accept paper in addition to electronic records.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

New York:  Senate Bill 3091 was introduced on 1/27/2021 to require that when a purchaser of real property is acting in a fiduciary capacity the real estate transfer form must provide the name and place of the business, the legal name and phone number of a responsible party.   The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

New York:  Senate Bill 3667 was introduced on 1/30/2021 to create the state Title Guaranty Authority to initiate and operate a program which shall offer guaranties of real property titles in this state.    The bill was assigned to the Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee.

Oklahoma:  House Bill 1033 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to change margin requirements for documents to be recorded with a county clerk.  The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary – Civil Committee.   

Oklahoma:  House Bills 1457 through 1461 were introduced on 2/1/2021 to enact the Oklahoma Conveyances Act.  Text is not yet available.  Committee assignments are pending.   

Oklahoma:  House Bill 2397 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to provide that a lienholder is subject to the same release and satisfaction obligation upon payment in full of the obligation as would apply to a mortgagee.  The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary – Civil Committee.   

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 569 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to allow county clerks to provide certified copies of real estate records in paper or digital format in compliance with URPERA.  The bill was assigned to the Senate General Government Committee.   

Virginia: HB 2064, which would require a clerk’s office to record a paper copy of an electronic document if the document otherwise meets the requirements for recordation, passed the House on 2/3/2021.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

South Carolina:  House Bill 3789 was introduced on 2/2/2021 to require that all mortgages executed after 6/1/ 2021 include a derivation clause that sets forth the name of the party that prepared the mortgage or the attorney licensed in SC who assisted in closing the instrument.  The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.   

Other Items/Legislation of Interest

Iowa: Senate Bill 218 was introduced on 1/25/2021 to provide that expenses for a request to examine and copy public records must be reasonable. The bill further provides that the fees charged by the custodian of a public record for examination and copying of such records shall not include legal services for redaction or review.    The bill was assigned to the Senate State Government Committee. 

Kentucky: Senate Bill 162 was introduced on 2/3/2021 to reorganize the secretary of state office.  The bill would divide the SOS into three sections, each with an executive director appointed by the secretary.  These include: the Office of Administration, the Office of Elections and the Office of Business Services.  The Office of Business Services would be responsible for all functions related to business filings, including business entity filings and filings under the Uniform Commercial Code, business records, trademarks and service mark registration, notary appointments, and apostilles.   Committee assignment is pending.

New York:  Assembly Bill 4446 was introduced on 2/4/2021 to divide the state into 3 autonomous regions, each with its own governor, legislature, secretary of state, courts and prisons.  The UCC and many other state laws would become regional laws.  Presumably, this would mean 3 central filing offices in the state for UCC records.  The bill was assigned to the Assembly Local Governments Committee. 

Oklahoma:  Senate Bill 254 was introduced on 2/1/2021 to amend existing law to allow publication of legal notices on a newspaper’s website or a government website.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

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Note that this update provides only a short summary of the listed bills, which are often lengthy and complex. It is not intended to include all potentially relevant provisions of each bill.  For full details, please review the bill on the applicable state legislative web site.

Legislative Developments – 2/5/2021