Article 9 and Lien-Related Legislation

Arkansas:  HB 1255, which would regulate cross-collateralization clauses, passed the House on 2/25/2021.  The bill would provide requirements for an enforceable cross-collateralization clause in a security instrument, mortgage or deed of trust that secures indebtedness incurred for personal, family or household purposes. The bill is now assigned to the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee.   

Arkansas:  HB 1273, which would establish the Oil and Gas Owners Lien Act of 2021, passed the House on 2/26/2021. If enacted, the bill would create a lien in favor of each owner of oil and gas to secure the obligations of a first purchaser to pay the sale price.  The lien would be perfected automatically without the need to file a financing statement or other record and have a super-priority over other liens.  The bill is now assigned to the Senate Agricultural, Forestry and Economic Development Committee.   

California:  Senate Bill 572 was introduced on 2/18/2021 to allow the Labor Commission to create a lien on real property as an alternative to a judgment lien for amounts due from cited parties.  The lien would be recorded with the county recorder of any county where the cited party has real property. Committee assignment is pending.   

Virginia: HB 2099, which addresses limitations for bringing an action to enforce a judgment, was substantially amended and then passed the Senate on 2/25/2021.  The bill would reduce the period for enforcement of certain judgment liens.  The bill is now pending concurrence in the House.

Other Uniform Laws Legislation

Illinois:  House Bill 3205 was introduced on 2/19/2021 to adopt the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.  Illinois is currently one of only two states that have not adopted UETA, the other being New York.  However, both states currently have electronic signature laws.  Committee assignment is pending.   

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

Arizona:  HB 2544, which would establish a blockchain and cryptocurrency study committee, passed the House on 2/23/2021.  The committee will review data on the scope of blockchain and cryptocurrency across the country and compile an overview of potential legislation.  The report is due back to the legislature by 12/31/2021. The bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee.   

California:  Senate Bill 689 was introduced on 2/19/2021 to redefine “blockchain” for purposes of the Blockchain Working Group to mean a decentralized data system, in which the data stored is mathematically verifiable, that uses distributed ledgers or databases to store specialized data in the order of transactions recorded. Committee assignment is pending.   

Illinois:  House Bill 3968 was introduced on 2/22/2021 to amend the Corporate Fiduciary Act to create the Special Purpose Trust Company Authority.  This appears aimed at entities that provide custodial services for digital assets.  The bill provides that an IL corporation formed for the special purpose of providing fiduciary custodial services or providing other similar services as specified by rule may be appointed to act as a fiduciary with respect to such services and shall be designated a special purpose trust company. The bill also amends the Blockchain Business Development Act to provide that the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation shall have authority to adopt rules, opinions, or interpretive letters regarding the custody of digital assets, including digital consumer assets, digital securities, and virtual currency.  Committee assignment is pending.   

Kentucky: Senate Bill 255 was introduced on 2/22/2021 to provide incentives for commercial mining of cryptocurrency.  This appears related to HB 230, which was introduced in early January.  The bill was assigned to and then passed by the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee on 2/24/2021.

New York:  SB 1800, which would amend the economic development law by providing for the creation and development of distributed ledger technology and business entities, passed the Senate on 2/22/2021. The bill was then assigned to the Assembly Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry Committee.     

Rhode Island:  Senate Bill 345 was introduced on 2/25/2021 to adopt the Rhode Island Economic Growth Blockchain Act. The bill text is not yet available but the title uses the same language as HB 5425.  Assuming the bill is the Senate counterpart of HB 5425, it would (i) define and categorizes various types of digital assets; (ii) provide for perfection of a security interest in digital assets by control or possession; (iii) define what constitutes control of a digital asset; and (iv) establish special purpose depository institutions to provide digital asset custodial services.  The bill was assigned to the Senate Commerce 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 House on 2/25/2021.  The bill is now awaiting transmission to the governor.

Wyoming:  House Bill 142 was introduced on 2/24/2021 to require the secretary of state to implement a filing system for all records required by law to be filed with the secretary of state.  The filing system shall include an application programming interface, security measures, authenticated digital corporate identity and other components determined by the secretary of state to be best practices or likely to increase the effective and efficient administration of the laws. The bill authorizes the secretary of state to use blockchain or other distributed ledger technology. Committee assignment is pending.

Wyoming:  Senate Bill 105 was introduced on 2/24/2021 to limit the conditions under which a person may be compelled in a civil or administrative proceeding to disclose a private key that relates to a digital asset, other interest or right to which the private key provides access. Committee assignment is pending.

Business Organization Legislation

Colorado:  House Bill 1124 was introduced on 2/19/2021 to facilitate electronic business activity.  The bill includes numerous changes to the business organization laws for electronic meetings of the board of directors and shareholders.  In addition, the bill amends existing laws regarding sufficiency of notice to authorize delivery by electronic means. The bill was assigned to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.   

Oregon:  Senate Bill 838 was introduced on 2/25/2021 to require the secretary of state to establish and maintain a statewide registry of all real property owned by a corporation, LLC, partnership or other legal entity in the state and used for a commercial purpose or offered for rent. Committee assignment is pending.

South Carolina: House Bill 3949 was introduced on 2/23/2021 to enact the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act of 2021.  The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Virginia: HB 2121, which would to amend business organization laws so certain provisions related to entity conversions, resignation of registered agent, name restrictions, cancellations, etc. are made consistent for various kinds of entities, passed the Senate on 2/24/2021.  The bill is now awaiting transmission to the governor.

Notary Legislation

Alabama:  House Bill 470 was introduced on 2/25/2021 to ratify and validate all deeds, conveyances, deeds of trust, mortgages, mineral leases, marriage contracts, and other instruments in writing, affecting or purporting to affect title to any real estate or personal property that were acknowledged via remote notarization before July 1, 2021.  The bill also authorizes the use of remote notarization for acknowledgements. The bill was assigned to the House State Government Committee.   A similar, but not identical bill was introduced the same day in the Senate as SB 275 and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Arkansas: Senate Bill 340 was introduced on 2/22/2021 to regulate witnessing requirements for certain documents by a notary in response to the COVID-19 emergency.  The bill also allows for remote witnessing by a notary. The bill was assigned to the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Maryland:  House Bill 1360 was introduced on 2/25/2021 to authorize the secretary of state to adopt regulations that raise the maximum fee a notary may charge for a notarial act from no more than $4 to no more than $25.  The bill would also increase the fee a notary can charge for a remote notarial act from $4 to $25. Committee assignment is pending.

South Dakota:  SB 193, which would amend certain remote notarization provisions in state law, passed the Senate on 2/23/2021.  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 is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee. 

Tennessee:  House Bill 1371 was introduced on 2/22/2021 to amend existing law so that a notary public is authorized to solemnize a marriage. Committee assignment is pending.   This appears to be the House counterpart to SB 509, which was introduced earlier in February.

Texas:  House Bill 1959 was introduced on 2/19/2021 to increase the fees a notary may charge and requires the secretary of state to review such fees and adjust for inflation every five years.  The bill would also allow a notary to record the expiration date of the document used for identification.  Committee assignment is pending.   

Utah:  HB 276, which would extend eligibility requirements for a notary commission to persons employed in the state, passed the Senate on 2/25/2021 and is now awaiting transmittal to the governor.   

West Virginia:  SB 214, which would authorize the Secretary of State to promulgate a legislative rule relating to guidelines and standards for electronic notarization, was substituted for SB 182 on 2/19/2021, which was then passed by the Senate on 2/24/2021.  The substitute bill, SB 182, is now pending in the House Government Organization Committee.   

Real-Estate-Recording-Related Legislation

Alabama:  House Bill 457 was introduced on 2/25/2021 to expand the Alabama Residential Mortgage Satisfaction Act. The bill would apply recordation of satisfaction requirements to mortgages securing commercial agricultural properties and would rename that act the “Alabama Residential and Agricultural Mortgage Satisfaction Act.” The bill was assigned to the House Financial Services Committee.   

Illinois:  House Bill 3878 was introduced on 2/19/2021 to increase the Rental Housing Program surcharge on recording documents from $9 to $18.  The bill also increases the flat fees for recording several classes of documents. Committee assignment is pending.   A similar bill was introduced in the Senate on 2/23/2021 as SB 524 and is also pending Committee assignment.

Indiana: SB 236, which would authorize counties to establish recording fees for land banks, passed the Senate on 2/23/2021 and is pending committee assignment in the House. 

Texas:  House Bill 2131 was introduced on 2/23/2021 to provide that an instrument recorded with a county has a permanent retention period.  Committee assignment is pending.   

Utah:  HB 107, which would amend the requirements for the recording of a subdivision plat, passed the Senate on 2/25/2021 and is pending transmittal to the governor.   

Virginia: The governor signed HB 1882 on 2/25/2021.  The new law amends content requirements for a refinance mortgage and clarifies the effect of amendments to loan documents on a recorded deed of trust. The new law takes effect on 7/1/2021.

West Virginia: Senate Bill 430 was introduced on 2/23/2021 to amend the content requirements for certain deeds. The bill adds a new requirement that certain deeds contain the notarized acknowledgement of the grantee(s) evidencing the acceptance of the conveyance of the real property being conveyed by the deed. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other Items/Legislation of Interest

Utah: SB 201, which would eliminate the need to publish certain legal notices in a newspaper and instead require posting to the Utah Public Notice Web Site, passed the Senate on 2/23/2021 and is pending in the House.   

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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 2-26-2021