Article 9 and Lien-Related Legislation

Georgia:  HB 480, which would amend the mechanics and materialmen lien law to provide a lien for the services of registered interior designers, passed the Senate as amended and the House concurred, all on 3/31/2021.  The bill is awaiting action by the governor.   

Nebraska: The governor signed LB 177 on 3/31/2021 to extend the filing deadline for certain agricultural liens under UCC Article 9 from 60 to 120 days.  The new law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.

North Carolina:  Senate Bill 446 was introduced on 4/1/2021 to provide a lien for wage claims of employees.  The lien is perfected with respect to personal property by filing a notice of lien in the secretary of state UCC index. Committee assignment is pending.    

North Dakota: The governor signed HB 1251 on 3/25/2021 to 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.  The bill also extends the duration and effectiveness of a judgment lien from 10 to 20 years.  The new law takes effect on 8/1/2021 with repeal of certain existing law to be effective on 8/1/2031.

Other Uniform Laws Legislation

Wyoming:  HB 64, which would amend the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, passed the Senate on 3/29/2021 and was signed by the governor on 4/1/2021.  The amendments shorten the time period for extinguishing certain claims and other actions related to fraudulent transfers. The new law takes effect on 7/1/2021.   

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

Iowa: SB 541, which would amend the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, passed the House as amended on 3/29/2021 and was returned to the Senate for concurrence.  This bill would clarify (i) that “contract” includes a smart contract or contract using distributed ledger technology; (ii) that “electronic record” includes a record secured using distributed ledger technology; and (iii) that “electronic signature” includes a signature secured using distributed ledger technology. 

North Carolina:  Senate Bill 470 was filed on 4/1/2021 to enact the North Carolina Regulatory Sandbox Act, which creates a program to promote innovative FinTech services using emerging technology and to explore use of blockchain in state government. Committee assignment is pending.    

Wyoming:  HB 43, which would make certain amendments to state law regarding digital assets, passed the Senate on 3/31/2021 and is awaiting transmission to the governor.  The bill would (i) amend the definition of “digital assets”; (ii) amend provisions for perfection of a security interest in digital assets; and (iii) establish what constitutes possession of a digital asset. 

Wyoming:  SB 39, which adopts the Digital Identity Act, passed the House on 3/29/2021 and was signed by the governor on 4/1/2021.  This bill establishes when the acts of a digital identity are attributable to the natural person or organization. The new law takes effect on 7/1/2021.

Business Organization Legislation

Kansas:  HB 2391, which would provide that business entities shall file a written business information report biennially, passed the Senate as amended on 3/31/2021 and was returned to the House for concurrence.    

North Carolina:  Senate Bill 410 was introduced on 3/31/2021 to authorize non-profit corporations to conduct business electronically to hold meetings remotely. Committee assignment is pending.    

Notary Legislation

Florida:  HB 121, which would regulate notaries, passed the House on 4/1/2021 and is pending in the Senate. This bill would allow employers to require use of certain technology, clarify online witnessing standards and require online notary providers to retain copies of AV recordings for certain period of time.

Georgia:  HB 334, which would provide for remote online notaries and notarization, passed the Senate as amended on 3/31/2021 and was returned to the House for concurrence. If enacted, the bill would; (i) direct the GSCCCA to establish standards for remote notarization; (ii) create an electronic notary journal requirement; (iii) clarify that clerks have no duty to examine the circumstances or methods of witnessing on documents submitted for recording; and (iv) provide that witness signatures can be electronic and performed using remote online technology.  The House concurred and then returned the bill to the Senate with additional amendments.  The Senate then tabled the bill on the floor.   

Indiana: SB 204, which would provide for remote notarization of advance healthcare directives, passed the House on 3/30/2021 and is awaiting transmission to the governor.  The bill includes a provision that the presence before the notary requirement can be satisfied by telephonic interaction. 

Kansas:  SB 106, which would adopt the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, passed the House as amended on 3/30/2021. The bill includes remote notary provisions.  The Senate refused to concur in the House amendments so the bill is pending conference committee.   

Nebraska: The governor signed LB 94 on 3/31/2021 to prohibit the invalidation of certain notarial acts performed online under the governor’s emergency order between 4/2/2020 and 7/1/2020. 

New York: Assembly Bill 6738 was introduced on 3/29/2021 to authorize notaries to administer oaths remotely to witnesses in a legal proceeding conducted electronically if all the parties stipulate the oath may be administered remotely. The bill was assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. 

West Virginia:  The governor signed SB 182 on 3/31/2021 to authorize the Secretary of State to promulgate a legislative rule relating to guidelines and standards for electronic notarization.  The new law takes effect 6/28/2021.   

West Virginia: The governor signed SB 469 on 3/30/2021 to permit the personal appearance before a notary by video technology. The new law takes effect 6/28/2021.

Real-Estate-Recording-Related Legislation

Alabama:  HB 457, which would expand the Alabama Residential Mortgage Satisfaction Act, passed the House on 4/1/2021 and is now pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee. 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.”   

Indiana: The House concurred in Senate amendments to HB 1255 on 4/1/2021 and the bill is now awaiting transmission to the governor.  This bill would amend various provisions of state law related to electronic wills, notarial act requirements and requirements for recordation of documents.  The bill would also allow for proof of various documents by witnessing remotely using audio-visual technology. 

Mississippi: SB 2638, which would provide a procedure for recording a tangible copy of an electronic document in counties that lack eRecording capability, passed out of conference committee on 3/29/2021 and is awaiting transmission to the governor.

Montana:  HB 49, which would amend the fees charged by county clerks for recordation of documents, passed the Senate on 3/26/2021 and is awaiting consideration by the governor.

Ohio:  House Bill 237 was introduced on 3/31/2021 to require that each county recorder in the state provide an electronic means for recording instruments related to conveyances of real property.  The system required by the bill must be operational by 1/1/2024.  In addition to providing electronic recording, the bill requires that each county recorder make the index available online with electronic images of all documents recorded on or after 1/1/1980.  The bill also increases recording fees and adds a document preservation surcharge of $10. Committee assignment is pending.   

Tennessee:  HB 633, which would require that an electronic document must be certified by either a licensed attorney or the custodian of the original version of the electronic document, passed the Senate on 3/30/2021 and is awaiting transmission to the governor.  The bill would also require that the signature of that person must be acknowledged by a notary public. The certification must be transmitted with the electronic document and recorded by the county register as a part of the document being recorded.  

Other Items/Legislation of Interest

Kentucky: SB 162, which would reorganize the secretary of state office, passed out of conference committee on 3/30/2021 and is pending consideration by the governor. 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.  

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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 4-2-2021