Article 9 and Lien-Related Legislation
Massachusetts: Senate Bill 1865 was filed on 4/19/2020 to establish a lien for taxes assessed on personal property. The bill would provide that an assessment of taxes on personal property by a municipal board has the same force and effect as a signed security agreement under the UCC. The municipal board must perfect the lien by filing a UCC financing statement with the secretary of state. Committee assignment is pending.
Michigan: House Bill 4694 was introduced on 4/23/2020 to amend forms provisions of Article 9. The bill replaces references to “correction statement” with “information statement” in non-uniform provisions of the state’s version of UCC § 9-520, which address fraudulent filing. The bill also clarifies that the forms acceptable under the state’s version of UCC § 9-521 are those promulgated by the American Law Institute and the Uniform Law Commission and adopted by the secretary of state. A similar bill was introduced last year but never gained traction due to the COVID-19 emergency. The bill was assigned to the House Financial Services Committee.
Other Uniform Laws Legislation
Alabama: The governor signed HB 177 on 4/29/2021 to amend the state’s UETA so a municipality is able to use electronic signatures and records in the conduct of its affairs. The new law took effect immediately.
California: SB 361, which would delete certain exceptions from the state’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act so that the act applies to conditional sales and lease contracts for motor vehicles, passed the Senate on 4/29/2021 and is now pending in the House.
Illinois: HB 3205, which would adopt the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, passed the House on 4/23/2021 and is now pending in the Senate.
Emerging Technology Legislation (Blockchain, DLT, Cryptocurrency, etc.)
Arkansas: HB 1926, which would define “virtual currency” and clarify what constitutes control of virtual currency for purposes of the UCC, passed the Senate on 4/27/2021 and is now pending delivery to the governor. The bill adds new UCC “Chapter 11 – Virtual Currency of Arkansas” to existing law.
Arizona: HB 2544, which would establish a blockchain and cryptocurrency study committee, passed the Senate as amended on 4/28/2021 and the House concurred in the amendments on 4/29/2021. The bill is now pending delivery to the governor. The committee will review data on the scope of blockchain and cryptocurrency across the country and compile an overview of potential legislation. If the bill is enacted, the report is due back to the legislature by 12/31/2021.
Connecticut: SB 1039, which would address government incorporation of blockchain technology, passed the Senate on 4/28/2021 and is pending in the House. The bill would require the Department of Administrative Services to issue a request for information for the incorporation of blockchain technology to make a state administrative function more efficient or cost effective. In addition, the bill directs the Department of Economic and Community Development to develop a plan to promote existing remote work workspaces and incentivize the creation of new remote work workspaces.
Maine: House Bill 1204 was pre-filed on 4/23/2021 as a proposal to (i) define “Blockchain” and “Blockchain technology;” (ii) enable the creation of personal information protection companies; (iii) enable the creation of blockchain LLCs; and (iv) create a study for potential use of blockchain technology in state government record keeping. Committee assignment is pending introduction.
Texas: HB 1576, which would establish a work group on blockchain matters that will develop a master plan for the expansion of the blockchain industry in the state, passed the House on 4/23/2021 and is now pending in the Senate. If enacted, the work group would recommend policies and state investments in connection with blockchain technology.
Business Organization Legislation
Alabama: The governor signed SB 96 on 4/27/2021 to clarify when provisions of the Alabama Business and Nonprofit Code supersede the general provisions of Chapter 1 of the code. The new law takes effect on 1/1/2022.
Arkansas: SB 601, which would adopt the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act and repeal the Small Business Entity Tax Pass Through Act, passed the House on 4/27/2021 and is now awaiting action by the governor.
Delaware: SB 114, which would update the Limited Liability Company Act, passed the Senate on 4/29/2021 and is pending in the House. The updates (i) provide a safe harbor procedure for ratifying acts or transactions; (ii) clarify when a member is entitled to obtain information for a certain purpose; (iii) provide authority for a member or manager to delegate irrespective of conflict of interest; (iv) provide manner in which an LLC may become a public benefit LLC; and (v) provide that the LLC agreement of a public benefit LLC must state the public benefit.
Delaware: SB 116, which would update the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, passed the Senate on 4/29/2021 and is pending in the House. The updates (i) provide a safe harbor procedure for ratifying acts or transactions; (ii) clarify when a limited partner is entitled to obtain information for a certain purpose; (iii) provide authority for a general partner to delegate irrespective of conflict of interest; (iv) provide manner in which an LP may become a public benefit LP; and (v) provide that the LP agreement of a public benefit LP must state the public benefit.
Indiana: The governor signed HB 1464 on 4/29/2021 to prohibit the use of an entity name or assumed name that suggests the entity is affiliated with any state or federal government agency. The bill also amends provisions related to emergency by-laws and authorize a corporation to hold annual meeting of members by remote communications. The new law takes effect on 7/1/2021.
North Carolina: House Bill 696 was introduced on 4/28/2021 to make a variety of amendments to the North Carolina Non-Profit Corporations Act. The bill was assigned to the House State Government Committee.
Arkansas: SB 340, which would regulate witnessing requirements for certain documents by a notary in response to the COVID-19 emergency, passed the House as amended on 4/26/2021 and was returned to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate concurred on 4/27/2021 and the bill is now awaiting action by the governor.
Alabama: The governor signed SB 275 on 4/28/2021 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 the new law takes effect on July 1, 2021.
Kansas: The governor signed SB 106 on 4/21/2021 to adopt the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. The new law takes effect upon publication in the statute books.
Tennessee: The governor signed SB 509 on 4/28/2021 to amend existing law so that a notary public is authorized to solemnize a marriage. The new law took effect immediately.
Illinois: HB 2870, which would clarify that fees charged by a recorder for certified copies shall be the same regardless of the format in which the records are maintained, passed the House on 4/22/2021 and is pending in the Senate. The bill would also authorize recorders to charge a non-standard document fee notwithstanding the predictable fee schedule. The bill only applies to counties of the Third Class, which are those that exceed 1 million in population.
Illinois: HB 3878, which would increase the Rental Housing Program surcharge on recording documents from $9 to $18, passed the House on 4/23/2021 and is now pending in the Senate. The bill also increases the flat fees for recording several classes of documents. Committee assignment is pending.
Indiana: The governor signed HB 1255 on 4/29/2021 to amend various provisions of state law related to electronic wills, notarial act requirements and requirements for recordation of documents. The bill also allows for proof of various documents by witnessing remotely using audio-visual technology. The new law takes effect on 7/1/2021.
Massachusetts: House Bill 2854 was introduced on 4/13/2021 to impose a 15% fee on the purchase price of any real estate interest by a non-citizen or non-US national, unless it will be the person’s homestead. Committee assignment is pending.
Michigan: House Bill 4729 was introduced on 4/29/2020 to clarify the medium in which records may be requested and provided by a register of deeds. The bill was assigned to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee.
Michigan: House Bill 4730 was introduced on 4/29/2020 to modify the data fields required to be provided in response to a request for transcripts provided by a register of deeds. The bill was assigned to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee.
Michigan: House Bill 4732 was introduced on 4/29/2020 to clarify the fee for electronic copies of documents provided by a register of deeds. The bill was assigned to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee.
Oklahoma: The governor signed HB 2397 on 4/27/2021 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 new law takes effect on 11/1/2021.
Oklahoma: The governor signed HB 2398 on 4/27/2021 to provide that a judgment lienholder is subject to the same release and satisfaction obligation upon payment in full of the obligation as would apply to a mortgagee and authorizes the mortgagor, debtor or the agent of the mortgagor or debtor to demand release of the mortgage. The new law takes effect on 11/1/2021.
Texas: HB 2414, which authorizes a county clerk to require photo identification to record a document, passed the House on 4/28/2021 and is pending in the Senate. In addition, the bill would prohibit a county clerk with such an ID requirement from recording real estate documents unless the person submitting documents in person first presents a photo ID to the clerk. Under current law, only clerks in counties of 3.3 million or more population may require an in-person submitter to show ID. This bill extends the provision statewide
Vermont: HB 199, which would address challenges to recorded documents under the emergency notary rules, passed the Senate on 4/23/2021. The bill would provide that a power of attorney made for the purpose of conveying, leasing, mortgaging, or affecting any interest in real property that has been acknowledged and signed in the presence of at least one witness shall be valid, notwithstanding its failure to comply with certain statutory requirements or the Emergency Administrative Rules for Remote Notarial Acts adopted by the Vermont Secretary of State, unless within three years after recording, an action challenging its validity is commenced and a copy of the complaint is recorded in the land records of the town where the power of attorney is recorded. If enacted, the provision would not apply to a power of attorney obtained by fraud or forgery. The bill is now pending delivery to the governor.
Washington: The governor signed SB 5019 on 4/26/2021 to direct the secretary of state to establish regulations that will make recording standards uniform from county to county and revise law applicable to recording standards commission. The new law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.
Other Items/Legislation of Interest
Florida: HB 35, which would authorize web site publication of legal notices and require government agencies to notify residents concerning alternative legal notice delivery method, passed the Senate as amended on 4/29/2021 and returned to the House for concurrence.
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.