The first month of any session of the General Assembly is always busy. You have a burst of new, well somewhat new legislation, and some new members. Not to mention the Missouri REALTORS® January Business Conference.
The priority issue for this session is updating the Notary Statute to include electronic notary and remote online notary. Frequently they are viewed as the same thing, but they are not. An electronic notarial act is a face to face transaction where the documents, rather than being on paper, are in digital format. This includes the notary seal and signature. A remote online notarial act takes place when the parties are separated and the action is viewed online.
At this moment, we are at somewhat of an impasse. Missouri Land Title Association wants to pass legislation similar to enactments in several other states. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft believes the language in those proposals places limits on possible rulemaking and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to react to changing technology through rulemaking.
There was a meeting of all affected parties in Senator Crawford’s office a few days ago. It may have helped both sides garner a greater understanding of their differences, and that can be useful. To date, there has not been a significant breakthrough. I’ve been talking to both sides in hopes of finding a way around the impasse. So far, no luck.
The hearing on both Senate notary bills before the Senate Committee on Local Government and Elections, originally scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, was canceled because of inclement weather. I expect it to be rescheduled soon.
Chief Lobbyist, Missouri REALTORS®