HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – State Senator Doug Mastriano is introducing legislation that would authorize remote notarization of documents, in response to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1097, would bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of states, and modernize the notarization process by bringing it up to current standards.
As part of the legislation, audio-video communication could be used to E-notarize documents that would otherwise need to be verified in person.
“With social-distancing recommendations and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, this legislation is vitally important,” said Mastriano. “Pennsylvanians need to be able to notarize documents in a safe and convenient manner and sadly, our state is behind the times. We need to modernize the notarization process.”
A similar version of the legislation, Senate Bill 595 of 2017-2018, passed the Senate unanimously last session but did not advance in the House.
More than 20 states have already enacted this type of legislation, and the measure is under consideration in nearly 10 other states. Verification and privacy protections are built into the legislation, according to Mastriano.
“Lawmakers really need to get Pennsylvania up to par with modern technology,” said Mastriano. “Not only will this legislation make the notarization process easier and more convenient for everyone involved, but it will also save valuable time.”
In addition to alleviating worries during the COVID-19 outbreak and modernizing state code, Mastriano noted that the bill will help business travelers, family members working out of state, or veterans on deployment. Mastriano is a retired military combat colonel, who served 30 years before being elected state senator in May of 2019.
The legislation mirrors a national model drafted by the Uniform Law Commission and aligns with standards adopted by the National Association of Secretaries of State.