Today, the Partnership submitted testimony in support of the full adoption of Remote Online Notarization (RON), specifically Assembly Member Rozic’s bill (A.399A), which has passed the Senate (S.1780B) with near-unanimous support twice. Given increased demand – further heightened by COVID – for electronic processes for businesses and consumers, this legislation is timely and necessary to maintain New York’s competitive edge.
As of April 2021, 32 states allow for RON. New York should be responsive to this shift in how businesses and individuals transact and adopt regulatory and legislative frameworks that reflect our technological capabilities. We cannot have a needed economic resurgence in the 21st century with 20th century policy.
At the onset of New York’s shutdown, we surveyed our membership of more than 300 companies, representing 1.5 million employees in New York state, on what legal actions were needed for business continuity. A recurring request was for RON authorization. While the executive orders provided a helpful solution to some, other companies could not take advantage of executive orders due to conflicting internal compliance standards. This is mainly attributable to institutions concerned about the validity of signatures or recordings authorized by a temporary executive order. Additionally, a state-by-state patchwork of orders led to further unease. However, Assembly Member Rozic’s bill is consistent with standards in other states. RONs also have an added layer of security using built-in authentication and secure signing methods with two-way audio/visual communication, helping ensure data privacy and limiting fraud.
RONs will also prove a valuable tool for consumers. In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that e-mortgage closings were an efficient means for loan closings, providing consumers a greater sense of control and empowerment compared to complex paper-based forms. RONs would similarly provide a streamlined process for all legal documents requiring notarization.
RONs are becoming standard practice as states such as Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia authorize their use. As the preeminent global business hub, New York should be ahead of the curve in adopting technology for business and consumer legal processes. We strongly urge the Assembly to pass A.399A. Thank you for your consideration.