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HB274 will be heard Thursday, May 14th at 1 p.m. Here is some historical background to the bill that might prove interesting.
This is the same bill that the LNA supported last year. The bill didn’t make it through the process for lack of time. This year, the Law Institute has drafted some amendments to deal with implementation of the bill and to ensure that notaries in other states cannot use RON to make authentic acts. The LNA has asked for amendments to include representatives from other notary organizations to ensure a full representation of notary interests in other parts of the state. The bill can be viewed at www.legis.la.gov
This is for your information only and need not be part of what you share with committee members in any message of support on the bill. This is given only to inform our members about pending amendments.
Here are some talking points, as shared by our Governmental Legislative Liaison, Alan Jennings, that may assist you in asking the committee members to report the bill favorably with amendments from the Louisiana State Law Institute. Some reasons to support the bill include:
Please add your own personal reasons and benefits to being a RON state while emphasizing the importance of maintaining our civilian ways.
As a reminder we urge you to not cut and paste as most legislators pay little attention to this type of emails.
We want to thank you for showing your active support and hope that these comments and talking points will help you as you contact committee members.
Thanks for your support.
Sharon C. Toups
Louisiana Notary Association
SUPPORT HOUSE BILL 274 BY REPRESENTATIVE RAY GAROFALO
HB 274 will be heard in the House Civil Law Committee on Thursday, May 14th at 1pm.
This bill is brought upon the recommendation of the Louisiana Law Institute and would put into place a REMOTE ONLINE NOTARIZATION system that EXCLUDES Authentic Acts. The LNA has joined other stakeholders to develop these Law Institute recommendations and help Louisiana handle remote online notarizations in a responsible manner.
We have a large, relatively new House Civil Law Committee. This is our opportunity to educate the committee about notaries public and the importance of our role in the Louisiana Civil Law tradition.
Join in this process and please send an email to House Civil Law Committee members letting them know you support HB 274:
Rep. Greg Miller (Chair) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Johnson (Vice Chair) - email@example.com
Rep. Beryl Amedee - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. W. Carter - email@example.com
Rep. R. Carter - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Phillip Devillier - email@example.com
Rep. Michael Echolls - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Julie Emerson - email@example.com
Rep. Larry Fremin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Valerie Hodges - email@example.com
Rep. Patrick Jefferson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sam Jenkins - email@example.com
Rep. Mandie Landry - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Nick Muscarello - email@example.com
Rep. Thomas Pressly - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Alan Seabaugh - email@example.com
This is a CALL TO ACTION of ALL LNA MEMBERS
Senate Bill 472 is being heard tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th at 3:00p.m. in SENATE JUDICIARY A COMMITTEE
SB472 is Senator Jay Luneau’s REMOTE ONLINE NOTARY (RON) bill and, if passed, will authorize AUTHENTIC ACTS to be executed by RON.
The LNA is opposing the inclusion of Authentic Acts in RON legislation.
Issues surrounding the inclusion of Authentic Acts in RON have not been vetted and this bill threatens the integrity of the Authentic Act. The Louisiana Law Institute has only worked on RON EXCLUSIVE of Authentic Act and this has resulted in HOUSE BILL 274 which is a responsible way of addressing Remote Online Notary issues.
We must spread the word. You can submit testimony in opposition to the bill by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also attend and testify if you follow the attached guidelines for entering the capitol
We are strongly encouraging ALL members to call and email the committee members and let them know of your opposition to this bill. Contact info is as follows:
Jay Luneau, 318.484.2288, email@example.com
Senate Judiciary A:
Barrow Peacock, 318.741.7180, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Harris, 504.243.1960, email@example.com
Heather Cloud, 337.461.2595, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleo Fields, 225.342.9514, email@example.com
Patrick McMath, 985.900.6278, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Mills, 318.371.5200, email@example.com
Please take this extra time you may have and put it to good use! Protect our Civil Law Notary Commission; YOUR Civil Law Notary Commission.
Sharon Toups, President
On March 29, 2020, the Louisiana Notary Association board of directors issued a statement about our governor’s remote-online-notary authorization. We addressed three areas of concern: (1) the absence of the necessary security and party-privacy provisions; (2) the absence of regulations concerning the platforms on which these specialized notarial services could be performed; (3) the doubtful legality of the authorization.
On April 7, 2020, the LNA’s lobbyist and its governmental affairs liaison met with the secretary of state and the governor’s executive council to discuss these concerns. As a result of that conversation, we agreed to consider assisting the governor by offering some guidelines dealing with our first two concerns while agreeing to disagree about the legality of the governor’s authority to create new law under the provisions of the statutes governing the proclamation.
It is our goal with this statement to provide guidance for Louisiana notaries who choose to assist their constituents through remote online notary services.
To our LNA Members:
It has become quite obvious that this is a new day, a new chapter in the lives of the LOUISIANA NOTARY as we know it.
Over the weekend minds have been on overload about what to do with the newest proclamation concerning civil law notaries that was issued by our Governor. Some of you may not even be aware of it as yet.
Our positioned Liaison, Alan Jennings, and our Lobbyist, Scott Kirkpatrick, have been hard at work on behalf of our organization making every attempt they could to keep me, as your President, in the loop of communications. It has been a maddening weekend to say the least.
There has been an announcement made, with unanimous board support, that I would like to share with our members.
Keep Safe & Healthy!
Sharon C. Toups
Louisiana Notary Association Board of Directors – March 26, 2020
Louisiana citizens and notaries are navigating uncharted territories these days with the onset of the Coronavirus and our governor’s stay at home order to combat the spread of the COVID 19 disease. Governor Edwards is taking aggressive measures to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic. We have been asked for guidance on how the order affects the office of notary in Louisiana and the notary’s public service to his or her constituents.
As a result of the March 22 COVID-19 Stay at Home order, two main questions have arisen:
Members of your board have assembled answers to these questions and some additional information that you might find helpful. First, the questions and answers:
The governor’s order does not include notaries in the temporary close orders. The order, however, provides that we still must “reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing and adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size.”
Notaries who operate other businesses may be covered in the temporary close order. In those cases, you might be required to temporarily close the business operation. But as to the operation of your notary office, no, there is no order to close your notary office. Only the requirement that you adhere to the requirements cited above.
On March 16, official updated Coronavirus Guidance for America issued by the President stated,
If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.
Then, on March 22, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, in his Memorandum to the Financial Services Sector, wrote
The Financial Services Sector is identified as a Critical Infrastructure Sector by the Department of Homeland Security. The Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce for the financial services sector includes workers who are needed to process (and maintain systems for processing) financial transactions and services, such as payment, clearing, and settlement services...
Even in the best of times, notaries are too often asked to “Help me out here” when individuals may not be able to be physically present before the notary, or may not have satisfactory identification credentials in their possession for one reason or the other.
These days, there could be more of that. Mama might not be available to sign the will or power of attorney.
Hold true to your oath. Your job is not to “help somebody out” unless you’re telling the gospel truth when you sign your name. Always read the entirety of what you sign. If what you’re certifying is not true, don’t sign it. If you don’t know for sure that Fred is really Fred, don’t certify that Fred was there. And certainly, no matter how well you know Fred, if he isn’t present before you when signing, don’t say he was and that he did.
Clearly, where a notary is involved in financial services and settlement transactions, he or she is deemed an essential worker. Notaries so situated have a “special responsibility to maintain their normal work schedule.”
No notary, however, is under any obligation to subject him- or herself to personal risk to serve constituents. Nothing short of a court order can require you to perform a notarial function. If you choose to remain open to serve your community in your official capacity, we urge that you read carefully the newly released federal and state guidelines on COVID-19 to learn how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you’re sick. These guidelines, along with a little common sense, will help you avoid risking the health of yourself and others should you decide to provide notary services in your community.
You are a public official. You are not prohibited by the Governor’s order from performing your public functions. In some cases, where some essential service needs a notary, your work is considered an essential service. You are not, however, obligated to put yourself at risk to provide notary services. Should you decide to provide notarial services to your community, please commit yourself to healthy safe practices. Do your part to help contain this pandemic and avoid becoming one of its statistics.
Below we offer you some helpful tidbits of information related to the current state of affairs
Nursing homes and hospitals are closed to visitors. You might not be able to enter a facility to serve a constituent. If you are allowed to enter a facility, you should take the same personal safety precautions as the healthcare workers employed there.
Clerks of Court are requesting that documents submitted for recording be transmitted to them by mail or via electronic platforms where available. Some filings may be made by fax with originals being transmitted within certain time limits.
The secretary of state’s office is closed for walk-in service. You are encouraged to use the geauxBIZ.com portal for assistance and filings.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries office is closed.
All Office of Motor Vehicle offices and Public Tag Agencies are closed. For the duration of the closure, licensing and registration requirements remain waived
Q: What about a document that needs witnesses, do they have to be with the notary?
A: No, under HB514 as filed, witnesses do not have to be in the physical presence of the notary at the time of the remote notarization, they can be located anywhere.
Q: Will the notary be required to keep a journal, a printed copy or electronic record of the remote notarization?
A: Yes, under HB514 as filed, the notary involved in the remote notarization transaction will retain a record, or cause to have retained a record, of the remote notarization transaction for a period of ten years. The Louisiana Secretary of State stakeholders committee will assist in the drafting of the policy that will govern record retention of a remote notarization.