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Maryland’s legislature passed SB 678, which modifies the state’s Uniform Law on Notarial Acts and allows for remote online notarization for real estate transactions.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. JB Jennings, awaits the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan. If signed, the legislation would go into effect Oct. 1, 2020. The delay gives the Secretary of State time to promulgate regulations, and develop testing for new notarial applicants, a course of study for new applicants and those seeking to renew their commission and approve third-party education providers.

Maryland joins 17 other states that recognize some form of RON, including Arizona, Indiana, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

“This was the fourth year in a row that the legislature had a notary bill before it,” said Bill O’Connell, president of the Maryland Land Title Association. “The passage by the legislature this year could not have happened without the support and input of many, and especially not without the leadership of Senator JB Jennings.”

Maryland currently operates under the 1939 version of the Uniform Acknowledgement Act. O’Connell said updating the notarial laws, while at the same time adopting remote online notary, made good sense.

In addition, Maryland previously enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (MD Code, Commercial Law Article § 21-101 et seq. [2000]) and the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (MD Code, Real Property Article § 3-701 et seq. [2018]) so using RULONA 2018 as a model was the logical choice.  Many constituent groups supported the bill from notary publics, real estate agents, bankers, land title professionals, and the real property and estates and trusts sections of the Maryland State Bar.

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