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Downey, Houghtaling and Swain Bill to Allow Notaries to Work Remotely Goes to Governor

(TRENTON) – A notary public would be able to perform certain notarial work remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency under legislation approved Monday by the Assembly, 79-0. It passed the Senate 38-0 and now heads to the Governor’s desk. 
The measure (A-3903), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth) and Lisa Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic) would allow people who meet certain criteria to use communication technology to appear remotely before a notary public. Attorneys, clerks, judges, members of State legislature, surrogates and other qualified officers of the court will also be permitted to conduct notarial work remotely during the public health emergency. 
 A notary public would be authorized to perform a notarial act for a remotely located resident if the notary has: personal knowledge of their identity; satisfactory knowledge of the person’s identity by oath or affirmation from a credible witness; and uses at least two different types of identity as proof to obtain satisfactory evidence of the person. 
The notary public would also be required to make an audio-visual recording of the exchange and verify the remote records, among other security measures. 
The bill would take effect immediately and expire upon rescission of Executive Order No. 103 by the Governor, which declared a state of emergency in New Jersey in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The sponsors released the following joint statement: 
“During these uncertain times, it’s important that we find creative ways to allow essential services to continue. Notary services currently must be performed in-person in New Jersey. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it may become more challenging for people to get documents notarized and move forward with legal and financial transactions if residents need to self-isolate or notary offices close.  
“By allowing notary services to be performed online, we will ensure necessary clerical transactions can move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.”