The New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee voted out of committee A-4250 (Downey)/S-2508 (Gopal), which would revise the law regarding notaries and notarial acts and authorizes electronic signatures. The bill – dubbed the remote notary bill – was passed in a temporary form earlier this year to address emergent needs arising from the COVID-19 Executive Orders restricting personal contact. The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) supported the predecessor bill and generally supports the permanent bill.
“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was challenging for many New Jersey residents to get documents notarized and move forward with legal and financial transactions because notarial services needed to be performed in person,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey, sponsor of the bill. “Since we amended the law, it’s become much easier for residents to safely access this essential service.”
The bill was passed with significant amendments that addressed many of NJSBA’s concerns, including removing the prohibition on using remote notaries for wills and codicils. However, additional amendments were sought to remove those prohibitions in family law matters. Key provisions were removed from the bill, including penalties on those posing as notaries and offering legal services. This was viewed as an important provision to tamp down on notario fraud, in which individuals improperly provide immigration services that can only be performed by an attorney or an accredited representative of the Department of Justice.
The bill is a result of the work of the New Jersey Law Revision Commission, which amended the Uniform Law Commission’s 2010 and 2018 revisions of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. The bill heads to a full vote in the Assembly and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The NJSBA continues to monitor this bill.
Bill expediting marriage licenses passes committee
A measure that provides for the immediate issuance of marriage and civil union licenses and provides for a 72-hour waiting period prior to the ceremony was voted out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee last week. A-2717 (Murphy)/S-2219 (Gopal) is supported by the NJSBA, which pointed out that the bill streamlines the process by limiting the burden for couples to make additional trips to licensing offices to pick up licenses.
In addition to providing for the immediate issuance of a license, the bill imposes a 72-hour waiting period for a marriage or civil union ceremony. Couples may seek a waiver by applying to the Superior Court for an order in cases of an emergency or for applicants who are active duty members of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard.
The bill passed the Assembly in the last session but stalled in the Senate. The bill awaits a full vote in the Assembly this session and remains pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Professional license bill removing requirement proving lawful U.S. presence moves forward
A-4225 (Mukherji)/S-2455 (Pou) prohibiting the requirement proving lawful presence in the United States as a qualification for obtaining a professional or occupational license was voted out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee last week. The NJSBA supports the measure as a necessary measure to advance New Jersey’s workforce, providing support to fill labor shortages and providing expertise.
The bill heads to a full vote in the Senate and Assembly.
This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To learn more, visit njsba.com.