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California finally passes RON legislation

California is the 44th state to pass legislation relating to remote online notarization

After a years-long voyage through the state legislature, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Saturday allowing remote online notarization in California.

The bill was previously approved by the state legislature in mid-September. California is the 44th state to pass legislation relating to remote online notarization (RON).

First introduced in February 2023 by State Senator Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Burbank, Senate Bill 696, allows California’s notaries to deliver services online and provides notary standards allowing officials across counties can effectively verify documents.

According to the state, the new law will go into effect in multiple phases, with the first phase set to being on January 1, 2024. The Secretary of State will then implement the legislation of the course of the next few years, with full functionality expected by 2030.

The passage of RON in California comes nearly a year after senators from the state opposed a bill that would have legalized RON nationwide. A new RON bill was introduced into the House of Representatives earlier this year.

Virginia was the first state to approve RON legislature, roughly a decade ago, but it took several years for other states to begin following suit. With the pandemic and changes in consumer preference, more states have begun passing RON legislation. Earlier this year, Massachusetts approved its own bill approving RON, which will go into effect at the start of 2024.

States that have yet to pass legislation approving RON include Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota.

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