Remote Online Notarizations (RON for short) will become legal in Kentucky on January 1, 2020. While the RON law brings new opportunities to notaries, there are many challenges as well. I spoke to the Kentucky Secretary of State's office last month about the legal process for RON and the regulations that will be promulgated very soon.
The person I spoke with said that some of the regulations are mandated by the statutes, so there are some requirements that will be reiterated in the regulations. The other regulations are considered permissive and are in the process of being drafted at the time of our conversation.
The regulations will be reviewed by the Secretary of State's Notary Task Force before being released to the public. The task force first began working on the RON laws over four years ago.
The Secretary of State's rep said that he thought there would be an additional registration fee, although he mentioned that he didn't expect it to be a significant amount. Remote online notarizations require that a notary apply a digital seal and a digital certificate. My understanding is that the Secretary of State's office will not charge for such a certificate, but that the technology providers would charge for the issuance of a certificate.
One of the best discussions I've read of how RON affects mobile notaries and loan signing agents was written by a Texas notary named John Andrews of Notary Arlington. The post is titled Becoming a Texas Online Notary Public – Begin with the End in Mind and is well worth your time. The questions raised there are very relevant to the ones notaries in our state will face as well. Will a notary be allowed to have digital certificates with multiple tech providers and if not, how will a prior certificate be terminated if a notary wants to change platforms.
It appears that there will not be a test or certification required by the Secretary of State. At least not in the first year as there just wasn't enough time to get a system in place. The rep suggested that the tech providers will more than likely provide training on their own.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and her office are to be commended for getting our notary laws updated. And while the representative was very helpful and forthcoming with what he knew about the RON law and regs, I got the feeling that the Secretary of State's office will be taking a hands-off approach as far as the implementation and training of notaries.
If you're interested in knowing when the Kentucky RON regulations will be promulgated, you can sign up here: https://secure.kentucky.gov/regwatch/, the Kentucky General Assembly's tracking site.
Whether you're for or against remote online notarizations, the fact of the matter is the future of RON is here and notaries need to educate themselves so they can best evaluate what services they want to offer down the line.