Florida Senate - 2018 CS for SB 1042
By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
and Senators Brandes and Passidomo
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to notaries public; providing
3 directives to the Division of Law Revision and
4 Information; amending s. 117.01, F.S.; revising
5 provisions relating to use of the office of notary
6 public; amending s. 117.021, F.S.; requiring
7 electronic signatures to include access protection;
8 prohibiting a person from requiring a notary public to
9 perform a notarial act with certain technology;
10 requiring the Department of State, in collaboration
11 with the Agency for State Technology, to adopt rules
12 for certain purposes; amending s. 117.05, F.S.;
13 revising limitations on notary fees to conform to
14 changes made by the act; providing for inclusion of
15 certain information in a jurat or notarial
16 certificate; providing for compliance with online
17 notarization requirements; providing for notarial
18 certification of a printed electronic record; revising
19 statutory forms for jurats and notarial
20 certifications; amending s. 117.107, F.S.; providing
21 applicability; revising prohibited acts; creating s.
22 117.201, F.S.; providing definitions; creating s.
23 117.209, F.S.; authorizing online notarizations;
24 providing an exception; creating s. 117.215, F.S.;
25 specifying the application of other laws in relation
26 to online notarizations; creating s. 117.225, F.S.;
27 specifying registration and qualification requirements
28 for online notaries public; creating s. 117.235, F.S.;
29 authorizing the performance of certain notarial acts;
30 creating s. 117.245, F.S.; requiring a notary public
31 to keep an electronic journal of online notarizations;
32 specifying the information that must be included for
33 each online notarization; requiring an online notary
34 public to take certain steps regarding the maintenance
35 and security of the electronic journal; creating s.
36 117.255, F.S.; specifying requirements for the use of
37 electronic journals, signatures, and seals; requiring
38 a notary public to provide notification of the theft,
39 vandalism, or loss of an electronic journal,
40 signature, or seal; authorizing an online notary
41 public to make copies of electronic journal entries
42 and to provide access to related recordings under
43 certain circumstances; authorizing an online notary
44 public to charge a fee for making and delivering such
45 copies; creating s. 117.265, F.S.; prescribing online
46 notarization procedures; specifying the manner by
47 which an online notary public must verify the identity
48 of a principal or a witness; requiring an online
49 notary public to take certain measures as to the
50 security of technology used; specifying that an
51 electronic notarial certificate must identify the
52 performance of an online notarization; specifying that
53 noncompliance does not impair the validity of a
54 notarial act or the notarized electronic record;
55 providing construction; creating s. 117.275, F.S.;
56 providing fees for online notarizations; creating s.
57 117.285, F.S.; specifying the manner by which an
58 online notary public may supervise the witnessing of
59 electronic records of online notarizations; creating
60 s. 117.295, F.S.; providing standards for electronic
61 and online notarizations; authorizing the Department
62 of State, in collaboration with the Agency for State
63 Technology, to adopt certain rules; creating s.
64 117.305, F.S.; superseding certain provisions of
65 federal law regulating electronic signatures; amending
66 s. 28.222, F.S.; requiring the clerk of the circuit
67 court to record certain instruments; amending s.
68 95.231, F.S.; providing a limitation period for
69 certain recorded instruments; amending s. 689.01,
70 F.S.; providing for witnessing of documents in
71 connection with real estate conveyances; providing for
72 validation of certain recorded documents; amending s.
73 694.08, F.S.; providing for validation of certain
74 recorded documents; amending s. 695.03, F.S.;
75 providing and revising requirements for making
76 acknowledgments, proofs, and other documents; amending
77 ss. 695.04 and 695.05, F.S.; conforming provisions to
78 changes made by the act; amending s. 695.28, F.S.;
79 providing for validity of recorded documents;
80 conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
81 providing an effective date.
83 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
85 Section 1. The Division of Law Revision and Information is
86 directed to:
87 (1) Create part I of chapter 117, Florida Statutes,
88 consisting of ss. 117.01-117.108, Florida Statutes, to be
89 entitled “General Provisions.”
90 (2) Create part II of chapter 117, Florida Statutes,
91 consisting of ss. 117.201-117.305, Florida Statutes, to be
92 entitled “Online Notarizations.”
93 Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 117.01, Florida
94 Statutes, is amended to read:
95 117.01 Appointment, application, suspension, revocation,
96 application fee, bond, and oath.—
97 (1) The Governor may appoint as many notaries public as he
98 or she deems necessary, each of whom must
shall be at least 18
99 years of age and a legal resident of this the state. A permanent
100 resident alien may apply and be appointed and shall file with
101 his or her application a recorded Declaration of Domicile. The
102 residence required for appointment must be maintained throughout
103 the term of appointment. A notary public Notaries public shall
104 be appointed for 4 years and may only shall use and exercise the
105 office of notary public if he or she is within the boundaries of
106 this state. An applicant must be able to read, write, and
107 understand the English language.
108 Section 3. Present subsections (4) and (5) of section
109 117.021, Florida Statutes, are renumbered as subsections (5) and
110 (6), respectively, a new subsection (4) and subsection (7) are
111 added to that section, and subsection (2) and present subsection
112 (5) of that section are amended, to read:
113 117.021 Electronic notarization.—
114 (2) In performing an electronic notarial act, a notary
115 public shall use an electronic signature that is:
116 (a) Unique to the notary public;
117 (b) Capable of independent verification;
118 (c) Retained under the notary public’s sole control and
119 includes access protection through the use of passwords or codes
120 under control of the notary public; and
121 (d) Attached to or logically associated with the electronic
122 document in a manner that any subsequent alteration to the
123 electronic document displays evidence of the alteration.
124 (4) A person may not require a notary public to perform a
125 notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a form of
126 technology that the notary public has not selected to use.
127 (6) (5) The Department of State, in collaboration with the
128 Agency for State Technology, may adopt rules to ensure the
129 security, reliability, and uniformity of signatures and seals
130 authorized in this section.
131 (7) The Department of State, in collaboration with the
132 Agency for State Technology, shall adopt rules establishing
133 standards for tamper-evident technologies that will indicate any
134 alteration or change to an electronic record after completion of
135 an electronic notarial act and shall publish a list of
136 technologies that satisfy those standards and are approved for
137 use in electronic notarizations, effective January 1, 2019. All
138 electronic notarizations performed on or after January 1, 2019,
139 must comply with the adopted standards and use an approved
141 Section 4. Subsection (1), paragraph (a) of subsection (2),
142 subsections (4) and (5), paragraph (a) of subsection (12), and
143 subsections (13) and (14) of section 117.05, Florida Statutes,
144 are amended, and paragraph (c) is added to subsection (12) of
145 that section, to read:
146 117.05 Use of notary commission; unlawful use; notary fee;
147 seal; duties; employer liability; name change; advertising;
148 photocopies; penalties.—
149 (1) A No person may not shall obtain or use a notary public
150 commission in other than his or her legal name, and it is
151 unlawful for a notary public to notarize his or her own
152 signature. Any person applying for a notary public commission
153 must submit proof of identity to the Department of State if so
154 requested. Any person who violates the provisions of this
155 subsection commits is guilty of a felony of the third degree,
156 punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
157 (2)(a) The fee of a notary public may not exceed $10 for
158 any one notarial act, except as provided in s. 117.045 or s.
160 (4) When notarizing a signature, a notary public shall
161 complete a jurat or notarial certificate in substantially the
162 same form as those found in subsection (13). The jurat or
163 certificate of acknowledgment shall contain the following
165 (a) The venue stating the location of the notary public at
166 the time of the notarization in the format, “State of Florida,
167 County of .............”
168 (b) The type of notarial act performed, an oath or an
169 acknowledgment, evidenced by the words “sworn” or
171 (c) That the signer personally appeared before the notary
172 public at the time of the notarization either by physical
173 presence or by means of audio-video communication technology as
174 authorized under part II of this chapter.
175 (d) The exact date of the notarial act.
176 (e) The name of the person whose signature is being
177 notarized. It is presumed, absent such specific notation by the
178 notary public, that notarization is to all signatures.
179 (f) The specific type of identification the notary public
180 is relying upon in identifying the signer, either based on
181 personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence specified in
182 subsection (5).
183 (g) The notary’s official signature.
184 (h) The notary’s name, typed, printed, or stamped below the
186 (i) The notary’s official seal affixed below or to either
187 side of the notary’s signature.
188 (5) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a
189 document unless he or she personally knows, or has satisfactory
190 evidence, that the person whose signature is to be notarized is
191 the individual who is described in and who is executing the
192 instrument. A notary public shall certify in the certificate of
193 acknowledgment or jurat the type of identification, either based
194 on personal knowledge or other form of identification, upon
195 which the notary public is relying. In the case of an online
196 notarization, the online notary public shall comply with the
197 requirements set forth in part II of this chapter.
198 (a) For purposes of this subsection, the term “personally
199 knows” means having an acquaintance, derived from association
200 with the individual, which establishes the individual’s identity
201 with at least a reasonable certainty.
202 (b) For the purposes of this subsection, the term
203 “satisfactory evidence” means the absence of any information,
204 evidence, or other circumstances which would lead a reasonable
205 person to believe that the person whose signature is to be
206 notarized is not the person he or she claims to be and any one
207 of the following:
208 1. The sworn written statement of one credible witness
209 personally known to the notary public or the sworn written
210 statement of two credible witnesses whose identities are proven
211 to the notary public upon the presentation of satisfactory
212 evidence that each of the following is true:
213 a. That the person whose signature is to be notarized is
214 the person named in the document;
215 b. That the person whose signature is to be notarized is
216 personally known to the witnesses;
217 c. That it is the reasonable belief of the witnesses that
218 the circumstances of the person whose signature is to be
219 notarized are such that it would be very difficult or impossible
220 for that person to obtain another acceptable form of
222 d. That it is the reasonable belief of the witnesses that
223 the person whose signature is to be notarized does not possess
224 any of the identification documents specified in subparagraph
225 2.; and
226 e. That the witnesses do not have a financial interest in
227 nor are parties to the underlying transaction; or
228 2. Reasonable reliance on the presentation to the notary
229 public of any one of the following forms of identification, if
230 the document is current or has been issued within the past 5
231 years and bears a serial or other identifying number:
232 a. A Florida identification card or driver license issued
233 by the public agency authorized to issue driver licenses;
234 b. A passport issued by the Department of State of the
235 United States;
236 c. A passport issued by a foreign government if the
237 document is stamped by the United States Bureau of Citizenship
238 and Immigration Services;
239 d. A driver license or an identification card issued by a
240 public agency authorized to issue driver licenses in a state
241 other than Florida, a territory of the United States, or Canada
242 or Mexico;
243 e. An identification card issued by any branch of the armed
244 forces of the United States;
245 f. A veteran health identification card issued by the
246 United States Department of Veterans Affairs;
247 g. An inmate identification card issued on or after January
248 1, 1991, by the Florida Department of Corrections for an inmate
249 who is in the custody of the department;
250 h. An inmate identification card issued by the United
251 States Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, for an inmate
252 who is in the custody of the department;
253 i. A sworn, written statement from a sworn law enforcement
254 officer that the forms of identification for an inmate in an
255 institution of confinement were confiscated upon confinement and
256 that the person named in the document is the person whose
257 signature is to be notarized; or
258 j. An identification card issued by the United States
259 Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
260 (12)(a) A notary public may supervise the making of a copy
261 of a tangible or an electronic record or a printout of an
262 electronic record, photocopy of an original document and attest
263 to the trueness of the copy or of the printout, provided the
264 document is neither a vital record in this state, another state,
265 a territory of the United States, or another country, nor a
266 public record, if a copy can be made by the custodian of the
267 public record.
268 (c) A notary public must use a certificate in substantially
269 the following form in notarizing a copy of a tangible or an
270 electronic record or a printout of an electronic record:
272 STATE OF FLORIDA
273 COUNTY OF ........
275 On this .... day of ........, ...(year)..., I attest that the
276 preceding or attached document is a true, exact, complete, and
277 unaltered ...(copy of a tangible or an electronic record
278 presented to me by the document’s custodian)... or a
279 ...(printout made by me from an electronic record presented to
280 me by the document’s custodian).... At the time of printing, no
281 security features, if any, present on the electronic record,
282 indicated that the record had been altered since execution.
284 ...(Signature of Notary Public — State of Florida)...
285 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
287 (13) The following notarial certificates are sufficient for
288 the purposes indicated, if completed with the information
289 required by this chapter. The specification of forms under this
290 subsection does not preclude the use of other forms.
291 (a) For an oath or affirmation:
293 STATE OF FLORIDA
294 COUNTY OF ........
296 Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me by means of
297  physical presence or  online notarization, this .... day of
298 ........, ...(year)..., by ...(name of person making
301 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
302 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
303 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
305 Type of Identification Produced..........................
307 (b) For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:
309 STATE OF FLORIDA
310 COUNTY OF ........
312 The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of
313  physical presence or  online notarization, this .... day of
314 ........, ...(year)..., by ...(name of person acknowledging)....
316 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
317 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
318 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
320 Type of Identification Produced..........................
322 (c) For an acknowledgment in a representative capacity:
324 STATE OF FLORIDA
325 COUNTY OF ........
327 The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of
328  physical presence or  online notarization, this .... day of
329 ........, ...(year)..., by ...(name of person)... as ...(type of
330 authority, . . . e.g. officer, trustee, attorney in fact)... for
331 ...(name of party on behalf of whom instrument was executed)....
333 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
334 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
335 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
337 Type of Identification Produced..........................
339 (14) A notary public must make reasonable accommodations to
340 provide notarial services to persons with disabilities.
341 (a) A notary public may notarize the signature of a person
342 who is blind after the notary public has read the entire
343 instrument to that person.
344 (b) A notary public may notarize the signature of a person
345 who signs with a mark if:
346 1. The document signing is witnessed by two disinterested
348 2. The notary public prints the person’s first name at the
349 beginning of the designated signature line and the person’s last
350 name at the end of the designated signature line; and
351 3. The notary public prints the words “his (or her) mark”
352 below the person’s signature mark.
353 (c) The following notarial certificates are sufficient for
354 the purpose of notarizing for a person who signs with a mark:
355 1. For an oath or affirmation:
357 ...(First Name)... ...(Last Name)...
358 ...His (or Her) Mark...
360 STATE OF FLORIDA
361 COUNTY OF ........
363 Sworn to and subscribed before me by means of  physical
364 presence or  online notarization, this .... day of ........,
365 ...(year)..., by ...(name of person making statement)..., who
366 signed with a mark in the presence of these witnesses:
368 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
369 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
370 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
372 Type of Identification Produced..........................
374 2. For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:
376 ...(First Name)... ...(Last Name)...
377 ...His (or Her) Mark...
379 STATE OF FLORIDA
380 COUNTY OF ........
382 The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of
383  physical appearance or  online notarization, this .... day
384 of ........, ...(year)..., by ...(name of person
385 acknowledging)..., who signed with a mark in the presence of
386 these witnesses:
388 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
389 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
390 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
392 Type of Identification Produced..........................
394 (d) A notary public may sign the name of a person whose
395 signature is to be notarized when that person is physically
396 unable to sign or make a signature mark on a document if:
397 1. The person with a disability directs the notary public
398 to sign in his or her presence;
399 2. The document signing is witnessed by two disinterested
401 3. The notary public writes below the signature the
402 following statement: “Signature affixed by notary, pursuant to
403 s. 117.05(14), Florida Statutes,” and states the circumstances
404 of the signing in the notarial certificate.
405 (e) The following notarial certificates are sufficient for
406 the purpose of notarizing for a person with a disability who
407 directs the notary public to sign his or her name:
408 1. For an oath or affirmation:
410 STATE OF FLORIDA
411 COUNTY OF ........
413 Sworn to (or affirmed) before me by means of  physical
414 presence or  online notarization, this .... day of ........,
415 ...(year)..., by ...(name of person making statement)..., and
416 subscribed by ...(name of notary)... at the direction of and in
417 the presence of ...(name of person making statement)..., and in
418 the presence of these witnesses:
420 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
421 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
422 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
424 Type of Identification Produced..........................
426 2. For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:
428 STATE OF FLORIDA
429 COUNTY OF ........
431 The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of
432  physical presence or  online notarization, this .... day of
433 ........, ...(year)..., by ...(name of person acknowledging)...
434 and subscribed by ...(name of notary)... at the direction of and
435 in the presence of ...(name of person acknowledging)..., and in
436 the presence of these witnesses:
438 ...(Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)...
439 ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)...
440 Personally Known ........ OR Produced Identification
442 Type of Identification Produced..........................
444 Section 5. Subsections (2) and (9) of section 117.107,
445 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
446 117.107 Prohibited acts.—
447 (2) A notary public may not sign notarial certificates
448 using a facsimile signature stamp unless the notary public has a
449 physical disability that limits or prohibits his or her ability
450 to make a written signature and unless the notary public has
451 first submitted written notice to the Department of State with
452 an exemplar of the facsimile signature stamp. This subsection
453 does not apply to or prohibit the use of an electronic signature
454 and seal by a notary public performing an electronic or online
455 notarization in accordance with this chapter.
456 (9) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a
457 document if the person whose signature is being notarized does
458 not appear before the notary public either by means of physical
459 presence or by means of audio-video communication technology as
460 authorized under part II of this chapter is not in the presence
461 of the notary public at the time the signature is notarized. Any
462 notary public who violates this subsection is guilty of a civil
463 infraction, punishable by penalty not exceeding $5,000, and such
464 violation constitutes malfeasance and misfeasance in the conduct
465 of official duties. It is no defense to the civil infraction
466 specified in this subsection that the notary public acted
467 without intent to defraud. A notary public who violates this
468 subsection with the intent to defraud is guilty of violating s.
470 Section 6. Section 117.201, Florida Statutes, is created to
472 117.201 Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
473 (1) “Appear before,” “before,” “appear personally before,”
474 or “in the presence of” mean:
475 (a) In the same physical location as another person and
476 close enough to see, hear, communicate with, and exchange
477 credentials with that person; or
478 (b) In a different physical location from another person,
479 but able to see, hear, and communicate with the person by means
480 of audio-video communication technology.
481 (2) “Audio-video communication technology” means technology
482 meeting the requirements of this part and of any rules adopted
483 hereunder which enables real-time, two-way communication using
484 electronic means in which participants are able to see, hear,
485 and communicate with one another.
486 (3) “Credential analysis” means a process or service
487 meeting the requirements of this part and of any rules adopted
488 hereunder through which a third party affirms the validity of a
489 government-issued identity credential or data thereon through
490 review of public or proprietary data sources.
491 (4) “Errors and omissions insurance” means a type of
492 insurance that provides coverage for potential errors or
493 omissions in or relating to the notarial act.
494 (5) “Government-issued identity credential” means any
495 approved credential for verifying identity under s.
497 (6) “Identity proofing” means a process or service meeting
498 the requirements of this part and of any rules adopted hereunder
499 through which a third party affirms the identity of an
500 individual through use of public or proprietary data sources,
501 which may include by means of knowledge-based authentication or
502 biometric verification.
503 (7) “Knowledge-based authentication” means a form of
504 identity proofing based on a set of questions formulated from
505 public and proprietary data sources for which the principal has
506 not provided a previous answer.
507 (8) “Online notarization” means the performance of an
508 electronic notarization by means of audio-video communication
509 technology and which meets the requirements of this chapter and
510 of any rules adopted hereunder.
511 (9) “Online notary public” means a notary public who has
512 registered with the Executive Office of the Governor to perform
513 online notarizations under this part, a civil-law notary
514 appointed under chapter 118, or a commissioner of deeds
515 appointed under part IV of chapter 721.
516 (10) “Principal” means an individual whose electronic
517 signature is acknowledged, witnessed, or attested to in an
518 online notarization or who takes an oath or affirmation from the
519 online notary public.
520 (11) “Remote presentation” means transmission of an image
521 of a government-issued identity credential that is of sufficient
522 quality to enable the online notary public to identify the
523 individual seeking the notary’s services and to perform
524 credential analysis through audio-video communication
527 Except where the context otherwise requires, any term defined in
528 s. 668.50 has the same meaning when used in this part.
529 Section 7. Section 117.209, Florida Statutes, is created to
531 117.209 Authority to perform online notarizations.—
532 (1) An online notary public may perform any of the
533 functions authorized under part I of this chapter as an online
534 notarization, excluding solemnizing the rites of matrimony.
535 (2) If a notarial act requires a principal to appear before
536 or in the presence of the online notary public, the principal
537 may appear before the online notary public by means of audio
538 video communication technology that meets the requirements of
539 this chapter and any rules adopted by the Executive Office of
540 the Governor under s. 117.295.
541 (3) An online notary public may perform a notarial act as
542 an online notarization as authorized under this chapter,
543 regardless of the physical location of the principal at the time
544 of the notarial act, provided the notary public is physically
545 located in this state while performing the online notarization.
546 (4) The validity of an online notarization performed by an
547 online notary public appointed in this state shall be determined
548 by applicable laws of this state regardless of the physical
549 location of the principal at the time of the notarial act.
550 Section 8. Section 117.215, Florida Statutes, is created to
552 117.215 Relation to other laws.—
553 (1) If a provision of law requires a notary public or other
554 authorized official of this state to notarize a signature or a
555 statement, to take an acknowledgement of an instrument, or to
556 administer an oath or affirmation so that a document may be
557 sworn, made under oath, or subject to penalty of perjury, an
558 online notarization performed in accordance with the provisions
559 of this part and any rules adopted hereunder satisfies such
561 (2) If a provision of law requires a signature or an act to
562 be witnessed, compliance with the online electronic witnessing
563 standards prescribed in s. 117.285 and any rules adopted
564 thereunder satisfies that requirement.
565 Section 9. Section 117.225, Florida Statutes, is created to
567 117.225 Registration; qualifications.—A notary public may
568 apply to be registered as an online notary public with the
569 Executive Office of the Governor by:
570 (1) Satisfying the qualification requirements for
571 appointment as a notary public under part I of this chapter or
572 the qualifications for appointment as a commissioner of deeds
573 under part IV of chapter 721.
574 (2) Certifying that the notary public has completed a live
575 or online course covering the duties, obligations, and
576 technology requirements for serving as an online notary public.
577 (3) Paying an online notary public application fee in the
578 amount of $25.
579 (4) Submitting a registration as an online notary public to
580 the Executive Office of the Governor, signed and sworn to by the
582 (5) Identifying the audio-video communication technology
583 and identity proofing methods that the online notary public
584 intends to use in performing online notarizations. If the
585 Department of State and the Agency for State Technology have
586 established standards for approval of technology pursuant to
587 this part, the technology and methods selected by the online
588 notary must be in conformance with such standards. If a form of
589 technology conforms to the standards, the Department of State
590 and the Agency for State Technology must approve the use of the
591 technology. If the Department of State and the Agency for State
592 Technology have not yet established such standards, the online
593 notary public must identify technologies that are consistent
594 with the requirements of s. 117.295(2).
595 (6) Providing evidence satisfactory to the Executive Office
596 of the Governor that the notary public has obtained a bond,
597 payable to any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty
598 by the online notary public acting in his or her official
599 capacity, conditioned for the due discharge of the office, in
600 the minimum amount of $25,000 and on such terms as are specified
601 by rule by the Department of State as reasonably necessary to
602 protect the public. The bond shall be approved and filed with
603 the Department of State and executed by a surety company duly
604 authorized to transact business in this state. Compliance by the
605 notary public with this requirement shall satisfy the
606 requirement of obtaining a bond under s. 117.01(7).
607 (7) Providing evidence satisfactory to the Executive Office
608 of the Governor that the notary public is covered by an errors
609 and omissions insurance policy from an insurer authorized to
610 transact business in this state, in the minimum amount of $1
611 million and on such terms as are specified by rule by the
612 Department of State as reasonably necessary to protect the
614 Section 10. Section 117.235, Florida Statutes, is created
615 to read:
616 117.235 Performance of notarial acts.—
617 (1) An online notary public is subject to part I to the
618 same extent as a notary public appointed and commissioned only
619 under that part, including the provisions of s. 117.021 relating
620 to electronic notarizations.
621 (2) An online notary public may perform notarial acts as
622 provided by part I in addition to performing online
623 notarizations as authorized and pursuant to the provisions of
624 this part.
625 Section 11. Section 117.245, Florida Statutes, is created
626 to read:
627 117.245 Electronic journal of online notarizations.—
628 (1) An online notary public shall keep a secure electronic
629 journal of electronic records notarized by the online notary
630 public. For each online notarization, the electronic journal
631 entry must contain all of the following:
632 (a) The date and time of the notarization.
633 (b) The type of notarial act.
634 (c) The type, the title, or a description of the electronic
635 record or proceeding.
636 (d) The printed name and address of each principal involved
637 in the transaction or proceeding.
638 (e) Evidence of identity of each principal involved in the
639 transaction or proceeding in the form of:
640 1. A statement that the person is personally known to the
641 online notary public;
642 2. A notation of the type of government-issued identity
643 credential provided to the online notary public;
644 3. A copy of the government-issued identity credential
645 provided; and
646 4. A copy of any other identity credential or information
648 (f) An indication that the principal satisfactorily passed
649 the identity proofing.
650 (g) An indication that the government-issued identity
651 credential satisfied the credential analysis.
652 (h) A recording of the audio-video communication in which:
653 1. The principal and any witnesses appeared before the
654 notary public.
655 2. The identity of each was confirmed.
656 3. Electronic records were signed by the principal and any
658 4. The notarial act was performed.
659 (i) The fee, if any, charged for the notarization.
660 (2) The online notary public shall take reasonable steps
662 (a) Ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of
663 online notarizations.
664 (b) Maintain a backup record of the electronic journal
665 required by subsection (1).
666 (c) Protect the electronic journal, the backup record, and
667 any other records received by the online notary public from
668 unauthorized access or use.
669 (3) The electronic journal required by subsection (1) shall
670 be maintained by the online notary public, or a custodian acting
671 on his or her behalf, for at least 10 years after the date of
672 the notarial act.
673 (4) An omitted or incomplete entry in the electronic
674 journal does not impair the validity of the notarial act or of
675 the electronic record notarized, but may be introduced as
676 evidence to establish violations of this chapter; as an
677 indication of possible fraud, forgery, or impersonation; or for
678 other evidentiary purposes.
679 Section 12. Section 117.255, Florida Statutes, is created
680 to read:
681 117.255 Use of electronic journal, signature, and seal.—An
682 online notary public shall:
683 (1) Take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered
684 device used to create an electronic signature is current and has
685 not been revoked or terminated by the device’s issuing or
686 registering authority.
687 (2) Keep his or her electronic journal, electronic
688 signature, and electronic seal secure and under his or her sole
689 control, which includes control in the form of access protection
690 using passwords or codes under control of the online notary
691 public. The online notary public may not allow another person to
692 use or access his or her electronic journal, electronic
693 signature, or electronic seal.
694 (3) Only use an electronic signature for performing online
696 (4) Attach or logically associate the online notary
697 public’s electronic signature and seal to the electronic
698 notarial certificate of an electronic record in a manner that is
699 capable of independent verification using tamper-evident
700 technology that renders any subsequent change or modification to
701 the electronic record evident.
702 (5) Immediately notify an appropriate law enforcement
703 agency and the Executive Office of the Governor of theft or
704 vandalism of his or her electronic journal, electronic
705 signature, or electronic seal. An online notary public shall
706 immediately notify the Executive Office of the Governor of the
707 loss or use by another person of the online notary public’s
708 electronic journal, electronic signature, or electronic seal.
709 (6) Make electronic copies, upon request, of the pertinent
710 entries in the electronic journal and provide access to the
711 related audio-video communication technology recordings to the
712 parties to the electronic records notarized, and to the title
713 agent, settlement agent, or title insurer who engaged the online
714 notary with regard to a real estate transaction. The online
715 notary public may charge a reasonable fee for making and
716 delivering electronic copies of a given series of related
717 electronic records. The online notary public shall disclose the
718 amount of such fee to the requester before making the electronic
720 Section 13. Section 117.265, Florida Statutes, is created
721 to read:
722 117.265 Online notarization procedures.—
723 (1) An online notary public physically located in this
724 state may perform an online notarization that meets the
725 requirements of this part regardless of whether the principal or
726 any witnesses are physically located in this state at the time
727 of the online notarization. An online notarial act performed in
728 accordance with this part is deemed to have been performed
729 within this state and is governed by the applicable laws of this
731 (2) In performing an online notarization, an online notary
732 public shall confirm the identity of a principal at the time
733 that the signature is taken by using audio-video communication
734 technology and processes that meet the requirements of this part
735 and of any rules adopted hereunder and record the entire two-way
736 audio-video conference session between the notary public and the
737 principal and any witnesses. A principal may not act in the
738 capacity of a witness for his or her own signature in an online
740 (3) In performing an online notarization of a principal not
741 located within this state, an online notary public must confirm
742 that the principal desires for the notarial act to be performed
743 by a Florida notary public and governed by the applicable laws
744 of this state.
745 (4) An online notary public shall confirm the identity of
746 the principal or any witness by:
747 (a) The online notary public’s personal knowledge of each
748 such individual; or
749 (b) All of the following, as the same may be refined or
750 supplemented in rules adopted pursuant to s. 117.295:
751 1. Remote presentation of a government-issued identity
752 credential by each individual;
753 2. Credential analysis of each government-issued identity
754 credential; and
755 3. Identity proofing of each individual which meets the
756 requirements of this part and of any rules adopted hereunder.
758 If the online notary public is unable to satisfy subparagraphs
759 (b)1.-3., or if the databases consulted for identity proofing do
760 not contain sufficient information to permit authentication, the
761 online notary public may not perform the online notarization.
762 (5) The online notary public shall take reasonable steps to
763 ensure that the audio-video communication technology used in an
764 online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception.
765 (6) The electronic notarial certificate for an online
766 notarization must include a notation that the notarization is an
767 online notarization.
768 (7) Except as expressly modified in this part, the
769 requirements of part I of this chapter apply to an online
770 notarization and an online notary public.
771 (8) Any failure to comply with the procedures set forth in
772 this section does not impair the validity of the notarial act or
773 the electronic record that was notarized, but may be introduced
774 as evidence to establish violations of this chapter; as an
775 indication of possible fraud, forgery, or impersonation; or for
776 other evidentiary purposes. This subsection may not be construed
777 to alter the duty of an online notary public to comply with this
778 chapter and any rules adopted hereunder.
779 Section 14. Section 117.275, Florida Statutes, is created
780 to read:
781 117.275 Fees for online notarization.—An online notary
782 public or the online notary public’s employer may charge a fee,
783 not to exceed $25, for performing an online notarization in
784 addition to any other fees authorized under part I of this
785 chapter. Fees for services other than the provision of notarial
786 acts are not governed by this section.
787 Section 15. Section 117.285, Florida Statutes, is created
788 to read:
789 117.285 Witnessing of online notarization.—An online notary
790 public may supervise the witnessing of electronic records by the
791 same audio-video communication technology used for online
792 notarization, as follows:
793 (1) The identity of each witness must be verified in the
794 same manner as the identity of the principal.
795 (2) The witness may physically be present with the
796 principal or remote from the principal provided the witness and
797 principal are using audio-video communication technology.
798 (3) The witness is present in either physical proximity to
799 the principal or through audio-video communication technology at
800 the time the principal affixes the electronic signature and
801 hears the principal make a statement to the effect that the
802 principal has signed the electronic record.
803 Section 16. Section 117.295, Florida Statutes, is created
804 to read:
805 117.295 Standards for electronic and online notarization;
806 rulemaking authority.—
807 (1) The Legislature intends that the standards applicable
808 to electronic notarization under s. 117.021 and for online
809 notarization under this part reflect future improvements in
810 technology and methods of assuring the identity of principals
811 and the security of an electronic record. The Department of
812 State, in collaboration with the Agency for State Technology,
813 may adopt rules and standards necessary to implement the
814 requirements of this chapter and such other rules and standards
815 as may be required to facilitate the integrity, security, and
816 reliability of online notarization, including the minimum
817 amounts of and required terms of bonds and errors and omissions
818 insurance to be held by an online notary public; education
819 requirements for online notaries public; standards regarding
820 identity proofing, credential analysis, unauthorized
821 interception, remote presentation, tamper-evident technology,
822 and audio-video communication technology; and may publish lists
823 of technologies that satisfy the standards and are approved for
824 use in online notarizations.
825 (2) Until the Department of State adopts applicable rules,
826 identity proofing, credential analysis, unauthorized
827 interception, remote presentation, tamper-evident technology,
828 and audio-video communication technology shall be governed by
829 the following minimum standards:
830 (a) Identity proofing by means of knowledge-based
831 authentication shall have, at a minimum, the following security
833 1. The principal must be presented with five or more
834 questions with a minimum of five possible answer choices per
836 2. Each question must be drawn from a third-party provider
837 of public and proprietary data sources and be identifiable to
838 the principal’s social security number or other identification
839 information, or the principal’s identity and historical events
841 3. Responses to all questions must be made within a 2
842 minute time constraint.
843 4. The principal must answer a minimum of 80 percent of the
844 questions correctly.
845 5. The principal may be offered one additional attempt in
846 the event of a failed attempt.
847 6. During the second attempt, the principal may not be
848 presented with more than three questions from the prior attempt.
849 (b) Credential analysis must confirm that the credential is
850 valid and matches the signer’s claimed identity using one or
851 more automated processes which scan the credential, including
852 its format features, data, barcodes, or other security features.
853 (c) Tamper-evident technology requirements are deemed
854 satisfied by use of technology that renders any subsequent
855 change or modification to the electronic record evident.
856 (d) Audio-video communication technology used in completing
857 online notarizations must meet the following requirements:
858 1. The signal transmission must be secure from
859 interception, access, or viewing by anyone other than the
860 participants communicating.
861 2. The technology must provide sufficient audio clarity and
862 video resolution to enable the notary to communicate with the
863 principal and to confirm the identity of the principal using
864 identification methods described in s. 117.265.
866 An online notary public is not responsible for the security of
867 the systems used by the principal or others to access the online
868 notarization session.
869 Section 17. Section 117.305, Florida Statutes, is created
870 to read:
871 117.305 Relation to federal law.—This part supersedes the
872 Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act as
873 authorized under 15 U.S.C. s. 7002, but does not modify, limit,
874 or supersede the requirements set forth in 15 U.S.C. s. 7001(c)
875 or authorize the electronic delivery of any order, notice, or
876 document described in 15 U.S.C. s. 7003(b).
877 Section 18. Present paragraph (h) of subsection (3) of
878 section 28.222, Florida Statutes, is redesignated as paragraph
879 (i), and a new paragraph (h) is added to that subsection, to
881 28.222 Clerk to be county recorder.—
882 (3) The clerk of the circuit court shall record the
883 following kinds of instruments presented to him or her for
884 recording, upon payment of the service charges prescribed by
886 (h) Copies of any instruments originally created and
887 executed using an electronic signature, as defined in s. 695.27,
888 and certified to be a true and correct paper printout by a
889 notary public in accordance with chapter 117, if the county
890 recorder is not prepared to accept electronic documents for
891 recording electronically.
892 Section 19. Subsection (1) of section 95.231, Florida
893 Statutes, is amended to read:
894 95.231 Limitations where deed or will on record.—
895 (1) Five years after the recording of an instrument
896 required to be executed in accordance with s. 689.01; 5 years
897 after the recording of a power of attorney accompanying and used
898 for an instrument required to be executed in accordance with s.
899 689.01; or 5 years after the probate of a will purporting to
900 convey real property, from which it appears that the person
901 owning the property attempted to convey, affect, or devise it,
902 the instrument, power of attorney, or will shall be held to have
903 its purported effect to convey, affect, or devise, the title to
904 the real property of the person signing the instrument, as if
905 there had been no lack of seal or seals, witness or witnesses,
906 defect in, failure of, or absence of acknowledgment or
907 relinquishment of dower, in the absence of fraud, adverse
908 possession, or pending litigation. The instrument is admissible
909 in evidence. A power of attorney validated under this subsection
910 shall be valid only for the purpose of effectuating the
911 instrument with which it was recorded.
912 Section 20. Section 689.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to
914 689.01 How real estate conveyed.—
915 (1) No estate or interest of freehold, or for a term of
916 more than 1 year, or any uncertain interest of, in or out of any
917 messuages, lands, tenements or hereditaments shall be created,
918 made, granted, transferred or released in any other manner than
919 by instrument in writing, signed in the presence of two
920 subscribing witnesses by the party creating, making, granting,
921 conveying, transferring or releasing such estate, interest, or
922 term of more than 1 year, or by the party’s lawfully authorized
923 agent, unless by will and testament, or other testamentary
924 appointment, duly made according to law; and no estate or
925 interest, either of freehold, or of term of more than 1 year, or
926 any uncertain interest of, in, to, or out of any messuages,
927 lands, tenements or hereditaments, shall be assigned or
928 surrendered unless it be by instrument signed in the presence of
929 two subscribing witnesses by the party so assigning or
930 surrendering, or by the party’s lawfully authorized agent, or by
931 the act and operation of law. No seal shall be necessary to give
932 validity to any instrument executed in conformity with this
933 section. Corporations may execute any and all conveyances in
934 accordance with the provisions of this section or ss. 692.01 and
936 (2) For purposes of this chapter:
937 (a) Any requirement that an instrument be signed in the
938 presence of two subscribing witnesses may be satisfied by
939 witnesses being present and electronically signing by means of
940 audio-video communication technology that meets the requirements
941 of part II of chapter 117 and any rules adopted thereunder.
942 (b) The act of witnessing an electronic signature is
943 satisfied if a witness is present either in physical proximity
944 to the principal or by audio-video communication technology at
945 the time the principal affixes his or her electronic signature
946 and hears the principal make a statement acknowledging that the
947 principal has signed the electronic record.
948 (3) All acts of witnessing heretofore made or taken
949 pursuant to subsection (2) are validated and, upon recording,
950 may not be denied to have provided constructive notice based on
951 any alleged failure to have strictly complied with this section,
952 as currently or previously in effect, or the laws governing
953 notarization of instruments, including online notarization, in
954 this state.
955 Section 21. Section 694.08, Florida Statutes, is amended to
957 694.08 Certain instruments validated, notwithstanding lack
958 of seals or witnesses, or defect in acknowledgment , etc.—
959 (1) Whenever any power of attorney has been executed and
960 delivered, or any conveyance has been executed and delivered to
961 any grantee by the person owning the land therein described, or
962 conveying the same in an official or representative capacity,
963 and has, for a period of 7 years or more been spread upon the
964 records of the county wherein the land therein described has
965 been or was at the time situated, and one or more subsequent
966 conveyances of said land or parts thereof have been made,
967 executed, delivered and recorded by parties claiming under such
968 instrument or instruments, and such power of attorney or
969 conveyance, or the public record thereof, shows upon its face a
970 clear purpose and intent of the person executing the same to
971 authorize the conveyance of said land or to convey the said
972 land, the same shall be taken and held by all the courts of this
973 state, in the absence of any showing of fraud, adverse
974 possession, or pending litigation, to have authorized the
975 conveyance of, or to have conveyed, the fee simple title, or any
976 interest therein, of the person signing such instruments, or the
977 person in behalf of whom the same was conveyed by a person in an
978 official or representative capacity, to the land therein
979 described as effectively as if there had been no defect in,
980 failure of, or absence of the acknowledgment or the certificate
981 of acknowledgment, if acknowledged, or the relinquishment of
982 dower, and as if there had been no lack of the word “as”
983 preceding the title of the person conveying in an official or
984 representative capacity, of any seal or seals, or of any witness
985 or witnesses, and shall likewise be taken and held by all the
986 courts of this state to have been duly recorded so as to be
987 admissible in evidence;
988 (2) Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to
989 any conveyance the validity of which shall be contested or have
990 been contested by suit commenced heretofore or within 1 year of
991 the effective date of this law.
992 Section 22. Section 695.03, Florida Statutes, is amended to
994 695.03 Acknowledgment and proof; validation of certain
995 acknowledgments; legalization or authentication before foreign
996 officials.—To entitle any instrument concerning real property to
997 be recorded, the execution must be acknowledged by the party
998 executing it, proved by a subscribing witness to it, or
999 legalized or authenticated by a civil-law notary or notary
1000 public who affixes her or his official seal, before the officers
1001 and in the following form and manner following:
1002 (1) WITHIN THIS STATE.—An acknowledgment or a proof of a
1003 person located made within this state may be made before a
1004 judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of any court; a United States
1005 commissioner or magistrate; or a notary public or civil-law
1006 notary of this state, and the certificate of acknowledgment or
1007 proof must be under the seal of the court or officer, as the
1008 case may be. The affixing of the official seal, or the
1009 electronic equivalent authorized under s. 117.021 or any other
1010 state law, conclusively establishes that the acknowledgment or
1011 proof was made in full compliance with the laws of this state.
1012 All affidavits and acknowledgments heretofore made or taken in
1013 this manner are hereby validated.
1014 (2) OUT OF WITHOUT THIS STATE BUT WITHIN THE UNITED
1015 STATES.—An acknowledgment or a proof of a person located outside
1016 made out of this state but within the United States may be made
1017 before an online notary public, a civil-law notary, of this
1018 state or by a commissioner of deeds appointed by the Governor of
1019 this state; a judge or clerk of any court of the United States
1020 or of any state, territory, or district; a United States
1021 commissioner or magistrate; or a notary public, justice of the
1022 peace, master in chancery, or registrar or recorder of deeds of
1023 any state, territory, or district having a seal, and the
1024 certificate of acknowledgment or proof must be under the seal of
1025 the court or officer, as the case may be. If the acknowledgment
1026 or proof is made before a notary public who does not affix a
1027 seal, it is sufficient for the notary public to type, print, or
1028 write by hand on the instrument, “I am a Notary Public of the
1029 State of ...(state)..., and my commission expires on
1031 (3) OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES OR WITHIN FOREIGN
1032 COUNTRIES.—An If the acknowledgment, an affidavit, an oath, a
1033 legalization, an authentication, or a proof of a person located
1034 outside the United States or is made in a foreign country , it
1035 may be made before a commissioner of deeds appointed by the
1036 Governor of this state to act in such country; before a notary
1037 public of such foreign country, an online notary public, or a
1038 civil-law notary of this state or of such foreign country who
1039 has an official seal; before an ambassador, envoy extraordinary,
1040 minister plenipotentiary, minister, commissioner, charge
1041 d’affaires, consul general, consul, vice consul, consular agent,
1042 or other diplomatic or consular officer of the United States
1043 appointed to reside in such country; or before a military or
1044 naval officer authorized by 10 U.S.C. s. 1044a the Laws or
1045 Articles of War of the United States to perform the duties of
1046 notary public, and the certificate of acknowledgment,
1047 legalization, authentication, or proof must be under the seal of
1048 the officer. A certificate legalizing or authenticating the
1049 signature of a person executing an instrument concerning real
1050 property and to which a civil-law notary or notary public of
1051 that country has affixed her or his official seal is sufficient
1052 as an acknowledgment. For the purposes of this section, the term
1053 “civil-law notary” means a civil-law notary as defined in
1054 chapter 118 or an official of a foreign country who has an
1055 official seal and who is authorized to make legal or lawful the
1056 execution of any document in that jurisdiction, in which
1057 jurisdiction the affixing of her or his official seal is deemed
1058 proof of the execution of the document or deed in full
1059 compliance with the laws of that jurisdiction.
1060 (4) VALIDATION.—All affidavits, oaths, acknowledgments,
1061 legalizations, authentications, or proofs made or taken in any
1062 manner as set forth in subsections (1)-(3) are validated and
1063 upon recording may not be denied to have provided constructive
1064 notice based on any alleged failure to have strictly complied
1065 with this section, as currently or previously in effect, or the
1066 laws governing notarization of instruments.
1068 All affidavits, legalizations, authentications, and
1069 acknowledgments heretofore made or taken in the manner set forth
1070 above are hereby validated.
1071 Section 23. Section 695.04, Florida Statutes, is amended to
1073 695.04 Requirements of certificate.—The certificate of the
1074 officer before whom the acknowledgment or proof is taken, except
1075 for a certificate legalizing or authenticating the signature of
1076 a person executing an instrument concerning real property
1077 pursuant to s. 695.03(3), shall contain and set forth
1078 substantially the matter required to be done or proved to make
1079 such acknowledgment or proof effectual as set forth in s.
1081 Section 24. Section 695.05, Florida Statutes, is amended to
1083 695.05 Certain defects cured as to acknowledgments and
1084 witnesses.—All deeds, conveyances, bills of sale, mortgages or
1085 other transfers of real or personal property within the limits
1086 of this state, heretofore or hereafter made and received bona
1087 fide and upon good consideration by any corporation, and
1088 acknowledged for record by before some officer, stockholder or
1089 other person interested in the corporation, grantee, or
1090 mortgagee as a notary public or other officer authorized to take
1091 acknowledgments of instruments for record within this state,
1092 shall be held, deemed and taken as valid as if acknowledged by
1093 the proper notary public or other officer authorized to take
1094 acknowledgments of instruments for record in this state not so
1095 interested in said corporation, grantee or mortgagee; and said
1096 instrument whenever recorded shall be deemed notice to all
1097 persons; provided, however, that this section shall not apply to
1098 any instrument heretofore made, the validity of which shall be
1099 contested by suit commenced within 1 year of the effective date
1100 of this law.
1101 Section 25. Section 695.28, Florida Statutes, is amended to
1103 695.28 Validity of recorded electronic documents.—
1104 (1) A document that is otherwise entitled to be recorded
1105 and that was or is submitted to the clerk of the court or county
1106 recorder by electronic or other means and accepted for
1107 recordation is deemed validly recorded and provides notice to
1108 all persons notwithstanding:
1109 (a) That the document was received and accepted for
1110 recordation before the Department of State adopted standards
1111 implementing s. 695.27; or
1112 (b) Any defects in, deviations from, or the inability to
1113 demonstrate strict compliance with any statute, rule, or
1114 procedure relating to electronic signatures, electronic
1115 witnesses, electronic notarization, or online notarization, or
1116 for submitting or recording to submit or record an electronic
1117 document in effect at the time the electronic document was
1118 executed or was submitted for recording;
1119 (c) That the document was signed, witnessed, or notarized
1120 electronically or that witnessing or notarization may have been
1121 done outside the physical presence of the notary public or
1122 principal; or
1123 (d) That the document recorded was a certified printout of
1124 a document to which one or more electronic signatures have been
1126 (2) This section does not alter the duty of the clerk or
1127 recorder to comply with s. 28.222, s. 695.27, or any rules
1128 adopted pursuant to those sections that section.
1129 (3) This section does not preclude a challenge to the
1130 validity or enforceability of an instrument or electronic record
1131 based upon fraud, forgery, impersonation, duress, undue
1132 influence, minority, illegality, unconscionability, or any other
1133 basis not in the nature of those matters described in subsection
1135 Section 26. This act shall take effect January 1, 2019.