PA 08-56—HB 5535

Judiciary Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT ADOPTING THE UNIFORM REAL PROPERTY ELECTRONIC RECORDING ACT

SUMMARY: This act, with respect to documents eligible to be recorded in municipal land records, authorizes town clerks to:

1. receive, index, store, archive, and transmit electronic documents;

2. provide electronic access to, and search and retrieval of, documents and information;

3. convert paper documents accepted for recording into electronic form;

4. convert into electronic form information recorded before they began to record electronic documents;

5. accept electronically any fee or tax that they are authorized to collect; and

6. agree with federal and other state and local officials on (a) procedures or processes to facilitate the electronic satisfaction of prior conditions on recording and prior approvals by other officials, and (b) the electronic payment of fees and taxes.

The act requires town clerks who exercise the authority the act grants to (1) comply with regulations adopted by the state librarian under the act and (2) continue to accept paper documents as authorized by state law after beginning to accept electronic documents for recording and place entries for both types of documents in the same index.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

CONDITIONS FOR RECORDING

The act specifies that if a law requires, as a condition for recording, that a document be a signed original, on paper, another tangible medium, or in writing, the requirement is satisfied by an electronic document complying with the act's requirements.

The act also specifies that:

1. a requirement that a document or a signature associated with it be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath is met if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform that act, and all other information required to be included, is attached to or logically associated with the document or signature and

2. a physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal need not accompany an electronic signature.

STATE LIBRARIAN DUTIES

The act requires the state librarian to (1) establish a Real Property Electronic Recording Advisory Committee and (2) in consultation with the committee and the public records administrator, adopt implementing regulations.

The act also requires the state librarian, consistent with the act's purposes, policies, and provisions, to consider in adopting, amending, and repealing regulations:

1. standards and practices of other jurisdictions;

2. the most recent standards promulgated by national standard-setting bodies, such as the Property Records Industry Association;

3. the views of interested persons and government officials and entities;

4. the needs of municipalities of varying sizes, population, and resources; and

5. standards requiring adequate information security protection to ensure that electronic documents are accurate, authentic, adequately preserved and resistant to tampering.

The act specifies that the purpose of this requirement is to harmonize the standards and practices of Connecticut town clerks with those of recording offices in other jurisdictions that enact legislation substantially the same as this act.

ELECTRONIC RECORDING ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The committee consists of:

1. three town clerks, one from a town with a population under 20,000, one from a town with a population between 20,000 and 60,000, and one from a town with a population of at least 60,000;

2. three attorneys experienced in real estate law;

3. the secretary of the state, or a designee;

4. the public records administrator, or a designee;

5. an individual experienced in mortgage banking;

6. someone experienced in the title insurance business;

7. a notary public;

8. an individual with experience performing title searches of real property; and

9. a licensed real estate broker.

The committee members must be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the state librarian. The members serve without compensation, but must be reimbursed, within available appropriations, for expenses necessarily incurred performing their duties. The committee must advise the state librarian with respect to adopting, amending, and repealing regulations.

APPLYING AND INTERPRETING THE ACT

When applying and construing the act, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law among states that enact uniform provisions.

FEDERAL LAW

The act specifies that it modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (15 USC 7001 et seq). But the act also specifies that it does not modify, limit, or supersede consumer protections specified in federal law (15 USC 7001(c)), nor does it authorize electronic delivery of the notices described in 15 USC 7003(b) (see BACKGROUND).

CONNECTICUT UNIFORM ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS ACT

Prior law exempted certain land transaction laws from the Connecticut Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (CGS 1-266 to 1-286). This act removes the exemption, thus making the recording of deeds subject to it (see BACKGROUND).

Specifically, it removes the exemption for the following laws.

Citation

Title

47-10

Conveyance to be recorded

47-12

Change in name or status of real estate owner

47-12a

Affidavit of facts relating to title or interest in real estate

47-14g

Divorce or marriage dissolution of husband and wife joint tenants

47-14j

Conveyance to effect change in interests among tenants

47-14k

Conveyance or devise creating a joint tenancy

47-15

Certificate of taking land by appraisal to be recorded

47-16

Lost deed of land in two or more towns, copy recorded

47-17

Records of documents as notice of equitable rights

47-18a

Notice of listing of historic structure on National Register of Historic Places

47-19

Leases for more than one year

BACKGROUND

Connecticut Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (CGS 1-266 to 1-286)

The Connecticut Uniform Electronic Transaction Act establishes as state law a version of the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA), which provides uniform rules governing electronic commerce transactions.

Connecticut UETA establishes a legal foundation for the use of electronic communications in transactions where the parties, including state and local governmental agencies, have agreed to conduct business electronically. It validates the use of electronic records and signatures and places electronic commerce and paper-based commerce on the same legal footing. An “electronic record” is one created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means. E-mails, faxes, and Internet messaging are examples of electronic records. “Electronic signatures” are electronic sounds, symbols, or processes that people attach to or logically associate with a record to indicate their signature.

Federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act facilitates the use of electronic records and signatures in interstate and foreign commerce by ensuring the validity and legal effect of contracts entered into electronically (15 U. S. C. 7001 et seq. ).

This law (15 USC 7002) allows a state statute to modify, limit, or supersede it only if the state law:

1. constitutes an enactment or adoption of UETA or

2. specifies the alternative procedures or requirements for the use or acceptance (or both) of electronic records or electronic signatures to establish the legal effect, validity, or enforceability if they satisfy certain standards and the state law makes specific reference to this act.

Consumer Protections in 15 USC 7001(c)

If a statute, regulation, or other rule requires that information relating to any transaction in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce be provided or made available to a consumer in writing, the use of an electronic record to provide or make available (whichever is required) such information satisfies the requirement that the information be in writing if the following conditions, among others, are satisfied:

1. the consumer has affirmatively consented to such use and has not withdrawn such consent;

2. the consumer, before consenting, is provided with a clear and conspicuous statement that satisfies certain requirements, and is provided with a statement of the hardware and software requirements for access to and retention of the electronic records; and

3. the consumer consents or confirms consent electronically, in a way that reasonably demonstrates that he or she can access information in the electronic form that will be used to provide the information that is the subject of the consent.

OLR Tracking: GC: KM: CR: dw