PA 10-33—HB 5377

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT ADOPTING THE UNIFORM UNSWORN FOREIGN DECLARATIONS ACT

SUMMARY: This act specifies how someone located outside the boundaries of the United States can make an unsworn declaration that will be given the same effect as a sworn declaration required or permitted by state law. It also expands the crime of perjury to include false statements in unsworn declarations made under the act's provisions.

Under the act, an “unsworn declaration” is a declaration in a signed record that is not under oath but is given subject to the state penalty for perjury. A “sworn declaration” is a declaration in a signed record under oath and includes a sworn statement, verification, certificate, or affidavit.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

LOCATION FOR MAKING AN UNSWORN DECLARATION

The act applies to an unsworn declaration made by someone physically outside the boundaries of the United States. It defines the “boundaries of the United States” as the geographic boundaries of the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to U. S. jurisdiction.

The act applies regardless of whether the location is subject to United States jurisdiction. But it does not apply to someone physically located on property within the boundaries of the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of another country or a federally recognized Indian tribe.

FORM OF UNSWORN DECLARATION

The act requires the unsworn declaration to be signed and dated and read substantially as follows:

“I declare under penalty of perjury under the law of Connecticut that the foregoing is true and correct, and that I am physically located outside the geographic boundaries of the United States, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

If a state law requires a sworn declaration in a particular medium, the act requires the unsworn declaration to be in the same medium.

PERJURY

The act expands the crime of perjury to include intentionally making a false statement or swearing, affirming, or testifying falsely to a material statement the person does not believe to be true in an unsworn declaration made under the act's provisions. By law, perjury is a class D felony (see Table on Penalties).

DEFINITIONS

Under the act, a “record” is information inscribed on a tangible medium or stored in an electronic or other medium and retrievable in perceivable form. “Sign” means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, to (1) execute or adopt a tangible symbol or (2) attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

“Law” includes the federal or state constitutions and statutes; judicial decisions or orders; rules of court; executive orders; and administrative rules, regulations, and orders.

A “state “ means any U. S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to U. S. jurisdiction.

FEDERAL LAW

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

PROMOTING UNIFORMITY

The act provides that in applying and construing its provisions, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law on its subject matter among states that enact these uniform provisions.

BACKGROUND

Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act

On June 30, 2000, Congress enacted the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act to facilitate 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 allows a state statute to modify, limit, or supersede it only if the state law:

1. constitutes an enactment or adoption of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act 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 when they satisfy certain standards and the state law makes specific reference to this act.

Consumer Protections in 15 U. S. C. 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 the use and has not withdrawn that 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.

Notices Listed in 15 U. S. C. 7003(b)

This federal law specifies the following types of notices:

1. court notices, required to be executed in connection with court proceedings;

2. notices about the cancellation or termination of utility services;

3. default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure, or eviction, or the right to cure, under a credit agreement secured by, or rental agreement for, an individual's primary residence;

4. the cancellation or termination of health or life insurance benefits; and

5. the recall or material failure of a product that risks health or safety.

OLR Tracking: CR: KM: JL: ts