H.R. 3808X: Disposing of the President’s Veto of H.R. 3808

H.R. 3808X

Disposing of the President’s Veto of H.R. 3808

Date
November 18, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

Disposing of the President’s Veto of H.R. 3808 is being considered on the floor on Wednesday, November 17, 2010.  Per the Constitution, a two-thirds majority in the House and the Senate is required to override a presidential veto. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 3808 would require that all federal courts recognize lawful notarization made by a notary public licensed or commissioned under the laws of a state other than the state where the federal court is located if:

(1) such notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce; and

(2) a seal of office, as a symbol of the notary public’s authority, is used in the notarization; or in the case of an electronic record, the seal information is securely attached to, or logically associated with, the electronic record so as to render the record tamper-resistant.       

 The bill would also require that all courts that operate under the jurisdiction of a state to recognize any lawful notarization made by a notary public licensed or commissioned under the laws of a state other than the state where the court is located if:

(1)   such notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce; and

(2)   a seal of office, as a symbol of the notary public’s authority, is used in the notarization; or in the case of an electronic record, the seal information is securely attached to, or logically associated with, the electronic record so as to render the record tamper-resistant.

 H.R. 3808 applies the definition for “electronic record” from Section 106 of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (15 USC §7006) to the bill.  The bill also specifies that seal information is “logically associated with” an electronic record if the seal information is securely bound to the electronic record in such manner as to make it impracticable to falsify or alter, without detection, either the record or the seal information.

Background

PRESIDENT’S VETO

Recent criticism from the administration relates to issues regarding nationwide foreclosures.  According to Republican Committee staff, evidence nationwide has exposed the details of so-called “robo-signings” involving third-party law firms representing banks.  Many of the law firms were offered financial incentives to clear toxic bank inventories of bad mortgages.  In some cases, notarizations were pro forma afterthoughts to the bulk signing of affidavits attesting to the accuracy of lost or missing notes, some of which did not bear genuine signatures.  

 The bill was vetoed by President Obama due to concerns that the bill would unwittingly be used to promote greater fraud.  The counter argument is that the bill only enhances the interstate recognition of "lawfully" notarized documents.  The bill does not address fraud in any way.  Some Members may feel that combating fraud is important, but that it is an enforcement issue that does not concern H.R. 3808.          

 

BACKGROUND

Rep. Aderholt was approached by a constituent whose services as a notary-court reporter were not recognized in a legal proceeding held outside the state of Alabama.  Testimony taken at a 2006 subcommittee hearing revealed that, notwithstanding the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution, some states do not always recognize the legal validity of documents notarized in another state, thus complicating commercial transactions and legal disputes that cross state lines.

 During the current session of Congress, the bill was introduced on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 and was approved by the House on Tuesday, April 27, 2010.  It was approved by the Senate on Monday, September 27, 2010.

 During the 110th Congress, the bill was approved by the House on July 17, 2007.  However, the Senate failed to take action on the bill before the end of the session.

 During the 109th Congress, the bill was approved by the House on Wednesday, December 6, 2006, but the Senate did not bring up the bill for consideration.

Cost

A CBO score for H.R. 3808 was not available as of press time.