Legislative Updates

California Capitol BuildingWith the end of the current recess of the Legislature in Sacramento, the Governor considered more than 900 bills that were passed during the session. Below are some that are of particular interest to real estate and escrow professionals.

AB 2566—Notaries public: acceptance of identification

Under existing law, notary publics must require satisfactory evidence that the person making the acknowledgement is actually the person described in and who executed the instrument. The law provides certain evidence on which notary publics can rely, including passports. While previously passports from foreign governments were required to be stamped by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security, now under AB 2566, that requirement is removed. This bill was controversial for a number of reasons. First, it was argued that it encouraged illegal immigrants. And second, it now, notaries will have to be more cautious in accepting foreign passports with which they are not familiar since they will not have the U.S. Immigration stamp as an indicator of the validity of the passport.

AB2143—County recorder: electronic recording

Assembly Bill 2143 makes three changes to laws surrounding electronic recording of documents:

  1. Under existing law, each county recorder must complete a yearly statistical report of documents recorded and filed. Under AB 2143, that report must include information regarding electronically submitted documents, and documents must be counted and reported in the same manner regardless of the method of transmission.
  2. Under existing law, county recorders can contract with specified entities for the delivery and return of a digitized electronic record of an instrument affecting any right, title, or interest in real property. Under AB 2143, until January 1, 2027, that authorization is extended to allow contracting for the recording and delivery of instruments recorded consistent with a specific provision, and requires that authorized submitters of records must provide proof of general liability coverage.
  3. Under existing law, the Attorney General is required to adopt regulations for review, approval, and oversight of electronic recording delivery systems, including specified requirements and procedures pertaining to them. AB2143 authorizes the Attorney General to adopt regulations pertaining to general liability coverage for specified entities contracting with county recorders to deliver and return digitized electronic records of instruments affecting any right, title, or interest in real property.

AB1807—Real Estate Licensees

Under existing law, the Real Estate Commissioner is required to post information online showing the status of every license issued by the Bureau of Real Estate. Assembly Bill 1807, authorizes a petition process, set to begin January 1, 2018. This petition process would allow licensees to petition the commissioner to remove disciplinary information from online so long as it has been posted for at least 10 years, and the licensee can show evidence of rehabilitation. The bill also authorizes the creation of relevant regulations and requires that the commissioner maintain a list of all alterations made as a result of the petition process. This information will be of particular interest not only to consumers but also to those who hire real estate licensees in their businesses.