President Obama will not sign the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010 (H.R.3808), which would have required state and federal courts to ‘recognize any notarization made by a notary public’ licensed in any state, including electronic signatures.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Sept. 27 without any public debate; it previously passed the House of Representatives in a voice vote in April. The Wall Street Journal reports that the president will not formally veto the bill, but instead will send the legislation back to Congress using the ‘pocket veto’ process.
The White House issued a statement that said, ‘We need to think through the intended and unintended consequences of this bill on consumer protections, especially in light of the recent developments with mortgage processors. The authors of this bill no doubt had the best intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce. We will work with them and other leaders in Congress to explore the best ways to achieve this goal going forward.’
The bill's timing created controversy, in light of recent disclosures of ‘robo-signing’ on tens of thousands of foreclosure documents. Critics of the bill claimed that it would make it far more difficult to challenge foreclosures in court.
Reuters quoted Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner as saying it ‘seemed odd’ for the legislation to reach the president's desk at a time when foreclosures are being halted in nearly half of the states due to questionable document reviews. Last week, Brunner referred specific instances of notary abuse occurring at Chase Home Mortgage and by the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) to a federal prosecutor for investigation.
Sources: Reuters, Wall Street Journal, White House