Montana is reaffirming its commitment to the remote online notarization (RON) movement with the unanimous approval of House Bill 370 by the Montana Legislature. Four years ago, the state had adopted RON with Senate Bill 306, but the recent legislation aims to revise and align Montana's RON laws with the national model.
Introduced by Montana Majority Whip Becky Beard in February, H.B. 370 addresses the need to expand opportunities for the state's remote notaries and enhance the foundational efficiencies of RON. The bill brings Montana's legislation in line with the national model, particularly in areas such as identity verification. While the national model allows signers to prove their identity through credential analysis and knowledge-based authentication questions, Montana's existing law requires the signer to personally know the notary or be identified through a credible witness.
H.B. 370 also removes the requirement for signers to be legal residents of Montana, except for notarizations related to proxy marriages. The legislation aligns Montana with model legislation from the Mortgage Bankers Association and American Land Title Association.
The passage of H.B. 370 marks a significant development for the RON movement, with Montana contributing to the momentum seen in the first quarter of 2019. It is the sixth RON-related bill to pass this year, signaling a promising trend for modernizing notarial practices across the country.