New Law Authorizing Remote Notarization Clears the Way for Online Auto Sales to Resume

(HARRISBURG) – A new law will allow notaries to do business remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, clearing a major hurdle that prevented auto sales from being conducted online, according to Senator Ryan Aument (R-Landisville), who supported the legislation.

Act 15 of 2020 extends the ability of notaries to notarize documents remotely. A notary public would still be required to confirm an individual’s identity and reasonably identify records, and an audio/visual recording of the notarial act and all related interactions would be required.

A result of the new law, the Wolf Administration announced today that auto dealerships will be able to conduct online vehicle sales and provided guidance for these businesses to re-open. In-person sales are still prohibited.

“Senator Scott Martin and I called on the Governor nearly a month ago to allow online auto sales in Pennsylvania, and I am pleased that he has listened,” said Aument. “Essential workers must have access to purchasing vehicles, conveniently and locally, especially during this health crisis, and this measure will allow them to do so.”

The new e-notary option was part of a broad bill designed to help local governments operate during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing them to conduct remote meetings, extend property tax deadlines and waive penalties for late property tax payments. The law also reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and requires the panel to prepare a report on the effect of the COVID-19 disaster emergency on healthcare facilities.

While Senator Aument was encouraged by the fact that restrictions on auto dealers will be relaxed, he expressed concern about other businesses within the state: “I am disappointed at the Governor’s decision to veto Senate Bill 613, legislation that would have aligned Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 mitigation plan with the guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and which are used by twenty-two states and the District of Columbia. While a little progress is better than no progress at all, the actions by the governor today fall woefully short of what is necessary to get Pennsylvanians back to work in a way that won’t jeopardize public health. Pennsylvania has some of the most stringent restrictions in the country right now, and Senate Bill 613 would have not only brought our state in line with many others, but it also would have created parity in a process that has thus far been arbitrary and unfair to Pennsylvania businesses.”

CONTACT:  Ryan Boop (717) 787-4420

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