Senate Bill No. 517
(By Senators Jenkins, Foster, Minard, Stollings,
Wells, Caruth, Sypolt, Unger, Plymale and McCabe)
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported February 17, 2010.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §39A-4-1, §39A-4-2,
§39A-4-3, §39A-4-4, §39A-4-5, §39A-4-6 and §39A-4-7, all
relating to creating the Uniform Real Property Electronic
Recording Act; providing short title; defining certain terms;
clarifying validity of electronic documents and electronic
signatures; providing for recording of electronic documents;
requiring any county clerk implementing the provisions of the
act to comply with established standards; authorizing county
clerks to receive, index, store, archive and transmit
electronic documents; authorizing county clerks to allow
public access, search and retrieval of electronic documents;
allowing county clerks to convert paper documents accepted for recording into electronic documents; authorizing county clerks
to collect electronically any tax or fee they are authorized
by law to collect; authorizing county clerks to agree with
other jurisdictions on procedures or processes necessary for
electronic recording of documents; authorizing the Governor's
Office of Technology to work with various interest groups to
develop the standards necessary to electronically record real
property documents; setting forth areas for consideration when
adopting or changing standards; providing for uniformity of
application and construction of the act; and providing that
this act modifies, limits and supersedes certain parts of the
federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §39A-4-1, §39A-4-2,
§39A-4-3, §39A-4-4, §39A-4-5, §39A-4-6 and §39A-4-7, all to read as
ARTICLE 4. UNIFORM REAL PROPERTY ELECTRONIC RECORDING ACT.
§39A-4-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the Uniform Real Property
Electronic Recording Act.
In this article:
(a) "Document" means information that is:
(1) Inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an
electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form;
(2) Eligible to be recorded in the land records maintained by
the clerk of the county commission, herein after "county clerk" or
(b) "Electronic" means relating to technology having
electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic
or similar capabilities.
(c) "Electronic document" means a document that is received by
the county clerk in an electronic form.
(d) "Electronic signature" means an electronic sound, symbol,
or process attached to or logically associated with a document and
executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the
(e) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust,
estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association,
joint venture, public corporation, government or governmental
subdivision, agency, instrumentality or any other legal or
(f) "State" means a state of the United States, the District
of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands or any
territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
§39A-4-3. Validity of electronic documents.
(a) If a law requires, as a condition for recording, that a
document be an original, be on paper or another tangible medium or
be in writing, the requirement is satisfied by an electronic
document satisfying the requirements of this article.
(b) If a law requires, as a condition for recording, that a
document be signed, the requirement is satisfied by an electronic
(c) A requirement that a document or a signature associated
with a document be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed or
made under oath is satisfied if the electronic signature of the
person authorized to perform that act, and all other information
required to be included, is attached to or logically associated
with the document or signature. A physical or electronic image of
a stamp, impression or seal need not accompany an electronic
§39A-4-4. Recording of documents.
(a) In this section, "paper document" means a document that is
received by the county clerk in a form that is not electronic.
(b) A county clerk:
(1) Who implements any of the functions listed in this section
shall do so in compliance with standards established by the Offices
of Technology pursuant to section five of this article;
(2) May receive, index, store, archive and transmit electronic
(3) May provide for access to, and for search and retrieval
of, documents and information by electronic means;
(4) Who accepts electronic documents for recording shall
continue to accept paper documents as authorized by state law and
shall place entries for both types of documents in the same index;
(5) May convert paper documents accepted for recording into
(6) May convert information recorded before the clerk began to
record electronic documents into electronic form;
(7) May accept electronically any fee or tax that the clerk is
authorized to collect; and
(8) May agree with other officials of a state or a political
subdivision thereof, or of the United States, on procedures or
processes to facilitate the electronic satisfaction of prior
approvals and conditions precedent to recording and the electronic
payment of fees and taxes.
§39A-4-5. Administration and standards.
(a) The Office of Technology, created in section three, article
six, chapter five-a of this code, shall propose rules for
legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article
three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code containing the standards
to implement this article. The Office of Technology shall establish a working group to develop the standards required by this article.
The working group shall, at a minimum, include representatives of
the Secretary of State, the County Clerks' Association, the County
Commissioners' Association, members of the West Virginia Bar
Association who specialize in title work, mortgage lenders, the
Division of Banking or both mortgage lenders and the Division of
Banking and any other person or group that may offer pertinent
information or assistance in establishing the standards.
(b) To keep the standards and practices of county clerks in
this state in harmony with the standards and practices of recording
offices in other jurisdictions that enact substantially the Uniform
Real Property Electronic Recording Act and to keep the technology
used by clerks in this state compatible with technology used by
recording offices in other jurisdictions that enact substantially
this act, the Office of Technology so far as is consistent with the
purposes, policies, and provisions of this article, in adopting,
amending and repealing standards shall consider:
(1) Standards and practices of other jurisdictions;
(2) The most recent standards promulgated by national standard-
setting bodies such as the Property Records Industry Association;
(3) The views of interested persons and governmental officials
(4) The needs of counties of varying size, population and
(5) Standards requiring adequate information security
protection to ensure that electronic documents are accurate,
authentic, adequately preserved and resistant to tampering.
§39A-4-6. Uniformity of application and construction.
In applying and construing this Uniform Real Property
Electronic Recording Act, consideration must be given to the need to
promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter
among states that enact it.
§39A-4-7. Relation to electronic signatures in global and national
This article modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal
Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (15 U.S.C.
§7001, et seq.) but does not modify, limit or supersede §101(c) of
that act (15 U.S.C. §7001(c)) or authorize electronic delivery of
any of the notices described in §103(b) of that act (15 U.S.C.
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to adopt the Uniform Real
Property Electronic Recording Act. Under the proposed bill, any
requirement of state law describing or requiring that a land record
document be an original, on paper, or in writing are satisfied by a
document in electronic form. In addition, any requirement that the
document contain a signature or acknowledgment is satisfied by an
electronic signature or acknowledgment. The bill authorizes the
clerk to accept electronic documents for recording and to index and
store those documents. The article does not provide a means of
funding the establishment or operation of an electronic recording
system. No single approach is recommended and in fact, the commissioners recognized that the best approach for a state may
involve multiple systems. The bill requires the Secretary of State
to develop a legislative rule containing standards for electronic
recording to be used by each county. The standards are to be
developed with a vision toward fostering intra-and interstate
harmony and uniformity in the electronic recording process. The SOS
or Office of Technology, whichever is chosen to develop the
standards required by the rule, will engage in a stakeholder
rulemaking process to assure that all of the affected parties have
the opportunity to participate in the process.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.)