At today's press briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced he has signed Executive Order 20-08 suspending a statutory requirement that a notary public must conduct the notarization of official documents while the singer appears personally in front of him or her.

As requested by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, the Order allows for the use of audio-video technology to complete the personal appearance requirement, to "protect the health and safety of both notaries public as well as Missourians who otherwise would have been required to have close contact with the notary."

“I am grateful to Governor Parson for agreeing to suspend this requirement,” Ashcroft said in a release today. “In every way we can in state government, we must allow real estate, business, and personal transactions to continue without endangering the health of Missourians. This Executive Order is vital to protecting the safety of thousands of Notaries Public, who are often asked to visit homes and businesses to notarize documents. I appreciate the Governor always being willing to listen and act when necessary.”

The Executive Order invokes the provisions of sections 44.100 and 44.110, RSMo, which declared a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. 

It orders that the requirement of personal appearance before a notary public is suspended to the extent that any notarial act is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology, provided certain conditions are met. The order is valid until May 15, 2020, unless extended.

Already-registered notaries must register as electronic notaries public. Details on registration and the personal appearance suspension will soon be available on the Secretary of State’s website at https://www.sos.mo.gov/ElectronicNotary. Please email commissions@sos.mo.gov or call (573) 751-2783 with questions.

The Executive Order, and its conditions below, will be viewable online at https://www.sos.mo.gov/library/reference/orders/2020/eo8:

The State of Missouri, including chapter 44, RSMo, hereby order that the requirement of personal appearance before a notary public under the laws of this state is suspended to the extent that any notarial act is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology, provided that the following conditions are met: 

1. Any notarial act performed through video conference in compliance with this order shall have the same force, effect, and validity as any other notarial act performed in compliance with Missouri law, and may be relied upon to the same extent as any other notarial act under Missouri law. 

2. That the document must contain a notarial certificate, a jurat or acknowledgement, which states the principal appeared remotely pursuant to Executive Order 20-08. 

3. Any person whose signature is to be notarized must display a valid photo ID to the notary during the video conference if the person is not personally or otherwise known to the notary. 

4. That the person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the State of Missouri. 

5. The video conference is a live, interactive audio-visual communication between the principal, notary, and other necessary persons, which allows for observation, direct interaction, and communication at the time of signing. 

6. That the notary shall record in their journal the exact time and software used to perform the notarial act along with all other required information, absent the signature of the principal. 

7. That the notary must be physically located in the State of Missouri and state which county they are physically in for the jurisdiction on the notarial certificate. 

8. For electronic documents: a. That the Notary Public is registered as an electronic notary public; b. That the document must be signed electronically with software approved by the secretary of state as an acceptable medium to conduct the transaction; which may include software requiring third party multifactor authentication; and c. That the notary shall affix their electronic notary seal to the electronic document. 

9. For paper documents: a. A tangible or electronic copy of the signed document must be mailed or otherwise transmitted to the notary within five business days; and b. To the extent that any Missouri state law requires the physical presence of any testator, settlor, principal, witness, notary, or other person, for the effective execution of any estate planning document, such as a Will, Trust or power of attorney, or a self-proving affidavit of the execution of such document, such provisions are temporarily suspended or waived, and satisfied if the necessary parties are present through a video conference as set forth in section 5. 

10. That if the document needs to be presented in a paper medium, it shall satisfy the requirements of being an original document, and prima facie evidence, if the notary prints the document and affixes an attestation stating that is a true and correct copy of the electronic document, shall state it was performed pursuant to Executive Order 20-08 and the notary signs and affixes their rubber stamp notary seal. 

11. That the fees allowed for notarization under this executive order shall be the same as those allowed for other notarial acts, except a fee charged for the use of a Remote Online Notary platform or service shall not be considered a fee for a notarial act pursuant to section 486.350, RSMo. 

12. That the Secretary of State shall retain the powers provided to him under the law to investigate and adjudicate any notary complaint related to the methods of notarization under this executive order.