President Obama just announced he will veto the H.R. 3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010. Thank goodness.
Everyone who’s bought a house has seen the careful documentation involved. The scandal that banks proceeded on foreclosures without proper evidence has been steadily rising to national prominence as they lose court cases. Senator Menendez recently tweeted a link to his outraged call on behalf of all of us:
A key lawmaker is demanding that more than 100 mortgage companies determine whether foreclosure documents they approved contain errors and reveal their findings.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D.-N.J., says he sent letters to three banks that have halted foreclosures in 23 states after evidence surfaced that their employees or outside lawyers signed documents without reading them.
Even his liberal critics applauded. Unfortunately, back in the real world, last week the Senate passed — by voice vote! — H.R. 3808 making it easier to use such documents :
The House passed the bill in April, and its brisk journey through the Senate has drawn scant attention, Reuters reports. If signed into law, it would require courts to accept certain documents that have been notarized out of state, streamlining foreclosure proceedings and stripping homeowners of one legal method of challenging a foreclosure.
The bill of course is a Republican one which plainly contradicts Menendez’s rhetoric:
The law, the “Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act,” requires all federal and state courts to recognize notarizations made in other states.
The law specifically includes “electronic” notarizations stamped en masse by computers.
It seems many states were suspicious of electronic notarizations coming out of Alabama. Forcing them to accept the suspicious documents was literally the motivation of the original author, Robert Aderholt, previously best known for his work on a constitutional amendment on marriage.
The bottom line is that our senators sit and watch Republicans hold up every worthwhile legislation Democrats propose, even completely uncontroversial nominees, and then happily pass a conservative bill (first introduced in 2006) during a crisis by bypassing the proper committee. It’s not even worded well according to lawyers: What does “recognize” even mean?
So, my helpful advice is don’t pass Republican laws without reading them. Actually, don’t trust your fellow Democrats either. We’re lucky President Obama bailed out the Democrats by vetoing the bill.