Gov. Abbott Grants TLTA's Request for Extension of Emergency RIN Order

Indefinite Extension to Continue Through Conclusion of COVID-19 Public Health Threat

On Monday, June 29, TLTA sent a letter to Gov. Abbott requesting he modify the emergency executive action that allows the temporary use of Remote Ink Notarization (RIN) in Texas. On Tuesday, June 30, the governor's office informed us that they have granted our request for an indefinite extension.
 
In the TLTA request approved by the governor on Tuesday, June 30, we asked the governor to modify the temporary suspension of state notary statute that allows for RIN by extending the termination date of that suspension to mirror the governor's April 9 order addressing remote notarizations for a self-proved will, a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, a directive to physician, or an oath of an executor, administrator, or guardian.

The RIN extension granted by Gov. Abbott on Tuesday accomplishes our request, extending the emergency use of RIN until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires.  
  
Giving Texas consumers the opportunity to continue choosing RIN until we are clear of this unprecedented public health threat will further enhance our industry's ability to serve the public with great efficiency and safety. Since the governor granted our original request, title professionals have worked within the guidelines made part of the suspension with success and confidence in its security, helping ensure the integrity of real estate transactions statewide. 
  
We are grateful that the governor granted our request, and we salute his leadership during this unprecedented public health crisis. 
 
Following TLTA's initial request in April, Gov. Abbott temporarily suspended traditional notary regulations to allow for temporary use of RIN under COVID-19 public health protocols. Under RIN, a "wet signature" is still used, but the signature is witnessed by a notary via video and audio channels, and the notary seal is affixed at a later time.

This is the second extension of the governor's emergency RIN order. When the initial suspension expired at the end of May, the governor granted TLTA's request for the first extension, which expired June 30. Our request to extend the termination date to June 30 was approved by emergency executive action via email communication between the offices of the governor and our state's attorney general. That's the same mechanism employed by the governor's office when emergency use of RIN was first approved in April, and it is the same process by which the emergency suspension of state notarizations statute will continue indefinitely through the end of the COVID-19 public health threat. 

Formal notice of the first extension was published by the Secretary of State on June 9, some time after the governor's office alerted us that the first extension was approved and had taken effect. As the volume of work at the state offices handling Texas's response to COVID-19 remains high, it may be some time before the Secretary of State is able to publish notice of the most recent, indefinite extension of the use of RIN in Texas. We have received an email exchanged by the offices of governor and the attorney general confirming the extension is indefinitely extended until the COVID-19 disaster declaration is lifted.

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