New State Measure under Review on Handling Electronic Documents

Article excerpt

By Ronda Fears

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Most states and U.S. territories, as well as the federal government, have adopted laws implying that electronic images of documents are acceptable in court and regulatory agencies.

Such is the case in Oklahoma, and a new measure on how state agencies should respond to requests to inspect pubic records is now under review.

Uniform ways to handle electronic documents, including notarization of electronic documents, is a topic currently under review by the American Bar Association, with input from the National Notary Association.

Many business have gone "paperless" in an effort to curb costs related to storage of paper files and to save space. Government agencies also are making the change or looking at that option, as well as considering how to handle electronic documents from a receiving end and making those type of public records available for inspection.

Oklahoma lawmakers have been studying related issues for more than a year.

A proposed law, House Bill 1268 introduced by Rep. Danny Williams, D-Seminole, is pending in the current legislative session that would require state agencies to provide public records in the format used by the agency, whether in computer form or other non-paper methods. The House unanimously passed the bill last week, and it goes to the Senate.

Oklahoma is already among 27 states, along with Puerto Rico and the federal government, that have adopted Uniform Rules of Evidence allowing duplicate records to be admitted into evidence, according to Denver attorney Donald S. …

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