As this article is being posted, at 2:16 pm Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, Utah’s S.B. 55, a bill that would require rule-making by each state agency in that state before it could accept electronic signatures, is still “circled” on the Utah State Senate’s legislative calendar, meaning that it is on hold while its sponsor, Utah State Senator Stephen Urquhart, says he is “working some things out, working some bugs out” of the proposed law.
Meanwhile, Michael Laurie, VP and co-founder of leading electronic signature company Silanis, issued the following statement regarding S.B. 55, which he characterized as “a step back for digital government in Utah at a time when citizens are looking for greater convenience in interacting with government.”
Here’s what Mr. Laurie said:
“The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act is intended to provide a consistent, technology-neutral framework for electronic signatures and records in government and business. While it doesn’t require state agencies to accept e-signatures, it does give electronic signatures the same legal weight as their paper counterparts. Legislating that individual state agencies need to make their own rules related to the acceptance of electronic signatures would be a step back for digital government in Utah at a time when citizens are looking for greater convenience in interacting with government. Any concerns over security and fraud in electronic petitions are unfounded. The reality is that viable technology solutions are available to make the electronic process not only as secure, but more secure than paper.”
Brent Manning, a Utah attorney who argued for the plaintiff in Anderson v. Bell, in which the Utah Supreme Court decided that electronic signatures could be used to qualify an independent gubernatorial candidate for the ballot, today re-iterated to Etopia News his view that S.B. 55 “won’t do what they are trying to accomplish” while it will create new problems.
The Anderson decision, he said, “was cautious and mandated by state law.” He went on to say that “there was nothing wrong with the decision and there’s nothing wrong with accepting electronic signatures.”
“I’m hopeful,” he concluded “that they’ll just abandon the whole thing.”