S.B. 55, a bill that would fundamentally restructure Utah’s approach to electronic signatures, was today amended and favorably recommended on a 6-0-2 vote of the Utah State Senate’s Business and Labor Committee.
Voting to favorably recommend the measure were: Senators Gene Davis, David Hinkins, Karen Mayne, Stephen Urquhart (the bill’s primary sponsor), John Valentine (committee chairman), and Kevin Van Tassell. Absent from the vote were Senators Daniel Liljenquist and Curtis Bramble. No one voted against the favorable recommendation.
Responding to criticism of the original bill’s provisions voiced by Utah attorney Brent Manning in a February 10, 2011, Etopia News article, the amended version of the proposed law now excludes state courts, the legislature, and political sub-divisions of the state from its electronic signature rule-making requirements.
Manning, who argued the case for Farley Anderson in the Anderson v. Bell case that this law is intended to overturn, is still opposed to the bill in its present form. As now written, he says, “It will not overturn Anderson v. Bell,” but it will still do a lot of collateral damage. Its supporters, he claims, “are aiming at a target that they’ll miss,” but will nevertheless place “extra burdens on electronic commerce” in Utah, a state that, he points out, once led the way in the adoption and use of electronic signatures.
Accordingly, he still opposes the legislation, because, he says, it interferes with long-standing principles governing the use of signatures that are “so well-established in Anglo-American law,” and because he opposes any effort to “limit the ability of citizens to petition” their government. He calls S.B. 55 “unwise legislation,” and says he hopes “that sounder minds will prevail” before it is passed by the Legislature.