A bill that has two Colorado Springs Republican lawmakers on opposite sides of the fence — over data privacy and remote notarization — is now one committee away from Senate debate.
House Bill 1167 cleared the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday afternoon. The bill establishes rules for how Colorado remote notaries will protect the privacy of information for those who seek remote notary services.
Remote notaries can use audio and video recordings to provide a notary service to someone who is in another location. Proponents see such service as a benefit to populations like rural residents and the disabled.
The bill has pitted House sponsor Republican Rep. Terri Carver, who wants a Colorado-specific solution, against Republican Sen. Bob Gardner, who wants to follow a model created by the national Uniform Law Commission (ULC).
Carver has said her bill follows much of that ULC model. Where they diverge is in what happens to the information — often personal financial data — and what remote notaries can do with it. Under Carver's bill, they can't record that personal financial data or provide it to third parties.
The bill left the House on April 2 and last week showed up in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Gardner had an amendment at the ready that the the committee adopted — over the objections of the bill's Senate sponsors, Minority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker and Democratic Sen. Robert Rodriguez of Denver.
The amendment would have made the information on the recording available in a court of law or other legal proceedings. Holbert and Rodriguez argued that it would create two different standards for notaries in Colorado.
Democratic Sen. Julie Gonzales of Denver was the deciding vote on the amendment. But by Thursday she'd had a change of heart.
Gonzales is also on the Senate Finance Committee that heard the bill Thursday. She suggested an amendment that would remove Gardner's.
"I heard more testimony on this bill in Judiciary than I care to admit," Gonzales said Thursday. "I have since recognized the impact of said amendment and would like to remove it. ... The more I've learned, it seems problematic."
The committee voted unanimously to approve the change and the bill, with a 5-2 vote in favor. It now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where its hearing is likely to take place before the week is out.