Louisiana and Texas legislature contend with issue of electronic signatures on court records

With the advent of new efiling systems in courts, statutes that mandate or at least heavily imply the use of “wet ink” signatures are becoming in some instances a restraint. Louisiana and Texas have looked at the issue in the last several weeks and moved bills on the subject.

Texas’ statutes already provide for a fairly robust system of electronic seals in many (though not all) trial courts. As part of the state’s new e-filing system the implementing legislation currently before the state’s Governor would open up the use of judicial signatures electronically as well. HB 2302 adds Section 21.011 to the state’s Government Code to read:

A judge or justice presiding over a court in this state may sign an electronic or digital court document, including an order, judgment, ruling, notice, commission, or precept, electronically, digitally, or through another secure method. The document signed in that manner is the official document issued by the court.

Louisiana on the other hand is moving at a relatively slower pace on the subject. SCR 6 as approved by the House and Senate would direct a study of the use of such signatures

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby urge and request that the Louisiana State Law Institute study and make recommendations concerning the feasibility and legal and practical ramifications of requiring clerks of court in Louisiana to accept electronic signatures on documents file d with them, including consideration of the possible financial impact.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Louisiana State L aw Institute shall report its findings or recommended legislation to the Legislature not later than February 1, 2015.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the director of the Louisiana State Law Institute

Louisiana already adopted several statutes for e-filing for things such as search warrants (HB 90 of 2012) and to use the electronic signature of criminal offenders or those arrested for things like bail and affidavits (HB 549 of 2010).