New Laws – Effective 2021

The following bills became effective on July 1, 2021.

HB 1156 enacted the Revised Mississippi Law on Notarial Acts, which is codified at Miss. Code Ann. Sections 25-34-1 to -57. It repealed and replaced the former chapter governing notaries. One change that HB 1156 makes is to provide that a form of acknowledgment that is permitted in the jurisdiction in which the notarial act was performed meets the requirements of Mississippi law. Section 25-34-31(4)(b). The editor’s reading of this part of the statute is that if a notary licensed in Wyoming (to pick another state at random) executes a form of acknowledgment that is sufficient under Wyoming law, then that form of acknowledgment is sufficient under Mississippi law. The editor is not a fan of this provision because how does a Mississippi attorney know if a form of acknowledgment executed in Wyoming is sufficient under Wyoming law? Isn’t this a question of Wyoming law? HB 1156 authorizes new short forms of acknowledgments in addition to the existing long forms (Section 89-3-7(2)(a) & (b)) and provides a form of jurat (verification of a statement on oath or affirmation, like an affidavit)(Section 89-3-7(2)(c). HB 1156 also makes changes to the statute authorizing scrivener affidavits, Section 89-5-8, to authorize the filing of an affidavit of non-homestead, requiring that the legal description be attached to the affidavit, and provide penalties for perjury.

HB 2638 amended Section 89-3-1 to provide a method for recording electronic documents in counties that are not set up for electronic recording. This amendment became necessary as a result of the Revised Mississippi Law on Notarial Acts, which authorizes notaries to perform in-person electronic notarizations of documents signed electronically. An attorney can print out the electronic document and attach a certificate in the form set out in the statute to the printed-out copy stating that it is a true and correct copy of the electronic document. The attorney’s certificate then must be notarized. The attorney must confirm that the electronic document contains a verifiable signature, has not been tampered with, and must personally print or supervise the printing of the electronic document. The original notarized certificate of the attorney with the tangible copy of the electronic document attached then can be filed in the land records.

HB 354 amended Section 21-23-7 by adding a new subsection (14) that provides that for violations of municipal ordinances relating to real property, a municipal judge has the authority to order an owner to remedy violations within a reasonable time, and to authorize the municipality the option to remedy the violation itself if the owner does not remedy the violation. If the municipality remedies the violation, the municipal judge can give a judgment against the owner for the municipality’s costs in remedying the violation.

HB 953 enacted new statutes that put new requirements on managing agents and boards of homeowners’ associations. Among other requirements, the board of a homeowners’ association has to review the association’s bank statements and check registers at every regularly scheduled meeting and maintain fidelity bond coverage for all officers and directors, and for the association’s managing agent. These statutes have been codified as Sections 79-11-751 to -759. HB 953 was enacted with the noble goal of protecting homeowners from the alleged embezzlement that took place by a managing agent in the Jackson area recently, but the editor’s understanding from attorneys that represent homeowners associations is that the restrictions in the bill go too far and is causing problems for boards and their homeowners. These statutes may be amended in the 2022 legislative session.