My name is Brian Lewis and I am Legislative Counsel with the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). The ULC is a nonprofit entity, formed in 1892, to create nonpartisan state legislation. Commissioners—who are all lawyers—are appointed for a term of service by the individual state governments, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
These commissioners—practicing lawyers, judges, law professors, legislators and legislative attorneys—work together without compensation to draft state laws within our constitutional structure of federalism. The ULC has drafted and presented for state enactment more than 250 laws that range from the Uniform Commercial Code and business entity acts to acts on property, trusts and estates, family law, and criminal law.
As Legislative Counsel, I monitor uniform law projects through every step of the ULC process—from project proposal, to study committee, to drafting committee, and ultimately, approval by the entire ULC. Throughout the life cycle of a uniform law project, the ULC also benefits from collaboration with American Bar Association advisors and other stakeholders. Once a uniform act is finalized, I work with commissioners to get the act enacted in every state.
This is the introductory part to a four-part series on ULC acts and current projects. The series will cover the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (Part 2) which was promulgated by the ULC in 2010, the Drafting Committee on Criminal Records Accuracy (Part 3), and the Study Committee to Amend the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (Part 4).
The following is a brief overview of the remaining parts of this series.
Part 2 – The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act
The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act establishes an outcomes-based, technology-neutral framework for providing online legal material with the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by publication in a law book. The Act requires that official electronic legal material be: (1) authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered; (2) preserved, either in electronic or print form; and (3) accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.
Part 3 – The Drafting Committee on Criminal Records Accuracy
Inaccurate criminal records are a far too common problem that can create serious hardships for individuals. The ULC Drafting Committee on Criminal Records Accuracy is drafting an act that seeks to improve the accuracy of criminal records.
Part 4 – The Study Committee to Amend the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts
The Study Committee to Amend the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) is considering the need for and feasibility of yet further amendment to RULONA to authorize American notaries to perform notarial acts where the individual appears before the notary by audio, video, or through the use of other technologies. In particular, the study committee is considering whether to amend RULONA to allow a notary to notarize a document in a different state than the signer.
Be on the lookout for Part 2 of the series covering the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act in the coming month.
Uniform Law Commission Acts and Projects is a four-part blog series that will cover the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act and projects of administrative and regulatory interest.