Spotlight Date: 
June, 1996

Summarized below are public acts recently passed into law during the last session of the 99th General Assembly which affect the office of Register of Deeds. A more comphrehensive CTAS publication, Index of Acts Related to County Government, will be forthcoming. Registers may obtain copies of the public acts noted below by contacting the CTAS county government consultant assigned to your county.

Public Chapter 592 Senate Bill 2444 House Bill 2236
Amends 47-9-403 regarding the duration of a UCC filing to provide that if a security interest perfected by filing exists and if the filing of a continuation statement is enjoined or otherwise stayed in an insolvency proceeding, the security interest is deemed perfected until the termination of the injunction or stay and thereafter for 60 days (even if the filing has lapsed and the financing statement removed from the files) or until the expiration of the applicable effective filing period, whichever occurs later.
Effective March 13, 1996.

Public Chapter 619 House Bill 2450 Senate Bill 2519
Amends 47-9-402 to clarify that a carbon or photographic copy or other reproduction of the following Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) instruments may be filed instead of the original: amendment to a financing statement, continuation statement, statement of assignment, statement of release or termination statement, as well as copies of security agreements and financing statements. Also, beginning January 1, 1997, UCC instruments will not be eligible for filing unless the instruments are made in a writing on paper measuring 8 ½" x 11" and the bottom 3" of the paper are left blank by the preparer for the use of the Register or other filing officer.
Effective March 18, 1996.

Public Chapter 670 House Bill 2231 Senate Bill 2229
Authorizes the legal holder of a debt instrument secured by real property to release or modify a deed of trust, mortgage, deed, or other instrument securing a debt without joinder of a trustee under a deed of trust or other party holding legal title similar to a trustee under a deed of trust.
Effective March 22,1996.

Public Chapter 784 Senate Bill 2120 House Bill 2177
Authorizes registers to provide remote electronic access for viewing of records of the office which are maintained on computer storage media during regular business hours. Registers are authorized to charge users of information through remote access a reasonable amount sufficient to recover the costs of providing this service, and may not charge any more for this service. This charge may not include the cost of storage and maintenance of the records or of the electronic record storage system. Registers may not charge a fee for viewing records in the office, electronically or otherwise. The system used by the register must not allow the alteration or impairment of the records by a remote user. Registers who provide remote electronic access for viewing of records must file a statement with the Comptroller of the Treasury describing the computer equipment, software and procedures 30 days prior to offering this service, or if service is being offered, by May 22, 1996. This statement must describe how remote access will not allow a remote user to alter the records. Once a remote access information system is in place, all members of the public who desire access must be given access.
Effective April 22, 1996.

Public Chapter 909 House Bill 2589 Senate Bill 2899
Prohibits any state, county or municipal official or employee authorized to receive personal checks from requiring or encouraging that the check be made out to any person, official or employee in their personal capacity, as opposed to the name of the governmental entity, agency or office, or the official's name and title. Does not prohibit the use of notification forms which were printed prior to the effective date of this act.

Effective May 8, 1996.

Public Chapter 936 House Bill 1352 Senate Bill 869
Amends several sections regarding compensation for county officials, providing for increases for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1996. Specifies base salary schedules for 3 categories of county officers: (1) "general officers" including assessors of property, county clerks, clerks of court, trustees, and registers of deeds; (2) sheriffs and chief administrative officers of highway departments; and (3) county executives. As in previous law, there are mandatory percentage differentials between categories of officials. For example, the county executive must receive at least 5% more than the maximum payable to any other county constitutional office. Also, the schedules provide for the sheriff and the chief administrative officer of the highway department to receive at least 10% more than the general officers.
Provides that no official may receive more than a 7% increase in any fiscal year. Any remaining amount will be carried over to succeeding years until all officials receive the compensation stated in the salary schedule, plus annual increases. Also states that salary amounts are to be increased annually, based on percentage increase for state employees in the previous fiscal year.
Sets out 16 new county population classes to determine the compensation of county officers. Populations are determined initially by the 1990 federal census. A county moves into another class only as a result of the most recent succeeding federal census or a special census, which can be taken by the federal census bureau or in a manner approved by the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development. A county must take a special census at its own expense, and may not take more than 3 between regular federal censuses.

Effective for fiscal year beginning July 1, 1996.

Public Chapter 1073 Senate Bill 3284 House Bill 3294
Amends 47-9-403 to provide that a UCC financing statement which does not state a maturity date or that the obligations are payable on demand, and where the debtor is not a transmitting utility, is effective for 5 years from the date of filing, but a continuation statement filed within 2 months following the end of the 5 year period will be retroactively effective and continue the security interest for another 5 years from the last date to which the previous filing was effective. Provides that a continuation statement may be filed by the secured party at any time during the last 6 months that the financing statement or previous continuation statement is effective, and will also be effective if filed during the 2 months immediately following the end of the 5 year effectiveness of the previous continuation statement or financing statement. The continuation statement extends the effectiveness of the original statement for 5 years after the last date to which the previous filing was effective.
Effective May 15, 1996.