What You Need to Know about the Electronic Signature Law
In the face of widespread opposition to an electronic signature law, Gov.
Scott Walker (R) has signed a measure into law that allows the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate alleged abuses of electronic signature laws.
The law, passed on Tuesday, will allow the DOJ to take any action against people who are accused of violating a statewide electronic signature ordinance.
The state attorney general’s office has launched an investigation into allegations that a number of businesses have failed to adhere to the law, which allows anyone who has a signed electronic signature to access any records and records that are required to be kept on electronic signatures.
The governor’s office announced in January that it was investigating the complaints, but did not specify whether any of the complaints had been resolved.
Walker signed the bill into law on Monday, a day after the state Senate approved the bill.
“We are confident that the Wisconsin Legislature and the Governor’s office have done the right thing in passing this important bill to protect the rights of the people of Wisconsin,” Walker spokesman Andrew Stiles said in a statement.
“Electronic signature laws have been a major concern for many years and it is our hope that they are upheld in the courts.”
The Electronic Signature Act was signed into law by Walker on March 21.
The bill requires anyone who is accused of breaking Wisconsin’s electronic signature regulation to provide a signed copy of the signature to the department within 30 days of filing the complaint.
The attorney general will also be able to investigate complaints.
“The statute will give our prosecutors the tools they need to hold violators accountable for violations, deter future violations, and keep Wisconsin businesses accountable for their customers’ trust,” Walker said in his statement.
As of January, about 8,000 businesses were violating Wisconsin’s Electronic Signature Laws, according to the Department of Revenue.
According to the state’s Department of Business and Industry, the state has the third-highest number of signatures in the country.
“These laws will help keep the integrity of the process at the heart of Wisconsin and help protect businesses from having to choose between keeping their business operations or their customers,” said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in a news release.
The new law comes after an investigation by the Associated Press in December found that about 1,500 Wisconsin businesses had violated the law.
A number of companies that had filed complaints with the Department for years had settled with the state, and about $500 million in fines were issued to them.
Walker had criticized electronic signature legislation as ineffective and expensive, and he has not issued any new executive orders on the subject.