Notary Law Updates

2023 - 2024 Adopted/Enacted Notary Legislation
Page Last Updated: April 24, 2024

CLICK HERE to view previous years' Notary Law Updates from the American Society of Notaries.
 EFFECTIVE:
APRIL 2023 MAY 2023 JUNE 2023
• Maryland-SB667
• Wisconsin-Admin Rules
• Colorado-SB153,
some sections effective on 5-17-23 (bill passage); also see Sept.
• New Mexico-SB246
• Kentucky-SB123
• Illinois-Admin Rules
• New Mexico-Admin Rules
• New York-SB7561
JULY 2023 AUG. 2023 SEPT. 2023
• Maine-LD2023
• North Carolina-HB776
• Wyoming-SB20
• Arizona-HB2197
• Florida-SB1718
• Iowa-House File 397
• Maine-Emergency Rules
• Maine-LD1980
• North Carolina-SB552
• Tennessee-SB1034
• Oregon-HB2696
• Delaware-SB262
• North Dakota-HB1054
• North Daokta-HB1083
• Massachusetts-HB58
• Alabama-SB322
• Colorado-SB153
• Texas-HB255
• Texas-HB2559
• Texas-HB3474
• North Carolina-SB615
• Colorado-Perm. Rule CCR 1505-11
• Delaware-SB125

OCT. 2023 NOV. 2023 DEC. 2023
• Maryland-HB636
• Arizona-SB1291
• Connecticut-SB1040
• Maryland-SB67
• Montana-SB330
• Maine-Emergency Rules Final
• Kansas-Perm Admin Regulations
• Maine-Perm Marriage Officiant Rules
• Vermont-Cont. Ed Admin Rule
• Nebraska-Rules Title 433 Ch 6
• Nebraska-Rules Title 433 Ch 7
• Illinois-HB351
• Delaware-SB262
• Ohio-SB131
JAN. 2024 FEB. 2024 MARCH 2024
• Texas-SB1780
• Illinois-HB2269
• Oregon-HB2029
• California-SB696
• Maryland-01.02.08 General Regs
• West Virginia-HB5332
• Tennessee-SB2581
• Wisconsin-AB1099

APRIL 2024 MAY 2024 JUNE 2024
  • Utah-HB25  
JULY 2024 AUG. 2024 SEPT. 2024
• North Carolina-SB615
• Indiana-HB1032
• South Dakota-SB211
• Washington-HB1889
   
 
ALABAMA – SB 322
Effective 9-1-23
Please contact ASN for a copy of this law.


Amends Alabama’s notary public law on multiple issues, particularly with respect to commissioning and sanctions.

Commissioning
Increases the notary commission issuance fee to be collected by county judges of probate, from the current $10 to $25.

Requires each notary public applicant to pay a $10 application fee. Allows a judge of probate to accept or deny any application for a notary public commission. Provides that the notary public commission application is developed by the Alabama Probate Judges Association and the Alabama Law Institute.


Requires judges of probate to deny a notary public commission application on the following grounds:
1. the applicant is not a resident of Alabama;
2. the applicant makes application to the wrong probate judge (instead of the probate judge of the county of the applicant’s residence);
3. the applicant has been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude;
4. the applicant is currently a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding;
5. the applicant is under a current order adjudicating him or her incapacitated;
6. the applicant provides false information on the application;
7. the applicant is unable or unwilling to successfully complete the training program required [in SB 322] within 30 days after submitting his or her application [this time frame may be extended by the judge of probate upon good cause shown].

Provides that a notary public is not an insurer but is under a duty to act honestly, skillfully, and with reasonable diligence. Prohibits a notary public from performing an acknowledgment in any transaction where the notary has a pecuniary interest.


Requires a notary public applicant, before being commissioned, to successfully complete a training program prepared by the Alabama Probate Judges Association and the Alabama Law Institute the reinforces and updates the applicant’s knowledge of all matters relevant to the appointment, authority, duties, and legal and ethical responsibilities of a notary public. Exempts an attorney who is commissioned as an Alabama notary public from completing this training requirement. Clarifies that a notary public commissioned as of the effective date of SB 322 must complete the training requirement upon applying for a renewal commission.

Clarifies that a notary public bond shall be obtained from an Alabama-licensed producer of such bonds. Increases the mandatory bond amount to $50,000 (formerly $25,000), and allows all notaries functioning on September 1, 2023 to continue functioning under their existing bond for the remainder of their current commission term.


Performing Notarial Acts
Requires that on notarized instruments to be recorded in the public records, including the court system, the “form and content of any notarial act” (the notarial certificate) shall include an oath, acknowledgment, and signature of each party to the document, or his or her mark, and the signature of the notary public and their seal of office, either stamped or embossed.

Clarifies that except for a remote notarization performed under Alabama Code §36-20-73.1, any signature acknowledged by a notary public shall be executed within Alabama, and in the physical presence of the notary public at the time of the acknowledgment, and only after the notary public has positively identified the prospective signatory by personal knowledge or by examining photo identification issued by a governmental entity or agency.


Notary Fees
Increases the fee a notary public may charge for each notarial act performed, from $5 to $10. Prohibits an Alabama state, county, or municipal employee from charging any fee for a notarial act performed during, and as part of, the notary’s public service, unless otherwise provided by law.

Prohibited Acts and Sanctions
Provides that a commissioning probate judge or the judge’s successor may issue a warning to a notary, or restrict, suspend or revoke a notarial commission for a violation of Alabama’s notary law; and/or on any ground for which a notary commission application may be denied. Clarifies that a period of commission restriction, suspension or revocation does not extend the expiration date of a commission.


Establishes the penalty of a Class C misdemeanor for an individual committing any of the following acts:
1. holding one’s self out to the public as a notary without being commissioned;
2. performing a notarial act with an expired, suspended, or restricted commission;
3. performing a notarial act before taking an oath of office;
4. charging a fee for a notarial act in excess of the maximum fee allowed by this article;
5. taking an acknowledgment or administering an oath or affirmation without the principal appearing in person before the notary or following the procedures for remote notarization set out in this article;
6. taking an acknowledgment or administering an oath or affirmation without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the principal;
7. taking a verification or proof without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the subscribing witness.


Makes a notary guilty of a Class D felony if he or she does any of these acts with the intent to commit fraud or to intentionally assist in the commission of a fraudulent act:
1. Takes an acknowledgment, or a verification or proof, or administers an oath or affirmation the notary knows or reasonably believes to be false;
2. Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without the principal appearing in person before the notary, or without following the procedures for remote notarization set out in this article;
3. Takes a verification or proof without the subscribing witness appearing in person before the notary, or without following the procedures for remote notarization set out in this article;
4. Performs notarial acts in Alabama with the knowledge that he or she is not properly commissioned under this Chapter (of law).


Establishes that for purposes of enforcing Alabama’s notary law, any party to a transaction requiring a notarial certificate for verification, and any attorney licensed in Alabama who is involved in such transaction in any capacity may execute an affidavit setting forth the alleged violations. Either the Secretary of State or the probate judge who issued the notary’s commission shall receive such affidavit, then shall forward it to the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. Provides that the Agency shall, on its own or in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, investigate the violations. Provides that founded investigations shall be referred to the appropriate district attorney for prosecution.

Clarifies that resignation or expiration of a notary commission does not terminate or preclude an investigation into the notary’s conduct by the Secretary of State, or by a judge of probate or a law enforcement agency. Provides that whether the investigative finding would have been grounds for disciplining the notary may be a matter of public record.

Authorizes the commissioning judge of probate to order injunctive relief against any individual who violates this Chapter of law including, but not limited to, ordering surrender and destruction of a notary commission and the notary seal.

Specifies the same level of punishment applicable to a notary, to any individual who knowingly solicits, coerces, or in any material way influences a notary to commit official misconduct, and establishes such individual to be guilty as an aider and abettor to the notary.

 
ARIZONA – SB 1291
Effective 10-29-23 (or 90 days after sine die)
View this bill


Establishes the conditions under which a supported decision-making agreement may be made by an adult. Requires such supported decision-making agreements to be signed by the adult and supporter in the presence of two or more subscribing witnesses at least 18 years of age, or a Notary Public. Prescribes the signature process for such agreements.

Specifies that when person who wishes to make a supported decision-making agreement is physically unable to sign or mark the agreement, the witness or notary shall verify on the document that the person directly indicated (to the notary or witness) that the agreement expressed the person’s wishes and that the person intended to adopt the agreement at that time.
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ARIZONA—HB 2197
Effective 7-1-23
View this bill

Amends existing law to enable persons to create an electronic last will and testament. Provides for the electronic signing of such wills, and for making them self-proving. Makes conforming amendments.

Establishes that “electronically present” means two or more individuals in different physical locations, who are communicating by means of technology that enables all individuals to see and hear each other in real time to the same extent as if the individuals were physically present in the same location.


Requires an electronic will to contain the electronic signatures of at least two persons (in addition to the signer of the will or the signer’s designated representative) who were physically or electronically present with the testator when the testator electronically signed the will and acknowledged his/her/their signature or the will. Requires that such witnesses—if electronically present with the testator when the testator electronically signed the will, acknowledged his/her/their signature or acknowledged the will—to have been physically located in the United States at the time of serving as a witness.

Provides the form of an affidavit for an attested self-proved electronic will. Also establishes that the required, written statement of an individual affirmatively agreeing to serve as the qualified custodian of an electronic will may be executed by an electronic signature and maintained as an electronic record.

 
CALIFORNIA – SB 696
Eff. 1-1-24; Section 8231.18 is operative on 1-1-25
View this bill


California—one of the final states to consider legislation allowing performance of remote online notarizations—has enacted its Online Notarization Act, authorizing the Golden State’s notaries public to register with the Secretary of State in order to act as remote online notaries.

Senate Bill 696 clarifies that an online notarization platform shall not be authorized for use by a California notary public, nor shall a California notary public provide online notarization for any principal, until the earlier of:
certification by the Secretary of State on its internet website that the Secretary of State’s technology project necessary to implement statutes related to online notarization is complete;
January 1, 2030, unless the Secretary of State informs the Legislature and the Governor in writing on or before January 1, 2029, that said technology project will not be completed by January 1, 2030, including a detailed status of the technology project.

The new law additionally prohibits a commissioned notary public from providing an online notarization for any principal prior to registration with the Secretary of State (in the manner prescribed by the Secretary) or before adoption of rules (as mandated by SB 696) by the Secretary of State. It further establishes that Civil Code Section 1181 shall not be construed to authorize any person, other than a notary public authorized by the Secretary of State to perform online notarizations, to take a proof or acknowledgment of an instrument by means of appearances using audio-video communication (as defined in Government Code §8231.1(a)

The new law provides for broad recognition of notarial acts, by giving legal effect to a notarial act performed in another U.S. state, or under authority and within the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe, or under federal law, or under the authority and within the jurisdiction of a foreign state, as if the notarial act were performed by a notarial officer of California and subject to specified conditions.

Other provisions of Senate Bill 696 include the following.

Definitions
Defines the following terms: “audio-video communication,” “audio-video recording,” “business,” “credential,” “credential analysis,” “depository,” “electronic,” “electronic journal,” “electronic online notarial certificate,” “electronic journal,” “electronic record,” “electronic seal,” “electronic signature,” “encrypt [or] encrypted,” “express written request,” “identity proofing,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “notary public,” “notary public’s electronic signature,” “open format,” “online notarization,” “online notarial act,” “online notarization platform,” “online notarization system,” “principal,” “record,” “records of online notarial acts,” “remote online notarial act,” “remote online notarial act,” “remote online notarization,” “remote presentation,” “state,” and “United States.”

Commissioning of Notaries Public
Adds, as grounds for the Secretary to refuse to appoint a person as a notary public, or to revoke or suspend the commission of a notary public:
violation of Government Code Sections 8231.5 or 8231.6 (dealing with requirements for maintaining records of online notarial acts in a journal, and/or an audio-video recording of the audio-visual communication of each online notarial act performed);
use of an online notarization system from an online notarization platform that does not comply with Government Code Section 8231.14;
use of a depository not in compliance with Government Code Section 8231.14.

California’s “Online Notarization Act”
Adds Article 2—commencing with Section 8231—to Title 2, Division 1, Chapter 3 of California’s Government Code. This new article is the Online Notarization Act.

Registration to Remotely Notarize. Authorizes a notary public, or an applicant for appointment as a notary public, to register with the Secretary of State to perform online notarizations. Establishes the requirements for such registration, including a two-hour course of study* approved by the Secretary of State and concerning the functions and duties of a California notary public authorized to perform online notarizations; and a written exam specifically for purposes of qualifying for the online notarization authorization. Clarifies that registrants must also satisfy the requirements for obtaining a California notary public commission, including the education and exam requirements for new and renewing notary public applicants, as applicable. Requires these notaries’ electronic notarial certificate for an online notarization to notate certain specific information, and provides the form of such notations.
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*The two-hour course of study on the functions and duties of performing online notarizations is in addition to the existing notary education (six hours for a new applicant, three hours for a renewing applicant) required for obtaining a new or renewal notary commission.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to charge an applicant a fee (in addition to the fee for obtaining or renewing a notary public commission) for registering to perform online notarizations, in an amount necessary to administer the bill’s provisions related to online notarizations. Clarifies that notaries obtaining authorization to perform online notarizations will operate under their one commission number issued for their traditional notary commission.

Allows the Secretary of State to approve online notarization registrations of notaries public authorized to notarize for the California-based military and naval reservations of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps. Requires that such registrant notaries must meet the requirements of California’s Government Code Title 2, Articles I and II

Increased Notary Bond Amount. Requires every person appointed as a notary public and authorized to perform online notarizations to execute an official bond of $25,000 in lieu of the $15,000 bond required by Government Code §8212. Requires the bond to be in a form executed by an admitted surety insurer and not a deposit in lieu of bond. Holds the notary public and the sureties on the notary’s official bond liable to the injured person in a civil action stemming from official misconduct or neglect of the notary public. Clarifies that the surety’s liability shall be limited to $15,000 for notarial acts under Sections 8200-8230, Article 1, Government Code (“traditional” notarial acts); and $25,000 for online notarial acts performed under Article 2 (the Online Notarization Act). Caps a surety company’s aggregate liability at $25,000. Requires the bond to be filed with the county clerk of the county where the notary public maintains a principal place of business, pursuant to Government Code §8213.

Provides that a commissioned California notary public who is not yet registered with the Secretary of State to perform online notarizations may obtain registration before expiration of the notary’s current term of office, by resigning their current commission in the manner prescribed by the Secretary and meeting the requirements of California’s Government Code, Articles 1 and 2 (and the Sections specified within each Article). Clarifies that the notary public’s current commission shall remain in full force and effect until the effective date of the new commission. Further clarifies that a notary public seeking both commission reappointment and (re)authorization to perform online notarizations must satisfactorily complete the three-hour refresher course of study for the notary commission, and the two-hour course of study required for the remote online notary registration.

Authorization. Authorizes (a duly registered) online notary public to perform notarial acts and online notarizations by means of audio-video communication provided by an online notarization system meeting all applicable requirements of law and administrative rules. Specifies that any requirement of California law that a principal, as defined, appear before or in the presence of a notary public shall be satisfied by the principal’s appearance by means of audio-video communication before a notary public authorized to perform online notarization in compliance with all applicable requirements.

Interstate Recognition. Provides for broad recognition of notarial acts, by giving the same legal effect under California law to a notarial act performed in: another U.S. state; or under the authority and within the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe; or under federal law; or under the authority and within the jurisdiction of a foreign state or constituent unit of the foreign state; or performed under the authority of a multinational or international governmental organization, as if it were performed by a notarial officer of California and subject to specified conditions.


Notary’s Electronic Notarial Certificate, Electronic Signature and Seal
Requires an online notary public ’s electronic notarial certificate to be in a specified form and certified under penalty of perjury. Clarifies that a requirement under Government Code Section 8205 that a certificate of acknowledgment or proof, or a deposition, affidavit, oath, affirmation, or certification of copy be signed in the notary public’s own handwriting is satisfied by the notary’s electronic signature if the notarial act is performed by online notarization.

Specifies the form (wording, format) for an electronic online notarial certificate evidencing an acknowledgment and a jurat. Requires an electronic online notarial certificate to include a notation that the notarization is an online notarization. Clarifies that nothing in the new law’s requirements for a notarial certificate shall be construed to require, as a condition of recording or acceptance, inclusion of a principal’s physical location at the time of the online notarial act.

Requires an online notary public to take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered device used to create an electronic signature or electronic seal is current and has not been revoked or terminated by the device’s issuing or registering authority.


Requires an online notary public’s electronic seal to contain the notary public’s name, the Great Seal of the State of California, the words “Notary Public,” the name of the county where the notary’s bond and oath of office are filed, the notary’s commission expiration date, the notary’s commission number, and the sequential ID number assigned to the manufacturer or vendor of the notary’s public electronic seal. Allows a notary public’s electronic seal to be circular and not over two inches in diameter; or rectangular and not more than one inch in width by two and one-half inches in length. Requires a notary public to provide the Secretary of State with a copy of the notary’s electronic signature and electronic seal, as prescribed by the Secretary of State.

Requires a notary public, when notarizing electronically with respect to an electronic record, to attach or logically associate the notary public’s electronic signature and electronic seal to the electronic notarial certificate in a manner that is capable of independent verification and that makes evident any tampering or subsequent change or modification to the electronic record that has occurred.


Requires a notary public performing online notarizations to keep the notary’s electronic signature and electronic seal in a secure encrypted manner, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public. Allow a notary public to satisfy this requirement by keeping their electronic signature and electronic seal on a storage device or online media that is accessed by the notary public with a secure means of multifactor authentication and protected, at a minimum, by security requirements set forth by the Secretary of State.

Prohibits a notary public from allowing another person to access or use the notary public’s electronic signature or electronic seal. Requires a notary public to take all reasonable steps to protect the notary public’s electronic signature and electronic seal from unauthorized disclosure, access, or use.


Requires a notary public to immediately notify the Secretary of State, and all appropriate law enforcement agencies, of the following circumstances with respect to the notary’s electronic signature or electronic seal: unauthorized use, or access by, or disclosure to another person; loss, compromise, theft, vandalism, corruption, or breach.

Establishes that it is a misdemeanor crime for any person, without authorization, to knowingly obtain, conceal, damage or destroy a notary’s certificate, disk, coding, card, program, software or hardware that enables a notary public to affix their electronic signature or electronic seal.


Requires a notary public authorized to perform remote online notarizations, who resigns, is disqualified, removed from office or who allows their online notarization registration to expire (without obtaining a reappointment within 30 days) to take all necessary measures to disable the capability of the notary public’s electronic signature and seal to be electronically affixed by the notary or any other person. Requires these actions to be take in compliance with Government Code §8209, and that they include but aren’t limited to notifying the notary’s chosen online notarization platform that their electronic signature and seal should be disabled. Further requires the notary public to adhere to any other requirements provided in regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. Requires an online notarization platform so notified by a notary public to disable, destroy or otherwise prevent use of the notary public’s electronic signature and electronic seal.

Electronic Seal Vendors
Requires a manufacturer or vendor of the notary public’s electronic seal to apply to the Secretary of State to be assigned an identification number, as specified. Requires electronic seals to meet the requirements of applicable law and any rules or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.

Requirements of Electronic and Online Notarizations
Establishes extensive requirements applicable to electronic notarizations, and online notarizations performed by a registered notary public, including the following. Requires a notary public to utilize an online notarization platform or depository approved by the Secretary of State.

Scope of Jurisdiction. Requires, at the time of notarization, an online notary public to remotely notarize (only) for a principal who is within California; or outside California but within the United States; or outside the United States if the act is not prohibited in the jurisdiction in which the principal is physically located at the time of the act.

Online Notarization - Identifying Principals. Requires a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations to verify a principal’s identity by satisfactory evidence that meets the requirements of the law and of rules and regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.

Clarifies that “satisfactory evidence” means the absence of information, evidence, or other circumstances that would lead a reasonable notary public to believe that the principal is not the individual that the principal claims to be and all of the following:
  • remote presentation of a credential by the principal.
  • credential analysis of the credential as described in the Act.*
  • identity proofing of the principal described in the Act.*
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*California’s Online Notarization Act


Further clarifies that as used here, “satisfactory evidence” does not include the definition of “satisfactory evidence given in California Civil Code §1185.

Prohibits, with respect to identifying a principal for performance of a remote notarial act, retention of any credential transmitted by the principal for any longer than necessary to accomplish both verification of the principal’s identity; and the notary making an entry in the notary’s electronic journal.

Audio-Video Communication. Requires the audio-video communication used by a registered online notary public to consist of continuous, synchronous audio and video feeds with adequate clarity such that all participants can be clearly seen and understood at all times. Requires the notary public and the online notarization platform being used for a remote online notarization to encrypt all audio-video communication and take reasonable steps to ensure that the audio-video communication is secure from unauthorized interception.

Requires the notary public to terminate the session if the notary judges that the audio-video communication is insufficient for all participants to be clearly seen and understood at all times.

Requires a notary public performing an online notarial act to create the audio-video recording required by Government Code Section 8231.6. Requires the notary public to retain the audio-recording on an encrypted storage device or encrypted online media that is accessed by the notary public with secure multifactor means of authentication. Specifies that the audio-video recording shall be created in an open format and shall not include images of any electronic record that was the subject of the online notarization.


Records of Online Notarial Acts. Requires an online notary public to record each online notarial act performed by the notary public in one tangible sequential journal and one or more secure electronic journals. Specifies the information to be recorded in the journal entry: (A) date and time of the online notarization; (B) name of each person whose electronic signature is notarized; (C) the title or short description—if no title exists—of every electronic record sworn to, affirmed, acknowledged, or proved before the notary public; (D) the name of the online notarization platform whose online notarization system was used; (E) the unique transaction identifier provided by the online notarization provider (and subject to regulations to be adopted by the Secretary of State); and (F) the location of the secure electronic journal.

Clarifies that statutory requirements for entering the signature of each person whose signature is being notarized, and/or the thumbprint of principals required to provide their thumbprint in the notary’s tangible journal, do not apply to the tangible sequential journal entry for an online notarial act.

Clarifies that Government Code Sections 8206 through 8320, inclusive, shall apply to the notary public and the tangible sequential journal, except as provided in Section 8231.5. Further clarifies that subparagraph (G) of paragraph (2), subdivision (a), Section 8206 do not apply to the electronic journal for an online notarial act.

Requires an electronic journal to be maintained on an encrypted storage device or encrypted online media that is accessed by the notary public with secure multifactor means of authentication. Requires a backup of the electronic journal to be made immediately after new information is added to the electronic journal. Requires the electronic journal to be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public. Charges the notary public with taking all reasonable steps to protect the electronic journal from unauthorized disclosure, access or use.

Requires an electronic journal to be capable of providing both physical and electronic copies of any entry made therein. Requires a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations to include, in the electronic journal, all of the following:

1. the date, time, and type of each official online notarial act. The time entered shall be the time at the notary’s location at the time of the online notarial act.
2. the physical location of the principal as represented to the notary public by the principal at the time of the online notarial act and the physical location of the notary public at the time of the online notarial act.
3. the title, or a short description if no title exists, of every electronic record sworn to, affirmed, acknowledged, or proved before the notary public.
4. the electronic signature of each person whose electronic signature is being notarized.
5. satisfactory evidence of identity of the principal pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 8231.8, which shall be in the form of a notation of the type of identification credential provided to the notary public for credential analysis, a record of the identity proofing, and other information as may be required by the Secretary of State.
6. a statement that an audio-video recording of the online notarial act was made pursuant to Section 8231.6.
7. the fee, if any, charged for the online notarization.
8. the name of the online notarization platform whose online notarization system was used.
9. the unique transaction identifier as defined in subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
Requires a notary authorized to perform online notarizations to maintain each tangible and electronic journal for as long as the notary is registered with the Secretary of State to perform online notarizations.

Establishes that an online notarization platform may retain custody of the electronic journal on behalf of the notary public if it expressly provides custodial services as part of the online notarization system, and provided this information to the Secretary of State in its application under Government Code §8231.14. Establishes that an online notarization platform that does not provide custodial services for a notary public has a duty not to retain the electronic journal or any entries after providing a reasonable opportunity for the notary to download such records. Requires the Secretary of State to establish, by rule or regulation, the time period that constitutes a “reasonable opportunity.”

Requires a notary public utilizing an online notarization platform that does not provide custodial services to save a copy of the electronic journal to a depository registered with the Secretary of State under Government Code §8231.14, at least once per calendar month.

Requires a notary public to immediately notify the Secretary of State and all appropriate law enforcement agencies, by certified or registered mail or any other means of delivery that provides a receipt, of the unauthorized disclosure to or use by another person, loss, compromise, theft, vandalism, corruption, or breach of the notary’s electronic journal. Specifies the requirements for this notification.

Journal Requirements (Tangible and Electronic Journals)
Requires a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations to maintain each tangible and electronic journal for so long as the notary public is registered with the Secretary of State to perform online notarizations. Further provides that (notwithstanding Government Code Section 8209(a)), a notary public who resigns, is disqualified, is removed from office, or allows their registration as a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations to expire without obtaining reappointment within 30 days, shall retain the electronic journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the electronic journal, either personally or by transmitting the electronic journal to a depository registered with the Secretary of State within 30 days of the applicable event.


Establishes that if the notary public willfully fails or refuses to retain or deliver their electronic journals as required, the notary public is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be personally liable for damages to any person injured by that action or inaction.

Requires that, in the event of death of a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations and notwithstanding Government Code Section 8209(b), the personal representative of the deceased shall promptly report the notary public's death to the Secretary of State and shall retain the journal, or cause the journal to be retained by a depository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the journal.

Requires a notary public to provide a member of the public a tangible or electronic copy, as requested, of an entry in the notary public's journal, and to do so in compliance with rules and regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. Also requires a notary public to provide--or an online notarization platform and depository to enable, as applicable--certain parties access to the notary public’s journal or a copy of the notary's electronic journal, as follows: a peace officer pursuant to subdivision (d) of Government Code Section 8206 or Section 8228; or upon receipt of a subpoena duces tecum or a court order pursuant to Government Code Section 8206(e); or in order to comply with any other applicable federal, state or local law, a lawful subpoena or court order, or a lawful request from a law enforcement or regulatory agency; or to the Secretary of State under Government Code Section 8228.

Further provides that, notwithstanding Government Code Section 8206(c), a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations may charge a reasonable fee, as determined by a rule adopted by the Secretary of State pursuant to the Online Notarization Act, to recover the cost to the notary of providing a copy of an entry in an electronic journal.

Notary’s Allowable Online Notarization Fees to Charge
Prescribes the following maximum fees that a notary public may charge for services related to an online notarization:

taking an acknowledgment of a deed of other instrument, including the electronic seal and completion of the notarial certificate……………….$30 for each signature taken
administering an oath or affirmation to one person and executing the jurat, including the electronic seal and completion of the notarial certificate…………………. $30

Prohibits a fee to be charged for any online notarization related to notarizing signatures on vote-by-mail ballot identification envelopes or other voting materials; or for a U.S. military veteran’s application or a claim for a pension, allotment, allowance, compensation, insurance, or any other veteran’s benefit.


Online Notarization Platforms and Depositories
Registration. Requires a person or entity to apply, as prescribed by the Secretary of State, for resignation with the Secretary of State to be an online notarization platform or depository. Clarifies that an entity required (under California law) to obtain a certificate of qualification from the Secretary of State in order to transact business in California shall do that before applying for registration as an online notarization platform or depository. Allows only an online notarization platform that has obtained registration from the Secretary of State to provide an online notarization system for a California notary public authorized to perform online notarizations.

Requires the Secretary of State to develop an application for registration to be an online notarization platform or depository. Authorizes the Secretary of State to refuse registration of an online notarization or depository to conform with application requirements. Provides certain information that must be in such application, but does not limit the application information to those items. Requires platform or depository applicants to indicate on their application that they have no order, judgment, or decree entered against them in any civil or criminal action involving fraud, material misrepresentation, or any willful acts or gross negligence related to breaches of secure information required to be stored under California’s Online Notarization Act.


Requires an online notarization platform or depository to provide security, for claims against the platform, depository, or either’s representatives or employees, based upon acts, errors or omissions arising out of the business of the online notarization platform or depository. Requires such security to be one or an aggregate of both (1) a policy or policies of insurance against liability imposed on or against the online notarization platform or depository by law for damages arising out of claims in an amount for each claim of at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); (2) in trust of bank escrow, cash, bank certificates of deposit, United States Treasury obligations, bank letters of credit, or bond of insurance companies as security for payment of liabilities imposed by law for damages arising out of all claims in an amount of at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000).

Allows the Secretary of State to refuse or cancel an online notarization platform’s or depository’s registration if the application is found to include a material misrepresentation or if the registrant subsequently has an order, judgment, or decree entered against them in any civil or criminal action (as defined within the Online Notarization Act).


Technical Requirements. Specifies the functional and technical features to be satisfied by a “business” (defined in the new law) providing a remote notarization software platform for use by a California notarial officer, which include: an encrypted electronic journal entry for each remote online notarial act; an audio-video recording of the audio-video communication of each remote online notarial act facilitated by the business; and retention of the electronic journal entry and audio-video recording.

Requires a business providing a remote notarization software platform for use by a California notarial officer to:
provide each individual for whom a remote online notarial act is to be performed with a prompt asking if the individual is located in California before the remote online notarial act is actually performed;
append to the record to be notarized (if the individual represents to the business that the individual is located in California) a document indicating the principal’s response to the prompt, as well as the notarial officer’s location at the time of the remote online notarial act;
provide the principal, as expediently as possible following completion of a transaction, with a copy of each relevant electronic journal entry and audio-video recording.

Clarifies that failure to obtain or append the document indicating the principal’s location does not affect the validity of the record or the remote online notarial act, and that nothing in this section of the new law shall be construed to require submission of the appended document as a condition of recording or acceptance under California law.

Requires a business to produce an audit trail relative to each remote online notarial act that details:
  1. the action performed;

  2. the date and time of the action’s performance (Coordinated Universal Time);
  3. the name of the party performing the action;
  4. the Internet Protocol address of the party performing the action.

Requires a business to encrypt all audio-video communication and all records related to a remote online notarization, and to take reasonable steps to ensure that the audio-video communication used in a remote online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception.

Requires a business to create an encrypted electronic journal entry for each remote online notarial act. Requires the business to enable the notarial officer’s journal access by means of secure multifactor authentication. Requires the electronic journal to be capable of providing both physical and electronic copies of any entry made in it. Specifies the minimum content of each journal entry, including the physical location of the principal as represented to the business by the principal, and the physical location of the notarial officer at the time of the remote online notarial act.


Requires a business, in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay, to notify all appropriate law enforcement agencies and any affected principals of the unauthorized access or use by or disclosure to another person, loss, compromise, theft, vandalism, corruption, or breach of a principal’s personal information or an electronic journal or audio-video recording.

Prohibits a business from accessing, using, sharing, selling, disclosing, producing, providing, releasing, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise communicating the contents of any of the following related to a principal:
  1. an electronic journal entry;
  2. the contents of a record that is the subject of a remote online notarial act;
  3. the audio-video recording of a remote online notarial act;
  4. personal information.

Online Notarization Platforms or Depositories—Standards of Practice
Requires an online notarization platform to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a notary public for whom it provides an online notarization system has the knowledge to use the system to perform online notarial acts in compliance with the Online Notarization Act and any rules or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.

Prohibits an online notarization platform or depository from having access to a notary public’s electronic signature or electronic seal. Further prohibits an online notarization platform or depository from accessing, using, sharing, selling, disclosing, producing, providing, releasing, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise communicating the contents of a notary public’s electronic journal, except to comply with any other applicable federal, state, or local law; a lawful subpoena or court order; or a lawful request from a law enforcement or regulatory agency.

Prohibits an online notarization platform of depository from accessing, using, sharing, selling, disclosing, producing, providing, releasing, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise communicating the contents of a document notarized by a notary public, unless the notary has the express written request of the principal, or the notary must comply with any other applicable federal, state, or local law, a lawful subpoena or court order, or a lawful request from a law enforcement or regulatory agency.


Prohibits an online notarization platform or depository from accessing, using, sharing, selling, disclosing, producing, providing, releasing, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise communicating the contents of an audio-video recording of an online notarial act, unless the notary has the express written request of the principal, or the notary must comply with any other applicable federal, state, or local law, a lawful subpoena or court order, or a lawful request from a law enforcement or regulatory agency.

Prohibits an online notarization platform or depository from accessing, using, sharing, selling, disclosing, producing, providing, releasing, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise communicating the personal information of a principal unless the notary has the express written request of the principal or the notary must comply with any other applicable federal, state, or local law, a lawful subpoena or court order, or a lawful request from a law enforcement or regulatory agency.

Clarifies that an online notarization platform or depository may access, use, share, disclose, produce, provide, release, transfer, disseminate, or otherwise communicate the notary public’s electronic signature or electronic seal, the contents of the notary’s electronic journal, a notarized or audio-video recording, or the personal information of a principal, (only) to the extent necessary to facilitate performance of an online notarial act; to comply with applicable California law, rules and regulations adopted by the Secretary of State, or any other applicable federal, state, or local law or a lawful subpoena or court order; to respond to a lawful request from a law enforcement or regulatory agency; to administer, affect, enforce, or process a record provided by or on behalf of a principal or the transaction of which the record is a part; or as necessary to implement the requirements of this article (the Online Notarization Act) and rules or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State, and to implement the fraud mitigation measures outlined in NIST Special Publication 800-63A, June 2017, promulgated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or any successor publication.

Requires an online notarization platform or depository, in the most expedient time possible and without reasonable delay, to provide notification of the unauthorized access or use by or disclosure to another person, or of loss compromise, theft, vandalism, corruption, or breach of any of the following: a notary public’s electronic signature or electronic seal; a notary public’s electronic journal; any records of online notarial acts.

Prohibits an online notarization platform that does not provide custodial services for a notary public from deleting an online journal entry or audio-video recording of an online notarial act until the notary public has been provided a reasonable opportunity (established by rule or regulation of the Secretary of State) to download the entry or record.

Establishes notification requirements (to be submitted to the Secretary of State) for online notarization platforms or depositories, under certain circumstances:
the online notarization platform or depository ceases to provide their services for use in California, or goes out of business, ceases operations, or is acquired by or merges with another entity that is not registered with the Secretary of State as an online notarization platform or depository; or
the online notarization platform ceases to provide custodial services.

Requires such online notarization platforms or depositories, at least 30 calendar days before the (bulleted) events noted above, to notify each notary public that has utilized the online notarization platform or depository and enable the notary public to transfer all records of online notarial acts performed by the notary public—or all records stored by the depository (including, but not limited to, any electronic journals or audio-video recordings)—to another online notarization platform, to the notary public, to a certified depository, at no cost to the notary public.

Prohibits the online notarization platform or depository from deleting any records of online notarial acts performed by the notary public until the notary public has been provided a reasonable opportunity to download the notary’s records. Requires the Secretary of State to establish by rule or regulation the time period that constitutes a “reasonable opportunity” for a notary to download their records of online notarial acts.

Requires that, upon full compliance with the requirements to notify the notary public and to enable the notary to address the disposition of the notary’s records, an online notarization platform or depository shall promptly delete electronic journals and all audio-video recordings of online notarizations.

Establishes the circumstances under which a registered online notarization platform or depository may continue operating as such, when the platform or depository is acquired by or merges with another entity that is not registered with the Secretary of State. Among such circumstances is that the online notarization platform or depository must notify all notaries using its services of the pending merger or acquisition, at least 30 days in advance or as soon as permitted by applicable law.

Provides that a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations and using an online notarization platform or depository shall not be held vicariously liable for damages resulting form the online notarization platform’s or depository’s failure to comply with the requirements of applicable California law or any rules or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. Voids any provision in a contract or agreement between a notary public and an online notarization platform or depository that attempts to waive this immunity provision.


Custodial Services Requirements and Requisites.
Prohibits an online notarization platform or depository that provides custodial services for a notary public from deleting an online journal entry or the audio-video recording of an online notarization until (a) the contract for custodial services is terminated or the notary public resigns, is disqualified, is removed from office, or allows their registration to perform online notarizations to expire without obtaining reappointment; and (b) the notary public has downloaded journal entries or audio-video recordings.


Requires an online notarization platform or depository to provide a reasonable opportunity (time period)—to be established by rule or regulation of the Secretary of State—for a notary public to download journal entries or audio-video recordings upon termination of the contract for custodial services.

Compromise of Online Notarization System(s). Requires an online notarization platform to notify the Secretary of State and the notaries public using its online notarization system, and all appropriate law enforcement agencies, of the unauthorized disclosure to or use by another person, loss, compromise, theft, vandalism, corruption, or breach of the online notarization system. Notification must be by certified or registered mail or any other means of delivery that provides a receipt, and be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay. The notification must include the period of affected journal entries, a description of the affected data, a copy of any pertinent police report if available at the time of notification, and any other information required by the Secretary of State.


Online Notarization Platforms and Depositories. Requires online notarization platforms* or depositories** to register with the Secretary of State before providing their services to California’s online notaries. Requires a representative of an online notarization platform to certify, under penalty of perjury, compliance with applicable laws. Creates a civil cause of action against an online notarization platform or depository for a violation of such laws. Requires the Secretary of State to develop an application for registration of online notarization platforms or depositories, and to establish rules to implement the provisions of Senate Bill 696.
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*“Online notarization platform” means an individual or entity that has an active registration with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 8231.14, CA Government Code, and provides an online notarization system to a notary public authorized to perform online notarization.
**“Depository” means an individual or entity that has an active registration with the Secretary of State and that is capable of storing a journal entry or audio-video recording on behalf of a notary public.


Establishes that when a notary public ceases to use an online notarization platform or depository, neither the notary nor the online notarization platform or depository is absolved of their respective duties prescribed by law or administrative rule and concerning the security, preservation, and production of records of online notarial acts generated using an online notarization platform’s online notarization system or stored by the depository, including the electronic journal and the audio-video recording required by law.

Establishes various requirements applicable to an online notarization platform, including prohibiting an online notarization platform or depository from accessing, using, sharing, selling, disclosing, producing, providing, releasing, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise communicating the contents of an online notarial act, with specified exceptions.


Jurisdiction Regarding Business Transactions. Defines “business” (generally any person or entity providing a software platform enabling a notary to perform a remote online notarization). Specifies that a business, commencing on January 1, 2025, consents to the jurisdiction of the courts of California for transactions related to an individual (“principal”) for whom a remote online notarial act is performed and who has represented to the business that they are located in California. Mandates that a business, relative to these transactions, shall comply with specified requirements, including creating an encrypted electronic journal entry for each remote online notarial act and an audio-video recording of the audio-video communication of each remote online notarial act facilitated by the business. Creates a civil cause of action against a business for a violation of those laws.

Offenses and Sanctions
Creates a misdemeanor offense for:
• any person who, without authorization, knowingly obtains, conceals, damages, or destroys the certificate, disk, coding, card, program, software, or hardware enabling an online notary public to affix an official electronic signature or seal;
• an online notary public to willfully fail or refuse to either retain the electronic journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the electronic journal;
• an online notary public to willfully fail or refuse to deliver all notarial records and papers to the Secretary of State within 30 days of when the online notary public resigns, is disqualified, is removed from office, or allows the online notary public’s registration to expire.

Adds, to existing Government Code Section 8207.4, that violation of any part of Government Code Sections 8207, 8231.7 or 8231.8 shall subject the person committing the violation to existing law’s (maximum) $1500 civil penalty for each violation committed. Further provides that the $1500 penalty is not an exclusive remedy and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law.


Authorizes the Secretary of State to refuse to appoint any person as a notary public, or to revoke or suspend any notary public’s commission, for a violation of the provisions of the law’s newly enacted Article 2 (the Online Notarization Act). Also authorizes the Secretary of State to refuse to register any online notarization platform or depository, or to revoke or suspend the registration of any online notarization platform or depository, for a violation of the law’s newly enacted Online Notarization Act.

Deems an online notarization platform or depository liable in a civil action to persons injured, for a violation of any provision of the new law’s Article 2 (Online Notarization Act). Establishes such liability to be the greater of any actual damages sustained by the injured person as a result of the violation, statutory damages of $250 per violation, injunctive or declaratory relief (presumed to accrue to the benefit of the public, or any other relief that the court finds to be proper. Establishes circumstances under which an online notarization platform shall not be held vicariously liable, including a notary public’s negligence, fraud, and willful misconduct. Addresses other matters relative to online notarization platform or depository violations of the Online Notarization Act.

Establishes penalties and reliefs for which a business is liable in a civil action following violations resulting in injury to other persons. Requires an action alleging violation of the Online Notarization Act by a business to be brought no later than four years from the date the plaintiff had actual knowledge of the violation. Clarifies that a business shall not be vicariously liable for any damages awarded in a civil action resulting from any of the following:
1. the negligence, fraud, or willful misconduct of the notarial officer, principal, or the person that requested notarization of the record, unless the notarial officer is an employee or agent of the business (which makes the business responsible for the conduct of the notarial officer to the extent provided under other applicable law);
2. the contents of records uploaded to the business for remote online notarization.

Other Provisions
Adds the new Article 3 (Sections 8232 through 8232.4) to Chapter 3, Division 1, Title 2 of California’s Government Code, thereby creating a new law section specifically addressing interstate recognition of notarial acts.

Clarifies that Section 1181 of California’s Civil Code shall not be construed to authorize any person, other than a notary public authorized by the Secretary of State to perform online notarizations in accordance with applicable law, to take a proof or acknowledgment of an instrument by means of utilizing audio-video communication (as defined in Government Code Section 8231.1(a)).

Establishes, with respect to the California Constitution’s requirement for the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state, that no reimbursement is required by the passage of SB 696. Makes multiple conforming changes to incorporate the new provisions of SB 696 into existing law.


Requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of SB 696. Specifies that the rules and regulations shall set and maintain standards for online notarizations and notaries public authorized to perform them, including but not limited to audio-video communication, and requires that principals with disabilities be accommodated by online notarization systems in a manner consistent with applicable laws; credential analysis; electronic and tangible journals; electronic seals; identity proofing; online notarization systems; depositories and related standards for security measures and storage capacity; registering with the Secretary of State as a notary public authorized to perform online notarizations, or registration as a depository or an online notarization platform; remote presentation; retention and storage of records of online notarial acts; security and encryption.

Allows the Secretary of State, in crafting the mandated rules and regulations, to confer with certain other parties and consider the views of other state entities, departments or agencies, and members of the public. Prohibits a notary public from providing online notarization for any principal before the adoption of rules by the Secretary of State.


Establishes that any waiver of the provisions of the Online Notarization Act is contrary to public policy and is void and unenforceable. Establishes that the provisions of the Online Notarization Act are severable, meaning that any provision of the Act or application of any provision of the Act that is held invalid will not affect other provisions that can be given effect without the invalid provision.

 
COLORADO – Permanent Rule 8 CCR 1505-11, Notary’s Use of Interpreter
Effective 9-1-23
See full text of this rule.

This rule amends and/or clarifies Colorado’s notary program rules.


Substantially changes Colorado’s stance on a notary’s use of an interpreter to communicate with a person seeking a notarial act, by striking prohibitive rule language and thereby allowing reliance on an interpreter for all methods of notarization, including electronic and remote notarization. (Rule 2.3.2)

Deletes rule provisions prohibiting an interpreter from having certain disqualifying interests in the record to be notarized. (Rule 2.3.4; note that these provisions were duplicative of provisions of Colorado’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.)


Amends the fee that a remote notary may charge—from $10 to the new fee of $25—for performance of a notarial act involving the notary’s electronic signature. (Rule 5.2.7; now aligns with the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.)

Specifies that a remote notarization system provider must annually renew its registration with the Secretary of State, and pay the required fee, in order to maintain continuing eligibility. (Rule 5.3.3(a)(6)).

Makes several non-technical amendments. (Rules 5.3.1; 5.3.3)
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COLORADO – SB 153
Section 6 Effective 5-17-23; Other Sections Effective 9-1-23
View this bill

Amends Colorado’s existing notary law and establishes new permissions for a notary’s reliance on use of an interpreter when the notary and the individual receiving a notarial act cannot speak together in a shared language.


Definitions (Eff. 9-1-23)
Defines “interpreter” to mean an individual who provides interpreter services when a notarial officer and an individual executing a record do not communicate in the same language.

Reliance on Interpreters (Eff. 9-1-23)
Establishes that a Colorado notarial officer (which includes notaries public) may “rely on representations made by an interpreter” as factual when a notarial officer and the individual for whom a notarial act is to be performed do not communicate in the same language. Requires such an interpreter to communicate in a language that is known to both the notarial officer and the individual. Further establishes that any errors in interpretation are not attributable to the notarial officer, and that the notarial officer is not liable in any disputes arising from such errors.

Requires an interpreter to personally appear—as defined in Colorado’s notary public law—before a notarial officer, and that the interpreter shall be identified as prescribed in Colorado’s notary public law for individuals in the physical presence of a notary or appearing remotely by means of real-time audio-video communications under Colo. Rev. Stat. 24-21-514.5.

Provides circumstances that would disqualify an interpreter from providing interpreter services. Establishes that a notarial act is voidable if interpreter services are provided by an interpreter who was disqualified under such statutes to provide the services. Further clarifies that if a notarial officer does not communicate in the same language as the individual executing the record, the notarial officer is not liable in any legal action regarding a dispute that directly results from an error in interpretation.


Establishes that a party who files an action for damages based on a violation of the statutes allowing for a notarial officer’s use of an interpreter has the burden of proof in establishing that the dispute is related to a cause other than the interpretation.

Performing Notarial Acts (Eff. 9-1-23)

Clarifies that a notarial officer’s authority to refuse to perform a notarial act is not limited by the fact that the law allows for reliance on an interpreter by a notarial officer.


Specifies that the certificate of notarial act for a remote notarization performed using an interpreter must indicate that the notarial act was performed using an interpreter, and include the name and credential or certification number, if any, of the interpreter.

Repeals current law’s requirement that a notarial certificate completed by a notary public shall indicate the expiration date of the notary public’s commission.

Notarial Records (Journal; Eff. 9-1-23)
Requires a Colorado notary public’s journal entry to contain the full name and address of any interpreter who provided interpreter services to facilitate the notarial act being recorded in the journal. Further requires the journal entry to contain the certification or credential number of any such interpreter.


Notary Fees (Eff. 5-17-23)
Increases the fees that may be charged for a notarial act, to a maximum of $15 for each document attested by a person before a notary (for notarizations involving the notary’s wet-ink signature); and a maximum of $25 for each notarial act requiring the notary’s electronic signature. Clarifies that the $15 fee and the $25 fee are each in lieu of the other (not to be combined for a single notarial act).

Interpreter Regulation and Sanctions (Eff. 9-1-23)
Clarifies that the current statutory provisions relating to the Secretary of State’s grounds to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition the commission of a notary public do not authorize the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee to investigate a potential violation concerning an action taken by an interpreter during a notarial act.

Other Provisions (Eff. 5-17-23)
Sunsets Colorado’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts effective September 1, 2032, and schedules a prior sunset review in accordance with Colo. Rev. Stat. §24-34-104.

Pushes, to September 1, 2032, sunset of Colorado’s law providing for appointment of notaries public through the Secretary of State.

 
CONNECTICUT—SB 1040
Effective 10-1-23
View this bill

With the passage of Senate Bill 1040, the Constitution State has approved enactment of a version of remote online notarization that differs markedly from that authorized in most other states.

Defines key terms: “communication technology,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” and “remotely located individual.” Specifies multiple circumstances (and refers to correlating Connecticut statutes) under which use of remote online notarization is prohibited. Expressly prohibits remote notarizations to be performed for acknowledgments involving certain estate documents (which are specified in the bill).

Provides requirements for remote online notarization that appear to contemplate only tangible documents (not electronic documents). Requires the individual and notary to communicate simultaneously, in real time, by sight and sound using communication technology. Additionally requires the notary to reasonably identify the remotely located individual at the time of notarization using one of more of the following methods:
• personal knowledge of the individual;
• the individual’s presentation of a government-issued identification document or record that is unexpired and includes the individual’s photo, name and signature;
• not less than two different types of identity proofing processes or services by which a third person provides a means to verify the identify of the individual through a review of public or private data sources; or
• oath or affirmation of a credible witness who is in the physical presence of either the notary or the individual, or who is able to communicate in real time with the notary and the individual by sight and sound through an electronic device or process at the time of the notarization, if the credible witness has personal knowledge of the individual and has been reasonably identified by a method authorized under the new law.*
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*Note: Notably absent from these requirements is retention of an audio-video recording of notarizations performed remotely using communications technology.)

Limits the use of remote notarization by a Connecticut notary by establishing that, when the remotely located individual is physically located outside of Connecticut or outside of the United States, the record being notarized must be intended for filing or presentation in a matter before a court, governmental entity, public official or other entity subject to the jurisdiction of Connecticut; involve property located in the territorial jurisdiction of Connecticut or a transaction substantially connected to Connecticut; or otherwise not be prohibited by Connecticut law to be notarized outside of the state.

Denies recognition by Connecticut of a remote notarial act performed by notaries of another state that involves any conveyance of Connecticut real estate, or any mortgage or release of mortgage or lien with respect to any Connecticut-located real estate.

Requires that once the record is remotely notarized in accordance with the new law’s requirements, the individual must mail the signed, original (tangible) document to the notary public or otherwise cause it to be delivered to the notary public, who will then complete the notarial certificate on the document using the notary’s “commission signature and official stamp or seal.”

Provides that the date and time of a notarization performed pursuant to the new law shall be the date and time when the notary witnessed the signature being performed (executed) by means of communication technology.


Clarifies that nothing in the new law shall affect the authority of a notary public to refuse to perform a notarial act or require a notary public to perform a notarization remotely with respect to an electronic record for an individual not in the physical presence of the notary, or using a technology that the notary has not selected.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54, Connecticut General Statutes, regarding performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual. Specifies the allowed scope of such regulations. Requires the Secretary—prior to adopting or amending regulations governing performance of notarial acts for remotely located individuals—to consider certain information, standards, practices, customs, and views of governmental officials, entities and other interested persons.

 
DELAWARE – SB 125
Effective September 21, 2023
View this bill  (search for the word “seal”)

Revises various statutes containing references to use of a notary seal, by amending such references to “stamp or seal.”  These changes conform existing statutory wording to Delaware’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, and are technical in nature.

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DELAWARE - Senate Bill 262
Effective 9/09/2022: Bill Section 12 extending the provisions of Paragraph B of the Eleventh Modification of the State of Emergency Declaration of April 15, 2020, until July 31, 2023
Effective 8/01/2023: Bill Sections 1-11, and Section 13.
View this bill


Enacts the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) in The First State, with comprehensive provisions for performance of notarial acts on tangible and electronic records, for physically-present and remotely present individuals.

Definitions
Defines key terms: “acknowledgment,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “Notary Public,” “official stamp,” “person,” “record,” “sign,” “signature,” “stamping device,” “state,” “verification on oath or affirmation.”

Additionally, defines terms with respect to notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals: “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” “remotely located individual.”


Commissioning
Amends and clarifies the qualifications for obtaining a Delaware Notary Public commission. Repeals provisions relating to a separate commission for electronic Notaries Public and the electronic Notary oath of office.

Provides that a qualified individual may apply to the Delaware Governor for a commission as a Notary Public. Retains in statute the ability of the Governor to delegate, to the Secretary of State, duties relative to appointment of Notaries.


Retains current law’s provisions allowing the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations or establish additional standards and guidelines governing applications, registrations, appointments, and the conduct of Notaries Public.

Establishes that an individual applying for a Delaware Notary Public commission shall be at least 18 years of age; be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States; be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in Delaware; be able to read and write English; not be disqualified to receive a commission under §4334, Title 29, Delaware Code (providing the grounds for the Governor to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a Notary Public commission for any act or omission demonstrating that the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a Notary Public); and comply with all other requirements established by the Secretary of State by regulations as necessary to ensure the competence, integrity, and qualifications of a Notary Public and the proper performance of notarial acts.


Requires a Notary Public commission applicant who is not a Delaware resident to provide on his/her/their application a residential address and address of the individual’s place of employment or practice in Delaware.

Clarifies provisions on service of process, subpoenas and other documents on a nonresident who is a Delaware Notary.

Requires a Delaware Notary Public to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address within 30 days of the change, and clarifies that a Notary’s address of record must include a street address.


Requires that an individual applying for a Notary Public commission shall execute an oath of office and submit it to the Secretary of State, prior to issuance of his/her/their Notary Public commission. Establishes that upon an individual applicant’s compliance with §4301, Title 29, Delaware Code, the Governor shall issue a Notary Public commission for a 2-year term if the individual is a first-time Delaware Notary; or for a 2-year or 4-year term as chosen by an individual who is renewing his/her/their Delaware Notary commission.

Provides that the Secretary of State shall designate the commission appointing a Notary Public, and that such commission shall be executed by the Governor and Secretary of State. Establishes that these officials’ signatures on the commission may be electronic or a facsimile signature engraved, printed or stamped on the commission.

Provides the grounds under which the Governor of Delaware may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a commission as a Notary Public including:

1. any act or omission demonstrating that the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a Notary Public;
2. failure to comply with Delaware’s Notary laws;
3. a fraudulent, dishonest or deceitful misstatement or omission in the Notary Public application submitted to the Secretary of State;
4. conviction of the application or Notary Public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit;
5. a finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or Notary Public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the individual’s fraud, dishonesty or deceit,
6. failure by a Notary Public to discharge any duty required of a Notary Public whether such duty is required by any state or federal law, or by regulations of the Secretary of State;
7. use of false or misleading advertising or representation by the Notary Public that the Notary has a duty, right or privilege that the Notary does not have;
8. violation by the Notary of a Notary Public regulation adopted by the Secretary of State;
9. a Notary’s commission denial, refusal to renew, revocation, suspension or conditioning in or by another state;
10. a violation under Delaware Code’s §4311(c), Title 29 (dealing with a Notary’s overcharging of fees for notarial acts).


Clarifies that an applicant or Notary Public is entitled to timely notice and hearing, in accordance with Delaware law, if the Governor denies, refuses to renew, revokes, suspends, or imposes conditions on the individual’s Notary Public commission. Also clarifies that the Governor’s authority to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or impose conditions on a Notary Public commission does not prevent the affected person from seeking and obtaining other criminal or civil remedies provided by law.

Makes various conforming and clarifying amendments.

Notary’s Official Stamp, Journal
Notary’s Official Stamp. Replaces existing provisions relating to the Notary’s seal of office with updated RULONA language requiring a Notary Public to use an “official stamp,” which may be placed on a notarial certificate by means of “affixing” (stamping) or embossing. Provides that “official stamp” also means an electronic image attached to or logically associated with an electronic record. Defines “stamping device” as a physical capable of affixing or embossing, on a tangible record, an official stamp; or an electronic device or process capable of attaching or logically associating an official stamp to, or with, an electronic record.


Requires that if a notarial act regarding a tangible record is performed by a Notary Public, an official stamp must be affixed to or embossed on the notarial certificate. Provides that if a notarial act regarding a tangible record is performed by any other notarial officer (not a Notary Public), and the notarial certificate is signed and dated by the notarial officer, identifies the jurisdiction (venue) where the notarial act is performed, and contains the notarial officer’s title of office, then an official stamp may be affixed to or embossed on the notarial certificate. Further provides that if a notarial act regarding an electronic record is performed by a notarial officer and the notarial certificate is signed and dated by the notarial officer; identifies the jurisdiction (venue) in which the notarial act is performed; and contains the notarial officer’s title of office, an official stamp may be attached to or logically associated with the notarial certificate.

Requires a Notary Public’s official stamp to include the Notary’s name as on file with the Secretary of State; “State of Delaware,” “My commission expires on” and the commission expiration date; and any other information required by the Secretary of State. Requires a Notary’s official stamp to be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached, or with which it is logically associated.

Specifies that a Notary Public is responsible for the security of the Notary’s stamping device and may not allow another individual to use the device to perform a notarial act. Requires a Notary Public, upon commission resignation, revocation or expiration, to disable the stamping device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing, or securing it against (any possible) use. Places this same requirement on a Notary’s personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of the stamping device, upon the death or adjudication of incompetency of the Notary Public.


Requires a Notary Public or the Notary’s personal representative or guardian, if applicable, to promptly notify the Secretary of State upon discovering that the Notary’s stamping device is lost or stolen.

Notary’s Journal. Repeals prior law’s provisions requiring a electronic Notary to use an electronic journal of notarial acts. Requires a Delaware Notary Public to maintain a journal in which the Notary chronicles all notarial acts (tangible or electronic) that the Notary performs.

Provides that a journal may be created on a tangible medium or in an electronic format. Allows a Notary Public to maintain only one journal at a time for chronicling all notarial acts, whether such acts are performed regarding tangible or electronic records. Specifies that if the journal is maintained on an tangible medium, it must be a permanent bound register with numbered pages; and if the journal is electronic, it must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.

Requires an entry in an journal to be made contemporaneously with performance of a notarial act, and specifies the information to be included in each journal entry (date and time of the notarial act; description of the record, if any, and type of notarial act; the full name and address of each individual for whom a notarial act is performed; a statement, as applicable, that the individual was identified by personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence which must be described; and any fee charged by the Notary Public).


Requires a Notary Public to promptly notify the Secretary of State upon discovering that his/her/their journal is lost or stolen.

Specifies that upon resignation, or revocation or suspension of commission, a Notary Public shall retain the Notary’s journal for 10 years after performance of the last notarial act chronicled in it, and inform the Secretary of State where the journal is located.

Allows a current or former Notary Public to transmit the journal to the Secretary of State or a repository approved by the Secretary of State. Requires that upon death of adjudication of incompetency of a current or former Notary Public, the Notary’s personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of the journal shall transmit it to the Secretary of State or a repository approved by the Secretary.


Performing Notarial Acts
Authorizes a notarial officer to perform a notarial act that is authorized under Delaware’s RULONA or by other Delaware law. Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act with respect to a record to which the officer or the officer’s spouse is a party, or in which either person has a direct beneficial interest. Provides that a notarial act performed in violation of this prohibition is voidable.

Authorizes a notarial officer to certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Establishes the fundamental requirements and prohibitions for performance of the authorized notarial acts (acknowledgment of a record, verification on oath or affirmation, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy of a record or an item that was copied, making or noting a protest of a negotiable instrument).

Requires the personal appearance of an individual for performance of a notarial act relating to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, unless the notarial act is performed for a remotely located individual and in compliance with §4320 of Title 29, Delaware Code.

Establishes that a notarial officer has personal knowledge of the identity of an individual present before the officer if the individual is personally known to the officer through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed.

Provides that a notarial officer has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual appearing before the officer if the officer can identify the individual by:

  • a passport, driver’s license or government issued non-driver identification card that is current and not expired before performance of the notarial act;
  • another form of government identification issued to an individual that is current and not expired before performance of the notarial act, that contains the individual’s signature or photograph, and is satisfactory to the officer;
  • verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the notarial officer and known to the officer or whom the officer can identify on the basis of a passport, driver license or government-issued nondriver identification card, any of which are current and not expired before performance of the notarial act.

Authorizes a notarial officer to require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the officer of the individual’s identity.

Allows a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act if the officer is not satisfied that all of the following apply:

  • The individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to execute the record;
  • The individual’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made.

Authorizes a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by other Delaware law.

Establishes that an individual who is physically unable to sign a record may direct another individual who is not the (officiating) notarial officer to sign the individual’s name on the record. Requires the notarial officer to insert words indicating that the signature was affixed by the individual (name) at the direction of the physically unable signer of the record.

Requires a notarial act to be evidenced by a certificate that meets all of the following requirements:
1. It was executed contemporaneously with (at the same time as) performance of the notarial act;
2. It is signed and dated by the officiating notarial officer, and if that person is a Notary Public, it is signed in the same manner as on file with the Secretary of State;
3. It identifies the jurisdiction (venue) where the notarial act was performed;
4. It contains the officiating notarial officer’s title of office;
5. If the officiating notarial officer is a Notary Public, it indicates the Notary’s commission expiration date (if any).

Establishes the requirements for a certificate of a notarial act to be “sufficient” (contain all required information and the notarial officer’s signature). Provides that by executing a certificate of a notarial act, the notarial officer certifies that he/she/they have complied with the requirements and made the determinations specified in Delaware’s RULONA.


Prohibits a notarial officer from affixing the officer’s signature to, or logically associating it with, a notarial certificate before the notarial act has been performed.

Requires the notarial certificate for a tangible record to be part of, or securely attached to, the tangible record. Requires the notarial certificate for an electronic record to be affixed to, or logically associated with the electronic record. Requires the process of attaching, affixing or logically associating a notarial certificate to a record to conform to any standards established by the Secretary of State under §4338, Title 29, Delaware Code.

Provides “short form” notarial certificate formats for Delaware’s authorized notarial acts. Establishes the legal sufficiency of such short form certificates if completed with the information required under Delaware law.


Recognition of Notarial Acts
Provides RULONA’s concise provisions assuring that the notarial acts performed by Notaries and other notarial officers outside of Delaware will be recognized in Delaware, and that the notarial acts performed by Delaware Notaries and other notarial officers will be recognized outside of Delaware (interstate recognition).

Prohibited Acts
Provides that a Delaware Notary Public commission (alone) does not authorize a Notary to:
1. assist persons in drafting legal records, give legal advice, or otherwise practice law;
2. act as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters;
3. represent a person in a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, U.S. citizenship or related matters;
4. receive compensation for performing any of the activities listed above.


Prohibits a Notary Public from:
1. engaging in false or deceptive advertising;
2. using the term “notario” or “notario publico” unless the Notary Public is also an attorney licensed to practice law in Delaware;
3. advertising or representing that the Notary may assist persons in drafting legal records, give legal advce or otherwise practice law, unless the Notary is also an attorney licensed to practice law in Delaware.

Requires any manner of advertising or representation of notarial services (including broadcast media, print media and the Internet) by a Notary Public who is not also a licensed Delaware attorney to include a specified statement, prominently and in each language used in the advertisement or representation: “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State, I am not allowed to draft legal records, give advice on legal matters, including immigration, or charge a fee for those activities.” Clarifies that if the form of advertisement or representation is not broadcast media, print media or the Internet and does not permit inclusion of the statement due to size, then the statement must be displayed prominently or provided at the place of performance of the notarial act, before the notarial act is performed.


Prohibits a Notary Public from withholding access to or possession of an original record provided by a person seeking a notarial act from the Notary Public, except as otherwise allowed by law.

Notary Fees
Retains existing law’s maximum fees of $5 that a Notary may charge for performance of a notarial act with respect to a tangible record, and $25 for a notarial act with respect to an electronic record. Retains existing law’s penalty of commission revocation, if desired by the Secretary of State, for a Notary’s charging of fees in excess of the maximum allowed; and the waiting period following such commission revocation of two years before the Notary may apply for reappointment. Clarifies that a Notary may choose to waive any fee for any notarial act.


Electronic Notarization
Repeals existing statutory sections dealing with electronic notarization and separate appointment as a Delaware electronic Notary Public.

Authorizes a Delaware notarial officer to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records.

Establishes that before performing his/her/their initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, a Notary Public shall notify the Secretary of State that the notarial officer will be performing such electronic notarial acts. Requires such notification to the Secretary of State to identify the technology the notarial officer intends to use for notarizing electronic records. Requires that if the Secretary has established standards for approval of technology, the selected technology must conform to the standards.


Prohibits any person from requiring a notarial officer to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record using a technology that the notarial officer has not selected.

Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals
Allows a notarial officer to use communication technology to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual. Requires a notarial officer, before performing his/her/their initial notarial act for a remotely located individual, to notify the Secretary of State that he/she/they will be performing such notarial acts, and identify the technologies the notarial officer intends to use. Requires selected communication technology to conform to standards, if any, established by the Secretary of State, and for the Secretary to approve use of technology that conforms to the Secretary’s standards.


If all of the following apply in accordance with Delaware’s RULONA.
1. The notarial officer has one or more of the following:
  • personal knowledge of the identity of the remotely located individual;
  • satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the notarial officer;
  • satisfactory evidence of the remotely located individual by using at least 2 different types of identity proofing.
2. The notarial officer can reasonably confirm that a record before the notarial officer is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature

Establishes additional requirements for performance of a notarial act involving a remotely located individual, when the remotely located individual is located outside of the United States at the time of the notarial act. Provides that the act of making the statement (in the record) or signing the record cannot be prohibited by the foreign state in which the remotely located individual is located.


Authorizes performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual, using communication technology, and involving a tangible record. Prescribes detailed requirements for performance of the notarial act under these circumstances, including that:
  • The remotely located individual must display and identify the record during the audio-visual recording of the notarial act; sign the record and a declaration* during the audio-visual recording of the notarial act; and send the record and signed declaration to the notarial officer no later than three days after the notarial act was performed;
and
  • The notarial officer must record the individual signing the record and declaration; execute a certificate of notarial act on the signed record received from the remotely located individual; include in the notarial certificate a statement substantially as: “I (name of notarial officer) witnessed, by means of communication technology, (name of remotely located individual) sign the attached record and declaration on (date).”

__________
*The remotely located individual’s declaration must be part of or securely attached to the electronic record, and worded substantially as follows: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the record of which this declaration is a part or to which it is attached is the same record on which (name of notarial officer), a notarial officer, performed a notarial act and before whom I appeared by means of communication technology on (date).”

Provides that a notarial act performed as specified, for a remotely located individual executing a tangible record, complies with §4328(a)(1), Title 29, Code of Delaware, and is effective on the date the remotely located individual signed the required declaration. Clarifies that the law does not preclude use of other procedures used to satisfy the requirements of law for performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual executing a tangible record.


Authorizes a Delaware notarial officer to use communication technology to administer an oath to a remotely located individual if, except as otherwise provided by other Delaware law, the notarial officer: identifies the individual in the same way that the law requires identifying a remotely located individual executing a record; creates or causes creation of an audio-visual recording of the individual taking the oath; and retains or causes retention of the recording of the individual taking the oath.

Requires the notarial certificate for a notarial act involving a remotely located individual to indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology. Provides that a short-form notarial certificate under §4329, Title 29, Code of Delaware, is sufficient if it does any of the following: complies with any regulations adopted by the Secretary of State; is in the form prescribed under §4329 and contains a statement substantially like “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”


Notarial Records
Requires a notarial officer, guardian, conservator or agent of a notarial officer, or personal representative of a deceased notarial officer to retain the audio-visual recording of a notarization performed for a remotely located individual or cause such recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the recording. Requires retention of a recording for at least 10 years, unless a different period is required by administrative rules of the Secretary of State
.

Requires that, prior to performing his/her/their initial notarial act for a remotely located individual, a notarial officer shall:
  • notify the Secretary of State that the notarial officer will be performing notarial acts with respect to remotely located individuals;
  • identify for the Secretary of State the technologies the notarial officer intends to use.

Validity of Notarial Acts; Applicability of Law; Relation to Other Law
Establishes that the newly enacted provisions of Delaware’s RULONA apply to notarial acts performed on or after the effective date of the Act. Clarifies that the provisions of Delaware’s RULONA do not affect the validity or effect of a notarial act performed before the Act’s effective date.


Provides that the failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in Delaware’s RULONA does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the notarial officer, but clarifies that the validity of a notarial act performed under the RULONA does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act, or from seeking other remedies based on other Delaware law or U.S. law. Further clarifies that this section of the Act does not validate a purported notarial act performed by an individual who lacked authority to perform the notarial act.

Requires that in applying and construing the RULONA, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among (other) states enacting the RULONA.


Secretary of State
Provides the Secretary of State with broad rulemaking authority to specify the manner in which notarial acts—for physically present or remotely present individuals, with respect to tangible and electronic records—shall be performed in Delaware. Allows rules to include provisions ensuring that any change to or tampering with a recording bearing a notarial certificate shall be self-evident; ensuring integrity in the creation, transmittal, storage or authentication of electronic records or signatures; prescribing the process of granting, renewing, conditioning, denying, suspending or revoking a Notary Public commission and assuring the trustworthiness of an individual holding a commission as Notary Public; and preventing fraud or mistake in the performance of notarial acts.


Specifies that the Secretary—in adopting, amending or repealing rules about notarial acts with respect to electronic records—shall consider so far as is consistent with Delaware’s RULONA, all of the following: the most recent standards regarding electronic records promulgated by national bodies; standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions that substantially enact the RULONA; the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.

Requires the Secretary—before adopting, amending or repealing a regulation governing performance of a notarial act with respect to a remotely located individual— to consider the most recent standards promulgated by national standard-setting organizations and the recommendations of the National Association of Secretaries of State; the standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions with laws substantially similar to Delaware’s; and the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.


Prohibits regulations regarding performance of notarial acts with respect to electronic record from requiring or according greater legal status of effect to the implementation or application of a specific technology or technical specification.

Retains current law’s provisions allowing the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations or establish additional standards and guidelines governing applications, registrations, appointments, and the conduct of Notaries Public.

Requires that if that the Secretary of State has established standards, as allowed by law, for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, the communication technology and identity proofing must conform to the standards.

Specifies that by allowing its communication technology to facilitate a notarization for a remotely located individual, the provider of the technology appoints the Secretary of State as agent for service of process in any civil action in Delaware related to the notarial act.


Requires the Secretary of State to maintain an electronic database of Notaries Public, which must permit a person to verify the authority of a Notary Public to perform notarial acts; and indicate whether a Notary Public has notified the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing electronic notarial acts, or notarial acts for remotely located individuals.

Other Provisions
Special Notary Commissions. Amends laws dealing with special Notary commissions. Establishes that upon request of the administrative head of a qualified police agency, the Governor shall appoint a sufficient number of limited governmental Notaries Public. Clarifies that “qualified police agency” means a state, county, municipal, or local governmental agency or unit of Delaware whose personnel includes full-time police officers who are statutorily responsible for prevention or investigation of crime involving injury to persons or property, and who are authorized to execute search warrants and make arrests.


Provides that such limited governmental Notaries Public shall be appointed for a term of 2 years, at no charge to the appointee, administrative head, or police agency.

Provides the qualifications for an individual to be appointed as a limited governmental Notary Public. Provides that appointment as a limited governmental Notary Public expires on the end of the individual’s employment with a state governmental agency or unit or qualified police agency.

Clarifies that individuals appointed as a limited governmental Notary Public may not perform a notarial act other than a notarial act authorized by the individual’s state governmental agency or unit or qualified police agency; or charge for a service rendered.


Requires a limited governmental Notary’s official stamp to comply with §4330, Title 29, Code of Delaware except for the statement of commission expiration date, which shall be “My commission expires upon office.”

Requires an individual appointed as a limited governmental Notary to notify the Secretary of State, within 30 days, following transfer of employment to another state governmental agency or unit or qualified police agency. Clarifies that the individual may retain his/her/their limited governmental Notary appointment only if the individual provides the Secretary of State an employer request and approval form from the agency or unit or qualified police agency to which the individual transferred.

Recording of a Tangible Copy of an Electronic Record. Authorizes a Recorder of Deeds to accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that a record accepted for recording be an original, if the notarial officer executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.


Notary Public Commission in Effect. Provides that a Notary Public commission in effect on the effective date of Delaware’s RULONA continues until the date of commission expiration. Further provides that a Notary Public applying to renew a commission on or after the effective date of Delaware’s RULONA is subject to and shall comply with the RULONA; and that a Notary Public performing notarial acts after the effective date of the RULONA shall comply with it.

State of Emergency Declaration Provisions, Continuance
Provides that the provisions of Paragraph B of the Eleventh Modification of the State of Emergency Declaration of April 15, 2020, continues in full force and effect until July 31, 2023.

Makes various statutory text amendments that do not change the substance or effect of the prior text.

 
FLORIDA—SB 1718
Effective 7-1-23
View this bill

Establishes that, if a driver license issued by another state is of a class issued exclusively to undocumented immigrants who are unable to prove lawful presence in the United States when the license is issued, then such driver license or other permit purporting to authorize the holder to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways is invalid in Florida. Clarifies that such classes of licenses include those issued exclusively to undocumented immigrants, or licenses that are substantially the same as licenses issued to citizens, residents or those lawfully present in the United States but that have markings establishing that the license holder did not exercise the option of providing proof of lawful presence.


Requires Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to maintain on its website a list of out-of-state classes of driver licenses that are invalid in Florida under this new law. Requires a law enforcement officer or other authorized representative of the DHSMV to cite a person driving with a license that is deemed invalid under the new law created by SB 1718.

Rescinds certain individuals’ exemption from obtaining a Florida driver license based on whether the specified license they currently hold is invalid under the new law created by SB 1718.


[COMMENT: American Society of Notaries will seek to clarify whether a Florida Notary may accept (as satisfactory evidence of identification)—or must reject—driver licenses deemed invalid under this new law.]
 
ILLINOIS—HB 2269
Eff. 1-1-24
View this bill

Amends Illinois’ Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act by creating a new Article 11, Electronic Nontestamentary Estate Planning Documents, to address electronic signatures on, and electronic notarization of, nontestamentary estate planning documents. Provides that these new provisions do not apply to a nontestamentary estate planning document, will, or terms of a trust governing the document [that] expressly preclude use of an electronic record or electronic signature.

Bill highlights:
Defines key terms, which include “nontestamentary estate planning document,” “person,” “power of attorney,” “record,” “security procedure,” “sign,” “state,” “trust instrument,” and “will.”

Clarifies the effective date and applicability of the new law, and effect of the new law on the validity of an electronic record or electronic signature that is valid under Illinois’ Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, any other section of the new act, or any other Illinois law relating to nontestamentary estate planning documents. Further clarifies that the new law does not require a nontestamentary estate planning document, or a signature on such document, to be created, generated, sent, communicated, received, stored or otherwise processed or used by electronic means or in electronic form.

Addresses recognition of electronic nontestamentary estate planning documents and electronic signatures, by providing that neither may be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because they are in electronic form. Provides that an electronic nontestamentary estate planning document or electronic signature on en electronic nontestamentary planning document is attributable to a person if it is was the act of the person, which may be shown in any manner.

Establishes that if other Illinois law, or a will or the terms of a trust, require or permit a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic nontestamentary estate planning document if an individual authorized to perform the notarization, acknowledgment, verification, or oath attached or logically associates the individual’s electronic signature on the document together with all other information required to be included under the other law.

Provides that if other Illinois law or a will or the terms of a trust base the validity of a nontestamentary estate planning document on whether it is signed, witnessed, or attested by another individual, the signature, witnessing, or attestation of that individual may be electronic.

Specifies that as used in subsection (b) of the new law, “electronic presence” means that two or more individuals in different locations are able to communicate in real time to the same extent as if the individuals were physically present in the same location. Further specifies that if other Illinois law bases the validity of a nontestamentary estate planning document on whether it is signed, witnessed, or attested by another individual in the presence of the individual signing the document, the presence requirement is satisfied if the individuals are in each other’s electronic presence.

Establishes that an individual may create a certified paper copy of an electronic nontestamentary estate planning document by affirming under penalty of perjury that the paper copy is a complete and accurate copy of the document.
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ILLINOIS – HB 351/Public Act 103-0562
Eff. 11-17-23
View this bill

This bill’s notary-related provisions modify Illinois’ notary journal requirements, by establishing that neither an Illinois notary public nor an Illinois electronic notary public is required to keep a journal of, or to otherwise record in a journal, a notarial act or an electronic notarial act if that act is performed on any of certain specified documents to be filed by or on behalf of a candidate for public office.

Identifies these documents as nominating petitions; petitions of candidacy; petitions for nomination; nominating papers; or nomination papers.

Clarifies that this exemption applies regardless of whether the notarial act or electronic notarial act is performed on any of the named documents before, on, or after the effective date of House Bill 351. Further clarifies that the failure of a notary public or an electronic notary public to keep a journal of or to otherwise record notarial acts involving these specified documents does not affect the validity of the notarial act on that document and is not a violation of this Act.

Assigns, to the term “public office” as used in HB 351, the same meaning for the term given in Section 9-1.10 of Illinois’ Election Code.
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ILLINOIS – Notary Administrative Rules (Notary Public Commissions; Notarial Acts and Responsibilities; Notary Journal)
Effective June 5, 2023
View these rules (see page 8656)


These rules, the product of a very lengthy administrative rule assessment and drafting process, create eleven new subparts to Illinois’ administrative code dealing with notary public matters (notary public records; appointments; course of study and examination; commission application requirements; notary public remittance agents; notary duties, fees and authority; notarial acts; remote notarial acts*; electronic notarizations**; journaling; and administrative hearings).
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*Note: Under Illinois law, a “remote notarial act” is a notarization involving a tangible (paper) record, but the principal signer appears before the Notary by means of communication technology. This process was widely authorized among states during the height of the COVID pandemic, with some states—including Illinois—later electing to authorize this means of notarization in their permanent laws.
**Also under Illinois law, an “electronic notarial act” (electronic notarization) is a remote online notarization performed by an electronic notary public, using communication technology and involving an electronic record.


Explanation, Key Definitions
The following definitions in Illinois’ Notary Public Act require careful consideration of the terms and circumstances in which they apply. Brackets within the definitions indicate inserted text to help with understanding the definition and its context.
“Electronic notary public” means a person commissioned by the Secretary of State to perform electronic notarial acts [remotely].
“Electronic notarial act”* [electronic notarization] means an act that an electronic notary public is authorized to perform [remotely]. The term includes: taking an acknowledgment; administering an oath or affirmation; executing a jurat; certifying a true and correct copy; and performing such other duties as may be prescribed by a specific statute.
“Remote notarial act” means a notarial act that is done by way of audio-video communication technology that allows for direct, contemporaneous interaction between the individual signing the document (the signatory) and the witness by sight and sound but that requires the notary public to use his or her physical stamp and seal to notarize the document without the aid of an electronic seal or signature.
“Remote notary public” means any notary public that performs a remote notarial act.
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*Illinois’ Notary Public Act does not provide for notarization of an electronic record involving a signer who is physically present before the Notary. An electronic notary public is authorized to perform remote online notarizations for a remotely located individual using communication technology to appear before the notary.

Notary Public and Electronic Notary Public Commission Application
Requires all applicants for a traditional notary public commission to use the application prescribed by the Secretary of State, which must include at a minimum the information required by 5 ILCS 312/2-102.

Affirms the provisions of Illinois law (5 ILCS 312/2-102(b)) by stating that any Illinois notary holding a traditional notary public commission shall have the authority to conduct remote notarizations.

Requires an application for an electronic notary public commission (allowing the individual to perform remote online notarizations) to be filed with the Secretary of State, and specifies the information that shall be provided on the application which includes a certificate or other proof of successful completion of the required course of study. The certificate must indicate course completion occurred within the two years preceding submission of the electronic notary public application.

Prohibits a person from performing an electronic notarial act (i.e., a remote online notarization) unless the Secretary has approved the applicant’s application for electronic notary public commission; and the Secretary has approved the registration of the proposed electronic notarization system provider.

Establishes that the Secretary will retain an incomplete application for appointment as a notary public or electronic notary public for at least one year from the date of receipt of the application. Provides that the Secretary may deny the application if the applicant does not complete the application within one year from the date the Secretary received it. Further provides that no commission will be issued until the statutory fee for the commission has been paid in full.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to deny or revoke a commission if payment for the commission fee is dishonored or stopped; clarifies that the Secretary may take such action immediately and without a hearing. Requires an applicant, whose commission is denied or revoked due to failure to pay the statutory commission fee in full, to reapply for the commission.

Provides that the Secretary will assign a unique commission number to each original notary commission certificate. Establishes that the commission number will remain assigned to the notary public throughout the notary’s period of appointment and must be included on each duplicate or amended commission certificate issued to the notary by the Secretary. Requires a new commission number to be assigned if a notary public applies for a subsequent period of appointment. Clarifies that a notary public also commissioned as an electronic notary public will have the same commission number for both commissions.


Requires an electronic notary public to notify the Office of the Secretary of State (on a form designated by the Secretary) if the electronic notary public elects to add any electronic notary system provider other than the (one or more) previously identified.

Specifies that upon approval of an electronic notary public commission application, the Secretary of State will update the processing system maintained by the Secretary to indicate the person’s electronic notary commission; and notify the applicant of the approved application and commission as an electronic notary. Provides that a person’s electronic notary public commission becomes effective at the time the processing system maintained by the Secretary of State has been updated to indicate that commission.

Specifies that the Secretary of State will notify the affected person if the Secretary denies issuance of a commission as an electronic notary public.


Requires notaries public and electronic notaries public to file an oath of office with the Secretary of State. Requires the legal name on the applicant’s oath of office to exactly match the applicant’s driver’s license or state identification card and the name on the notary public application. Requires a notary public’s name as commissioned to consist of the individual’s first name, additional (middle) name or names if applicable, and surname (family or last name).

Allows a current notary public and a current electronic notary public to apply for reappointment 60 days before an existing commission expires. Provides that the date of the new commission will be the date immediately after the expiration date of the current commission. Specifies that to prevent a gap between commissions, a notary public and electronic notary public should apply for reappointment at least 30 days before the commission under which the notary is current acting expires.

Notary Bond
Requires an applicant for a notary public commission or electronic notary commission to indicate, at commission application, whether the applicant will perform only traditional in-person notarizations or remote notarizations.

Requires an applicant for a notary public commission or electronic notary public commission to purchase a bond. Specifies that the bond amount shall be $5000 for applicants intending to perform only traditional in-person notarizations; and an additional $25,000 bond for applicants intending to perform traditional in-person notarizations and remote or electronic notarizations. Clarifies that a combined bond of $30,000 for the latter circumstance is permissible. Requires a copy of the original bond to be filed with the Secretary of State’s Index Department. Specifies certain information to be on the face of the bond, and specifies how the bonded individual shall sign their name to endorse the oath on the bond.

Provides how the bond will perform for claims involving in-person notarizations versus electronic or remote notarizations. Clarifies that in no event may a single claim be eligible for payment of the entirety of the $30,000 total bond limits..


Notary Public, Electronic Notary Public Appointment and Reappointment
Requires every applicant for an initial appointment or reappointment as a notary public to present satisfactory evidence of identification, as required by 5 ILCS 312/2-102.


Specifies that an Illinois notary public or electronic notary public* applicant must, before issuance of an appointment, execute the statutory oath of office; submit a bond; and complete all application requirements prescribed by law and administrative rules. Requires an electronic notary commission applicant to provide a copy of their electronic signature that is an exact representation of the person’s handwritten signature already on file or currently being filed with the Secretary of State. Also requires these applicants to provide a statement certifying that they will comply with certain requirements specified in the administrative rules.
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*Note: An “electronic notary public” is defined in these rules as a person commissioned by the Secretary of State to perform electronic notarial acts. “Electronic notarial acts,” i.e. electronic notarizations, are remote online notarizations performed with respect to an electronic record.

Provides that the Secretary of State shall issue a notary public or electronic notary public commission certificate to an applicant upon determining that all requirements of the Illinois Notary Public Act and administrative rules have been met.

Provides that an electronic notary public commission will have the same term of commission as the individual’s traditional notary public commission.

Clarifies that the commission term for a notary public or electronic notary public begins on the date that the notary is commissioned by the Secretary of State, not the date the notary’s bond is obtained.

Provides that a current notary public and current electronic notary public may apply for reappointment 60 days before expiration of an existing commission. Specifies that the date of the new commission will be the date immediately after the expiration date of the current commission. Encourages notaries public and electronic notaries to file for commission renewal at least 30 days prior to the current commission’s expiration.


Clarifies that cancellation of an appointment may be requested by any applicant and that the Secretary of State’s cancellation of the appointment will be effective upon the date the Secretary receives the notice. Also clarifies that an Illinois notary public or electronic notary must maintain residency in Illinois during the term of appointment, and immediately resign either/both commission(s) if such residency ends.

Provides an application form for use by a nonresident of a bordering state who wishes to apply for an Illinois notary public commission, but conditions those individuals’ Illinois application on whether the bordering state’s laws authorize Illinois residents to be commissioned as notaries public in that state. Also requires a bordering state’s non-resident applicant to have a place of work or business within a county in Illinois.


Notary Commission Certificate
Provides that upon appointment as a notary public or electronic notary public, the Secretary of State shall send a commission certificate to the person appointed as a notary public or electronic notary public. Provides that the appointed person may use the commission certificate to obtain an official seal or electronic seal.

Specifies that only upon presentation by the notary public or electronic notary public of the commission certificate is the vendor authorized to provide the notary with an official seal described in rule Section 176.520 or an electronic notary with an electronic seal as described in Sections 176.520 and 176.810.


Course of Study and Examination – General
Provides that the Secretary of State (Index Department) may authorize the provision, by qualified third parties, of a mandatory course of study for notaries public and electronic notaries public. Establishes that a properly executed application for certification must be received. Establishes extensive requirements relating to a course of study and examination for Illinois notary public applicants.

Prohibits persons, firms, associations, partnerships, or corporations from operating as a provider of a notary public course of study and examination unless they hold a certification issued by the Secretary. Makes every officer, owner, director, partner, and manager for a provider subject to the terms of this administrative rule relating to the notary public course of study and examination. Specifies when the Secretary will deny, suspend, or revoke a provider certification. Provides that an entity whose certification has been denied, suspended or revoked may request an administrative hearing.


Requires the Secretary of State to provide the contact information of each approved provider on its official website.

Defines “applicant,” “certification,” “consumer information,” “Department,” “instructor,” “live certified proctors,” “multimedia,” “provider,” “shareware,” “webcast,” and “web video conference proctor.”

Effective January 1, 2024, requires applicants seeking an Illinois notary public or electronic notary public commission to first successfully complete a course of study and a passing score on the related examination. Allows up to two years from the date of examination to apply for a notary public or electronic notary public commission. Provides that upon completing the course of study and exam and being issued a commission, the course and exam certificate or proof of completion will remain valid for the duration of the notary’s four-year commission.


Course and Content
Specifies detailed course instruction requirements, content requirements and calculation of total minutes of instruction. Requires providers to follow the course content submitted to and approved by the Department.

Establishes that a provider’s certification will be valid for one year, and that a provider must submit their course of study to the Department annually, for approval, on or before October 1 of each year. Also requires providers wishing to substantially revise their course content to send the proposed revisions to the Department or approval. Provides the information that must accompany each application for course approval or renewal.


Requires approved course providers to monitor the Illinois General Assembly and update their course content with any new amendments to Illinois’ notary public law. Requires a course update to be submitted to the Department for review and approval within 60 days after the effective date of the law change.

Requires approved course providers to submit course content annually for reapproval for another one-year term, specified to be from January 1 through December 31. Requires course providers to submit course content for approval or renewal no later than October 1 of each year.

Mandates that providers perform periodic “course validation” actions throughout the approved course to verify student participation, comprehension of course material and course completion. Such actions include timers to ensure the required minutes of instruction have been viewed and completed by the student; course validation questions for each multimedia clip exceeding 60 seconds; a 50-question final examination that meets specifications provided in these rules; and a minimum 85% passing score on the final examination.

Establishes that a student who fails the examination may choose to take a different course before retaking the examination.

Course Administrative Procedures
Provides extensive requirements relating to course providers’ verification of student identity and course completion, for students taking live as well as online courses. Requires providers’ planned procedures in the areas to be submitted to the Secretary of State, prior to the provider being certified to offer the course of study/examination.

Requires course providers to ensure students are informed of all course-related fees or charges. Prohibits a provider from requiring mandatory purchase of the provider’s proprietary software or shareware unless the associated fee was expressly included in the disclosure of all fees, made before the student enrolls in the course. Addresses requirements relating to course fee refunds, installation of free or trial versions of proprietary provider software, the scope of agreement between a provider and a student, a statement regarding dispute resolution, and refunds. Specifies when a provider is obliged to refund all monies paid by a student.

Requires a provider to offer an approved online course from a single domain. Provides circumstances allowing for redirecting of students to another website before the student begins the registration process, supplies any information or pays for the course.

Requires each provider’s website to display its certification number given by the Secretary of State; a statement indicating that complaints about the provider may be directed to the Secretary’s Index Department; and contact information for the Index Department.


Provider Specifics
Establishes extensive regulatory requirements, prohibitions and consequences for the persons and entities either applying to be a provider of the notary public course of study and examination, or that are approved providers. Allows prospective course providers to omit from their course, if desired, training that includes electronic notarization; such omission is subject to conditions specified in the rule.

Establishes that any provider of a course of study and examination for Illinois notary/electronic notary applicants must hold a certification issued by the Secretary of State. Prohibits a provider from continuing to operate if its certification is suspended, revoked, canceled or not renewed. Makes every officer, owner, director, partner, and manager for a provider subject to the requirements specified in Subpart C of these administrative rules. Requires a provider to notify the Secretary of State’s Indexing Department of any intent to subcontract any portion of the course of study or examination, before entering into the subcontracting agreement.

Prohibits a provider from adopting, using or conducting any business under a name that is not distinguishable in the Department’s records from a name used by another provider (“distinguishable” is defined in 14 Ill. Adm. Code 150.440).


Also prohibits providers from incorporating under its own or another name unless the Secretary’s Department of Business Services has made a final determination of the name’s availability. Prohibits a provider’s name from containing, separate and apart rom any other word or abbreviation in the name, the words “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” or “limited,” or an abbreviation of these words, unless so licensed by the Secretary of State. Prohibits providers from operating under an assumed name unless the provider complies with all provisions of Illinois’ Assumed Business Name Act (805 ILCS 405].

Prohibits a provider from changing its name unless 30 days’ prior written notice is given to the Department.

Specifies requirements for location of provider servers, and use of third-party payment processing merchants. Charges providers with taking all necessary measures to prevent unauthorized access to consumer information in printed or electronic form. Requires providers to immediately report security breaches or unauthorized access to the Department.


Provides conditions under which the Secretary will take action against an applicant/provider’s certification, including when the Secretary determines the applicant/provider is not of good moral character; has engaged in certain bad behaviors when interacting with students; has been indicted or charged with a felony or misdemeanor; or fails to file and maintain a continuous, $50,000 surety bond to protect the contractual rights of students.

Specifies that the required $50,000 bond must be underwritten by a company authorized to do business in Illinois. Limits the aggregate liability of the surety to $50,000. Allows the surety on any bond to cancel the bond upon giving 30 days’ notice in writing to the Secretary of State. Relieves such sureties from liability for breach of any bond conditions occurring after the bond cancellation’s effective date. Requires these bonds to be in substantially the same form as provided in Illustration B of these administrative rules.

Establishes requirements relating to provider names. Requires courses of study, and the examination, to meet the requirements of Section 176.225 (of these rules).


Provides additional conditions that may prompt the Secretary’s action against an applicant/provider, including inadequate procedures for verifying student identities; failing to ensure students complete their course; and failure to adhere to various other important, functional obligations (consult rules for details).

Establishes requirements relating to a course/examination provider’s website and security. Requires a provider’s offering of an approved online course to be made from a single domain. Prohibits providers from selling or disclosing any consumer information provided by students (excepting necessary information shared with a provider of dynamic knowledge-based identity verification). Requires a statement, posted on the provider’s website in a conspicuous location, that the sale or disclosure of student consumer information is prohibited. Requires providers to conspicuously display a disclosure of the (necessary) sharing of student information for the purpose of dynamic knowledge-based authentication identity verification.


Prohibits providers from requesting the Social Security numbers of students; provides an exception related to a third-party process of verifying a student’s identity.

Requires any person or entity providing courses of study or examinations to respond in writing within 10 business days of receiving a written request from the Secretary of State for any information related to a complaint about a course of study or examination. Requires approved providers to allow the Secretary of State or the Secretary’s designee to attend any approved course of instruction—in-person or online—without prior notice and at no charge
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Complaints About Providers; Hearings
Provides the address of the Secretary of State where any person may file a complaint against any provider the person believes violated Illinois’ applicable notary public law or administrative rules. Addresses matters relating to hearings regarding the certification of a provider applicant or existing provider.

Notary Public Remittance Agent
Definitions. Defines “applicant,” “Department,” “financially sound,” “fraudulent activity,” “good business integrity,” “immediately family,” “licensee,” “remittance agent,” “revocation,” “Secretary,” “suspension,” and “transaction.”

Applying for Remittance Agent Status, and Requirements. Requires persons wishing to become a remittance agent* to file a notarized application and a bond with the Office of the Secretary of State, in accordance with these administrative rules.

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*See full definition. A remittance agent is any person who engages in accepting notary public applications and fees for submission to the Secretary of State, whether the person renders any other service or is engaged in any other endeavor. “Remittance agent” also includes any person engaged in or who engages in accepting money for consulting or advising the public on matters concerning applications for Illinois notarial commissions. The term does not include any licensed attorney providing advice to clients or the general public.

Prescribes the information that shall be included in the remittance agent application. Establishes that only the Department’s application form will be accepted for a license to operate as a remittance agent.

Prohibits a licensed remittance agent from doing business at a location not identified in the license. Requires a licensed remittance agent to maintain a physical location in Illinois or name an agent for service of process that has a physical location in Illinois.

Prohibits any remittance agent from employing any individual, or any member of that individual’s immediate family, who is employed by the Office of the Secretary of State.


Requires a remittance agent to post a surety bond for each location where the remittance agent intends to do business. Requires the surety bond to be the higher of $5,000 or the amount of cash, checks, electronic payments or money orders received by and made payable to the remittance agent for remittance to the Department during the highest 15-day period in the year preceding the year in which the licensed is applied. Requires the remittance agent bond to be issued by a bonding company or insurance company authorized to do business in Illinois.

Requires a remittance agent wishing to renew the agent’s license to submit the required material to the Secretary of State’s Index Department between September 1 and December 31 of the year before the new license will become effective. Provides an address for the Office of the Secretary of State, where all remittance agent license applications and corresponding materials must be submitted.


Provides circumstances under which the Department will deny an application for a remittance agent license. Explains what persons whose application is denied shall expect. States that a remittance agent’s license will not be renewed if investigation reveals that the remittance agent is not financially sound and of good business integrity, or is otherwise ineligible for a license subject to 5 ILCS 312/2-107. Provides that the Department may audit the remittance agent at any time during the agent’s license term, and that any further investigations will be conducted by the Secretary of the State Department of Police.

Remittance Agent Complaints and Sanctions. Establishes that the Department will consider written complaints regarding remittance agents, and that complaints must be investigated by the Secretary of State police. States that the remittance agent’s current license will be suspended or revoked, as provided in (rule) Section 176.430, if investigation reveals that a basis for denial exists under any section of the Illinois Notary Public Act or these administrative rules.

Provides the circumstances under which a remittance agent’s license will be suspended. Provides the term of such suspension, during which an audit shall be conducted to determine compliance with Illinois’ notary law. Provides for lifting of the suspension if the remittance agent comes into compliance, and for revocation of the remittance agent’s privileges if the remittance agent does not come into compliance.

Provides the circumstances under which a remittance agent’s license will be revoked. States that the Department will consider written complaints in determining whether a remittance agent’s license shall be suspended or revoked. Provides that upon receipt of a complaint, the Secretary of State Department of Police will investigate to determine if a basis exists for a remittance agent’s suspension or revocation. Provides the procedures for a remittance agent’s license revocation, which shall be for no less than two years. Gives a remittance agent 10 business days from the date of the notice of revocation before the revocation becomes effective. Bars a licensee from applying for reinstatement until after the two-year revocation period. Requires an administrative hearing for reinstatement following a license revocation, and provides that no revoked license will be restored until the Secretary is satisfied that the licensee will comply with provisions of the Illinois Notary Public Act, is financially sound, and of good business integrity.

Remittance Agents’ Submission of Applications. Requires that remittance agents electronically submit to the Department all applications for notary public or electronic notary public commissions, or submit them by regular mail. Requires transactions to be submitted to the Department within 30 days after receipt by the remittance agent. Clarifies that transactions sent by regular will be considered submitted to the Department on the postmark date. Warns that, depending on the severity of the violation, failure to comply with these submission requirements will be grounds for suspension or revocation.

Requires all applications to include the remittance agent’s assigned number, in the designated position on the form. Requires application fees submitted by a remittance agent to be done in a manner that associates the payment with a specific application, and establishes that failure to meet this requirement will result in rejection of the transaction.


Remittance Agent Recordkeeping. Requires a licensed remittance agent to maintain a record of each transaction (applications processed/submitted by the remittance agent) for three years. Specifies the information that must be contained in such records. Requires records to be kept in ledger form or be computerized. Requires all records to be available to Secretary of State employees or the Secretary’s Department of Police within 60 minutes, Monday through Friday during business hours, after a request. Clarifies that the Secretary’s Department of Police will make records requests only between 11:00 am and 4:00pm Central Time.

Provides a severability clause relative to certain remittance agent provisions or application of them to any person or circumstance, should they later be rendered unconstitutional.


Notary’s Use of Official Seal and Electronic Seal
Specifies that only upon presentation by the notary public or electronic notary public of the commission certificate is a vendor authorized to provide the notary with an official seal described in rule Section 176.520 or an electronic notary with an electronic seal as described in Sections 176.520 and 176.810. Requires a notary’s official seal used in the performance of a notarial act to be affixed using a rubber stamp. Requires an electronic notary to use the electronic notary’s electronic seal to perform an electronic notarial act.

Specifies that a notary public or electronic notary public may purchase an official seal or electronic seal only after receiving a commission certificate from the Department as described in rule Section 176.550(a) and providing a copy of the commission certificate to the notary public’s or electronic notary public’s chosen seal vendor.


Provides that the official seal of a notary public, and the electronic seal of an electronic notary public, is the exclusive property of the notary public or electronic notary public

Requires a notary public to place a legible imprint of the notary’s official seal on a notarial certificate for a tangible record at the time of the performance of the notarial act. Requires an electronic notary to attach or logically associate the electronic notary’s electronic seal with an electronic notarial certificate on an electronic record.

Prohibits a notary public or electronic notary public from affixing their official seal (or in the case of the electronic notary, attaching or logically associating the electronic seal) over any signature in a record presented for notarization or over any writing in a notarial certificate.

Specifies that a notary public may not use the notary’s official seal, and an electronic notary public may not use the electronic notary’s electronic seal, for any purpose other than to perform the notarial act. Clarifies that a notary performing a notarial act involving a tangible record may use the notary’s official seal to associate a notarial certificate that is on a separate piece of paper with the tangible record, by making one additional imprint of the notary’s official seal that is partially stamped together on the notarial certificate and on the signature page or attachment to the notarial record.

Prohibits any other person from using the notary public’s official seal or an electronic notary’s electronic seal, for any purpose. Prohibits a notary public or an electronic notary public from using any other notary’s official seal or official electronic seal, or any other object, in place of the notary public’s official seal or official electronic seal to perform a notarial act.


Provides that a notary public’s official seal, and the electronic seal of an electronic notary public, is the exclusive property of the notary public or electronic notary public and may not be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment, regardless of whether the employer paid for the official or electronic seal, the notary’s bond, or the notary’s appointment fees.

Prescribes the requirements for the information contained in, and the appearance of, an official seal of a notary public (as used when notarizing a tangible record). Requires that the electronic seal of an electronic notary on an electronic record must look identical to a traditional notary public seal and be accompanied by the electronic signature of the electronic notary. Requires the notary’s electronic seal on an electronic record to be accompanied by language explicitly stating that the electronic notarial act was performed using audio-video communication, if applicable.


Clarifies that a notary may continue to use, through the expiration of the notary’s current commission, any seal that the notary has been using (“in effect”) before July 1, 2023.

Establishes that if a notary’s official seal appears illegible on a document, the notary may reapply a second, or subsequent, official seal to the document. Clarifies that application of a second or subsequent seal must not make any other portion of the document unreadable.

Requires a notary public who loses their physical official seal to notify the Department in writing the next business day after discovering the seal is lost or stolen. Requires an electronic notary public who discovers their electronic official seal is lost or stolen to notify the Department the next business day under 5 ILCS 312/3-101(d)(2).


Requires a notary’s replacement official seal or electronic seal to contain a distinct difference from the original seal. Requires that if the lost or stolen physical official or electronic seal is found or recovered after a replacement has been obtained, the original seal must be destroyed.

Notarial Certificates
Establishes that for a notarial certificate to be sufficient, it must contain information that is required under 5 ILCS 312/6-103.

Allows a notarial certificate to contain additional or other information as may be required to satisfy any legal requirements, ethical or legal concerns, or the business needs of the parties to the transaction.

Requires a notarial certificate on a tangible record to be permanently and securely attached by means of being stamped, stapled, grommeted, or otherwise permanently bound to the tangible record in a tamper-evident manner. Prohibits the use of tape, paper clips or binder clips as a means of attachment.


Requires a notary’s signature on a tangible (paper) notarial certificate to be legible, handwritten and attributable to the notary public performing the notarial act by anyone examining or authenticating the signature. Requires that if the notary’s signature is not legible and recognizable, the notary must legibly print the notary’s name immediately adjacent to the signature. Clarifies that a signature is legible and recognizable if the letters are distinct and easily readable, and the notary’s full name may be clearly discerned by looking at the signature.

Special Notarization Procedures
Persons physically unable to sign documents. Provides that an individual physically unable to sign a document, and who directs a person other than the notary public to sign the person’s name on the document, must appear before the notary at the time the document is signed. The person directed to sign the document for the physically unable signer must also appear before the notary at the time the document is signed. The physically unable document signer and the person directed to sign the document must be identified by the notary at the time the document is signed, pursuant to Illinois law (5 ILCS 312/6-102(d), 6-102.5(a), or 6A-103(b), as applicable).

Requires a notary public who performs a notarial act for a person who cannot physically sign to type, print, or stamp the following statement, or a substantially similar statement, near the signature: “Signature affixed by (name of individual) at the direction of (name of person physically unable to sign) in accordance with 14 Ill. Adm. Code 176.610.”


Notary Public and Electronic Notary Public Fees
Provides that a notary public or electronic notary public may charge the fees prescribed in 5 ILCS 312/3-104. Clarifies that neither a notary public nor electronic notary public is required to charge a fee. Emphasizes that neither a notary public nor an electronic notary public shall charge more than the maximum fee allowed by law.

Requires a notary public or electronic notary public to inform the requestor of the notary’s services of the fee, if any, that will be charged. Requires a notary public or electronic notary public who advertises services in a language other than English or performs services described in 5 ILCS 312/3-103 to post a schedule of the statutorily-prescribed fees in a conspicuous location at all times, as required by 5 ILCS 312/3-103(b).

Notary Public Records - Journal
General Provisions. Requires every notary public, whether or not also an electronic notary public, to record each notarial act in a journal at the time of notarization to comply with the Illinois Notary Public Act and these rules.


Requires each journal of a notary public, whether maintained on a tangible medium or in an electronic format, to contain all of the following information in any order:
the name of the notary public as it appears on the commission;
the notary public’s commission number;
the notary public’s commission expiration date;
the notary public’s office address of record with the Secretary of State;
a statement that, upon the death or adjudication of incompetency of the notary public, the notary public's personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of the journal must deliver or mail it to the Secretary of State;
the meaning of any abbreviated word or symbol used in recording a notarial act in the notarial journal; and
the signature of the notary public.

Specifies that if a notary public’s name, commission expiration date, or address changes before the notary public stops using the notarial journal, the notary public shall add the new information after the old information and the date on which the information changed.


Requires the journal of a notary public (both tangible and electronic formats) to remain within the exclusive control of the notary public at all times.

Allows a notary public who performs multiple notarizations for the same principal within a single transaction to abbreviate the entry of those notarizations in the notary journal after first including all the information required by the Act. Requires the abbreviated entry to indicate the type of transaction and the number of documents notarized as part of that single transaction.

Requires an electronic journal kept by a notary public or an electronic notary public under 5 ILCS 312/3-107 to comply with (the above) requirements and must also:
prohibit the electronic notary public or any other person from deleting a record included in the electronic journal or altering the content or sequence of such a record after the record is entered into the electronic journal except to redact personally identifiable information as required by Section 176.910(d);
be securely backed up by the electronic notary public and the electronic notarization system provider whose electronic notarization system was used by the electronic notary, if applicable; and
omit all personally identifiable information, as defined in Section 176.10.

Requires a notary public to allow for the inspection of the journal or electronic journal as required by Section 176.950 of these rules.

Provides that notwithstanding any other subsection of these rules to the contrary, a notary employed by an attorney or law firm is not required to keep a journal of notarizations performed during the notary’s employment if the attorney or law firm maintains a copy of the documents notarized. Clarifies that no attorney or law firm shall be required to violate attorney-client privilege by allowing or authorizing inspection of any notarizations that are recorded in a notary’s journal. Establishes that journals of notarizations performed solely within the course of a notary’s employment with an attorney or law firm are the property of the employing attorney or firm.


Journal Entries. Requires each entry to contain at least the following information:
the name of the principal;
the name of each credible witness relied upon to verify the identity of the principal;
the name of any other person that signed for the principal;
the title or a description of the document notarized;
the date of the notarization;
whether the notarization was conducted in person, remotely, or electronically;
the fee charged, if any; and
the physical location of the notary and the principal.

Optional Entries. In addition to the entries required under 5 ILCS 312/3-107 of the Act and this Part, a journal may contain the signature of the individual for whom the notarial act is performed and any additional information about a specific transaction that might assist the notary public to recall the transaction.


Prohibited Entries. A notary public must not record in the notary’s journal the following:
an identification number that was assigned by a governmental agency or by the United States to the principal that is set forth on the identification card or passport presented as identification;
any other number that could be used to identify the principal of the document;
a biometric identifier, including a fingerprint, voice print, or retina image of the principal;
an individual’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with and linked to any one or more of the following data elements when the data elements are not encrypted or redacted:
   —a Social Security number;
   —a driver’s license number or a State identification card number; or
   —financial account information; and
   —an electronic signature of the person for whom an electronic notarial act was performed or any witnesses. [5 ILCS 312/3-107]


Inadvertent or Accidental Entries. A notary public who inadvertently records information prohibited under subsection (c) must redact such information before providing public access to or copies of the journal.

Fees Recorded in a Journal. Provides that each notarial fee charged should correspond to the notarial act performed. Requires that if a fee is waived or not charged, the notary public shall indicate so in the journal entry using notarizations such as “n/c”, “0” (zero), or " − " (dash). Clerical and administrative fees, if charged, shall be separately itemized in the journal.

Address. Clarifies that for journal entries, address means the city and state only.


Transitional Provision. Allows a notary public who holds a commission on July 1, 2023, to continue using the notary public’s journal until the completion of that journal or the expiration of that commission, whichever may occur first.

Form and Content of Journals Maintained on a Tangible Medium. Provides that a journal maintained on paper or any other tangible medium may be in any form that meets the physical requirements in this Section and the entry requirements in Section 176.910. Specifies that the cover and pages inside the journal must be bound together by any binding method that is designed to prevent the insertion, removal, or substitution of the cover or a page. Clarifies that this includes glue, staples, grommets, or another binding, but does not include the use of tape, paper clips, or binder clips.

Requires each journal page to be consecutively numbered from the beginning to the end of the journal. Requires that if a journal provides two pages on which to record the required information about the same notarial act, both pages may be numbered with the same number or each page may be numbered with a different number. Specifies that page numbers must be preprinted.

Requires each line of a journal, or each entry if the journal is designed with numbered entry blocks, must be consecutively numbered from the beginning to the end of the page. Requires that if a line extends across two pages, the line must be numbered with the same number on both pages. Requires a journal line or entry number to be preprinted.


Allows a notary public who performs multiple notarizations for the same principal within a single transaction to abbreviate the entry of those notarizations in the notary journal after first including all the information required by the Act. Requires the abbreviated entry to indicate the type of transaction and the number of documents notarized as part of that single transaction.

Requires a journal maintained in a tangible format to be retained for a minimum of 7 years after the final notarial act chronicled in the journal. Clarifies that the retention requirements provided in this rule do not apply to notaries in the course of a notary's employment with a governmental entity.

Form and Content of Journals Maintained in an Electronic Format. Provides that a journal maintained in electronic format may be in any form that complies with this Section and the entry requirements in Section 176.910. Requires a journal maintained in an electronic format to be designed to prevent the insertion, removal, or substitution of an entry.


Requires a journal maintained in an electronic format to be securely stored and recoverable in the case of a hardware or software malfunction. Specifies that entries from the electronic notarial journal must be available upon request by the Secretary of State in a PDF format.

Electronic Journal Record Retention and Depositories. Requires a notary public to retain the electronic journal required and any audio-video recording created under 5 ILCS 312/6A-104 in a computer or other electronic storage device that protects the journal and recording against unauthorized access by password or cryptographic process. Requires the recording to be created in an industry-standard, audio-visual file format that may not include images of any electronic record that was the subject of the electronic or remote notarization.

Requires an electronic journal to be retained for at least 7 years after the last electronic or remote notarial act chronicled in the journal. Requires an audio-visual recording to be retained for at least 7 years after the recording is made.

Requires a notary public to take reasonable steps to ensure that a backup of the electronic journal and audio-visual recording exists and is secure from unauthorized use.

Provides that upon the death or adjudication of incompetency of a current or former notary public, the notary public's personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of an electronic journal or audio-visual recording must:
comply with the retention requirements of this Section;
transmit the journal and recording to one or more depositories under subsection (e); or
transmit the journal and recording in an industry-standard readable data storage device to the Illinois Secretary of State, Index Department at 111 E. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62756.

Allows a notary public, guardian, conservator, or agent of a notary public, or a personal representative of a deceased notary public may, by written contract, engage a third person to act as a depository to provide the storage required by this Section. Establishes that a third person under contract, under this Section, shall be considered a depository. Requires such contract to:
enable the notary public, guardian, conservator, or agent of the notary public, or the personal representative of the deceased notary public to comply with the retention requirements of this Section even if the contract is terminated; or
provide that the information will be transferred to the notary public, guardian, conservator, or agent of the notary public, or the personal representative of the deceased notary public if the contract is terminated.

Clarifies that the retention requirements of this particular rule (176.960) do not apply to notaries in the course of their employment with a government entity.


Custody and Control of the Journal and Notification of a Lost, Compromised, Destroyed, or Stolen Journal. Requires a notary public to maintain custody and control of the journal at all times during the term of the notary public's commission. Requires that when a journal is not in use, the journal must be kept in a secure location and accessible only to the notary public. Clarifies that a secure location includes the notary public's sole possession or a locked location to which only the notary public has access.

Requires that notification of a lost, compromised, destroyed, or stolen journal under 5 ILCS 312/3-107 must be made in writing or electronically the next business day after the date the notary public or personal representative or guardian discovers the loss or theft of the journal. The notification must include all of the following:
a statement of whether the journal is lost, compromised, destroyed, or stolen;
an explanation of how the journal became lost, compromised, destroyed, or stolen;
the date the notary public discovered that the journal was lost, compromised, destroyed, or stolen;
a statement that the journal has been destroyed or that the notary public does not possess the journal and does not know who possesses it or where it is located; and
a statement that, if the notary public subsequently acquires possession of the lost or stolen journal, the notary public shall file a written statement with the Secretary of State within 10 business days after the date the notary public reacquires possession of the lost or stolen journal, including a written explanation of how the journal was recovered.

Inspection of a Journal and Related Matters. Provides that in the notary's presence, any person may inspect an entry in the official journal of notarial acts during the notary's regular business hours, but only if:
the person's identity is personally known to the notary or proven through satisfactory evidence;
the person affixes a signature in the journal in a separate, dated entry;
the person specifies the month, year, type of document, and the name of the principal for the notarial act or acts sought; and
the person is shown only the entry or entries specified.

Provides that if the notary has a reasonable and explainable belief that a person has a criminal or harmful intent in requesting information from the notary's journal, the notary may deny access to any entry or entries.

Requires a notary to comply in the manner specified, upon receipt of a request for inspection or certified copies of a journal made through an investigative request by law enforcement or by the Secretary of State or in a subpoena in the course of criminal or civil litigation, or administrative proceeding.

Specifies that if any portion of the audio-video recording of an electronic or remote notarization includes biometric information or includes an image of the identification card used to identify the principal, that portion of the recording is confidential and shall not be released without consent of the individual whose identity is being established, unless ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction or upon request by the Secretary of State.

Establishes that failure of a notary public to promptly and adequately respond to a request for public information in accordance with this rule may be good cause for suspension or revocation of a notary public or electronic notary public commission or other disciplinary action against the notary.


Remote Notarization Standards
Requires a notary performing a remote notarization to maintain an accurate and reliable record of each remote notarial act performed, pursuant to Section 5 ILCS 312/3-107, Illinois Notary Public Act.

Requires a notary public, before performing a remote notarial act using audio-video communication, to
confirm the identity of the remotely located principal by personal knowledge; oath of a credible witness who personally knows the remotely located principal and who is personally known to the remote notary public*; or remote presentation by the remotely located principal of a government-issued identification credential containing a photograph and the signature of the remotely located principal, and that otherwise confirms to the requirements of 5 ILCS 312/6-102.5(a)(3).
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*Note – “remote notary public” is defined as any notary public that performs a remote notarial act. “Remote notarial act” is defined as a notarial act done by way of audio-video communication technology that allows for direct, contemporaneous interaction between the individual signing the document (the signatory) and the witness by sight and sound but that requires the notary public to use his or her physical stamp and seal to notarize the document without aid of an electronic seal or signature.

Clarifies that if a remote notary public can neither determine that a credential presented by a remotely located principal is a valid identification of the remotely located principal; nor match the physical features of the remotely located principal with the credential presented by the remotely located principal; then the remote notary public must not take any further action to complete a remote notarial act by using that credential to confirm the identity of the remotely located principal.

Specifies that a remote notary public may perform a remote notarial act using audio-video communication only if the remote notary public and the remotely located principal agree to the performance of the remote notarial act using audio-video communication.

Audio Video Communication Technology Standards
Requires communication technology, as defined in 5 ILCS 312/1-104, to provide synchronous audio-video feeds of sufficient video resolution and audio clarity to enable the remote notary public and remotely located principal to see and speak with each other. Requires the process to provide a means for the remote notary public reasonably to confirm that a record presented for a notarial act is the same record in which the remotely located principal made a statement or on which the principal executed a signature.


Requires a notary public performing a remote notarial act using audio-video communication to verify that the communication technology is sufficient to protect the notarial act and the recording of the notarial act, and that—except as may be required to comply with the Illinois Notary Public Act and administrative rule Section 176.710(d)—any personally identifiable information disclosed during performance of the remote notarial act is protected form unauthorized access, including unauthorized access to (a) the live transmission of audio-video feeds; (b) the methods used to perform identity verification; and (c) the recorded audio-video communication that is the subject of the remote notarization.

Requires that if a remotely located principal must exit the remote notarization workflow before completing the identity verification process, the remotely located principal must restart the identity verification process from the beginning.

Requires a remote notary public (performing a remote notarization) to identify a remotely located principal using the means specified in Illinois law (see 5 ILCS 312/6-102.5(a)). Provides that nothing in this part shall prohibit a remote notary public from using enhanced identity verification methods (i.e. dynamic knowledge-based assessments).


Remote Notarial Acts
States that an Illinois notary public may perform a remote notarial act for remotely located principals under 5 ILCS 312/6-102.5.*
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*Note – this law authorizes any commissioned Illinois notary public to perform any notarial act described under 5 ILCS 312/6-102 remotely, after first determining—either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence—that the signature on the record is that of the person appearing before the notary and named in the record. This statute authorizes and describes remote notarization of a tangible record, only—not an electronic record. The rule refers to notaries who notarize in this manner as “remote notaries public.”

Provides that a remotely located principal may personally appear before a remote notary public through use of audio-video technology.

Provides that a remote notary public has satisfactory evidence of a remotely located principal’s identity if the remote notary public has personal knowledge of the remotely located principal's identity, or if the remote notary public has satisfactory evidence of the remotely located principal's identity by means of an oath or affirmation of a credible witness.

Clarifies that a remote notary public’s personal knowledge of a remotely located individual’s identity means that the person is personally known to the remote notary public through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the remotely located principal has the identity claimed.

Provides that the identity verification performed by a remote notary public in order to identify a remotely located principal requires remote presentation by the remotely located principal of a government-issued identification credential that contains a photograph and signature of the remotely located principal, and that otherwise conforms to the requirements of 5 ILCS 312/6-102.5(a)(3) (specifying the attributes of acceptable identification documents).


Specifies that to be a credible witness pursuant to the Act, the credible witness must have personal knowledge of the remotely located principal who made a statement in or executed a signature on the record that is the subject of the remote notarial act.

Establishes that to be a credible witness for purposes of identifying a remotely located principal, the witness must have personal knowledge of the remotely located principal. Requires the remote notary to have personal knowledge of the credible witness or to verify the identity of the credible witness. Allows a credible witness to be remotely located if the remote notary public, credible witness, and remotely located principal can communicate (simultaneously, in real-time) by using audio-video technology.

Requires the performance of a remote notarial act to be recorded pursuant to the rules’ standards for audio video communication technology.


Requires the recording of a remote notarial act to be made available to upon request, or pursuant, to:
the remotely located principal for whom the remote notarial act was performed;
the Secretary of State;
a law enforcement or federal, state, or local governmental agency in the course of an enforcement action or the performance of any lawful duty;
a court order or subpoena;
the remote notary public who performed the remote notarial act;
the employer of the remote notary public to ensure compliance with (these rules) or the Illinois Notary Public Act;
any other person authorized by the remotely located principal to obtain the recording of the remote notarial act.

Specifies when a remote notarial act must be restarted by a remote (electronic) notary public, which is any time during performance of the remote notarial act that the remotely located principal or the remote notary public exits the session; the audio-video communication link is broken; or the remote notary believes that the process of completing the remote notarial act ha been compromised and cannot be completed for any reason, including poor resolution or quality of the audio or video transmission, or both. Clarifies that “session,” as used in this section of the rule, means the performance of one or more remote notarial acts using audio-video communication on a single set of documents as a single event by a single remote notary public with one or more remotely located principals and any applicable witnesses.

Establishes that a notarial certificate for a remote notarization complies with Sections 6-103 and 6-105 of the Illinois Notary Public Act if it is in the form provided by applicable law and contains a statement substantially like: “This remote notarization involved the use of audio-video technology.”


Provides that a short form of acknowledgement prescribed in 5 ILCS 312/6-105—or other form of notarial certificate required by law—complies with 5 ILCS 312/6-103 if it substantially follows one of the certificate forms provided in the administrative rule’s Section 176.730 (b). These certificate forms require the notary to clearly indicate in the certificate, when applicable, that the notarial act was performed using “audio-video technology.”

Electronic Notarial Acts
General Provisions. Establishes that a person may not perform an electronic notarial act* unless the Secretary of State has approved the electronic notary public commission of a person under 5 ILCS 312/2-102 and that person’s traditional notary public commission is in effect. Provides that the Secretary may suspend or revoke a notary public’s commission if the notary performs or offers to perform an electronic notarial act without an electronic notary public commission approved by the Secretary of State and required by Rule 176.980(b).
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*Note: “electronic notarization” refers to a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual by means of communication technology, and involving an electronic record.

Defines key terms: “electronic notarization system” or “system”; “electronic notarization system provider” or “provider.”

Establishes that an electronic notarial act (involving a remotely located principal and audio-video communication technology) will have the same force and effect as a notarial act performed in the physical presence of a notary public.

Requires that, for an electronic notary public to perform an electronic notarial act using audio-video communication technology, the electronic notary public and the principal must agree that the notarization will be performed in this manner, at the outset of the electronic notarization and before the principal’s identity has been confirmed.


Requires an electronic notary public, before performing an electronic notarial act using audio-video communication, to confirm that the electronic document that is the subject of the electronic notarial act is the same document on which the principal made a statement or executed a signature; and to confirm the identity of the principal. Specifies these methods for confirming the remotely located principal’s identity: personal knowledge; oath of a credible witness; or (all of) remote presentation, credential analysis that complies with the Illinois Notary Public Act, credential analysis that compiles with the Illinois Notary Public Act; and dynamic knowledge-based authentication or identity proofing that complies with the Illinois Notary Public Act.

Prohibits an electronic notary public from taking any further action to complete an electronic notarial act using a credential presented by a principal, if the electronic notary public cannot determine that the credential is a valid identification of the principal or cannot match the physical features of the principal with the credential presented.


Provides the circumstances requiring an electronic notary public performing an electronic notarial act to restart the electronic notarization process , from the beginning and including without limitation confirming the principal’s identity: the principal or electronic notary public exits the session; the audio-video communication link is broken; or the electronic notary public believes that the process of completing the electronic notarization has been compromised and cannot be completed because of the resolution or quality of the audio or video transmission, or both.

Electronic Notarization System Providers. Prohibits a person or entity from providing an electronic notarization system under 5 ILCS 312/6A-101 unless certified as a provider by the Secretary of State. Requires all certified providers to annually apply for recertification, on a calendar-year basis. Provides a date not later than September 1 each year that recertification applications are due in the Secretary’s office. Establishes that only systems that have been certified for use in Illinois pursuant to these rules may be used by Illinois electronic notaries.

Provides that certification of an electronic notarization system will be based on whether the system complies with any nationally recognized standards and these rules. Specifies that the Secretary of State will notify, in writing, a system provider applicant seeking certification or recertification if the applicant’s original or amended application is denied. Provides before denying an original or amended system provider application due to minor typographical errors, the Secretary will advise the applicant of the error and give the applicant 10 business days to correct the error.

Prohibits an applicant for system provider approval from reapplying before 12 months after the date the Secretary of State denies the system provider’s application for approval, or the date of the Secretary’s final order upholding the denial if the Secretary’s decision is reviewed in a formal administrative hearing.

Establishes that in deciding whether to grant or deny a system provider application, the Secretary of State will take into consideration the applicant’s past performance in Illinois and other jurisdictions, whether the applicant’s license or certification has ever been suspended, revoked, denied, canceled or withdrawn, and whether another state has denied the system provider applicant’s application to operate as a provider in that state.

Allows a system provider applicant that has been certified in Illinois to, at any time, submit an amended application for approval of additional systems besides the system(s) previously certified.


Requires that if there is any change after a system provider’s certification affecting the ability of an electronic notary public to comply with these rules when performing an electronic notarial act, the system provider must immediately notify the Secretary of State of the change. The Secretary must then determine whether the system provider is still compliant with these rules and if it is not, the system provider must not allow use of the system to perform an electronic notarial act in Illinois.

Establishes that the Secretary of State may suspend or decertify a system provider from providing electronic notarization systems in Illinois. Requires the Secretary to provide a written warning and, allow 30 days for a system provider to come into compliance, when a system provider commits any violation that may lead to suspension or decertification. Requires the system provider to respond in writing to the Secretary regarding corrective action the system provider will take. Provides that the Secretary may decertify a system provider, or suspend the system provider from allowing any new enrollments for three months, based on circumstances detailed in these rules. Lists actions of a system provider that warrant decertification or suspension.

Establishes that the Secretary of State will notify all affected electronic notaries, in writing, of a decision not to recertify or to decertify a system provider, or when a system provider ceases to operate. Requires such notifications to be sent no less than 30 days after the decision. Provides that notification will not be sent until the entry of a final order of a hearing officer in cases when the service provider requests and receives a formal administrative hearing.

Provides system providers who were denied certification by the Secretary of State a process for an administrative hearing, and provides key events in such a process.

Clarifies that nothing in these rules is intended to prohibit a governmental entity from developing an internal electronic notarization system that complies with the requirements for provider certification.


Permits certified providers to provide electronic notarization services through their own resources, through a subsidiary, or through contractual relationships with third parties. Charges all certified providers, without regard to the specific business operations of the provider, to be responsible for ensuring that all of the duties and responsibilities of the system provider are carried out in accordance with these administrative rules.

Makes the Secretary of State solely responsible for certifying system providers that apply for certification with the Secretary. Clarifies that persons or entities desiring to be certified as system providers may apply for certification at any time. Requires an application for certification or recertification as a system provider to include:

the legal name of the provider;
the type of business organization of the provider;
the mailing address, physical address, email address, and website address of the provider;
the name and phone number of a contact person for the provider;
if the applicant is a business entity, proof that the applicant is in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State, Business Services Department;
an attestation that the vendor shall comply with the Illinois Notary Public Act and this rule regarding retention and storage and the disposition of documents, the electronic journal, and audio-video recordings if the provider no longer makes its system available to electronic notaries public for any reason;
copies of publicly available policy and procedure manuals and training materials that are used for training or usage in Illinois.
proof of liability insurance; a requirement that the provider maintain general commercial liability or product liability insurance with minimum liability limits of $1 million per occurrence and $3 million aggregate total. (The Secretary will accept other commercially acceptable arrangements, in the same minimum amounts, if the Secretary determines that they provide an equivalent level of coverage;
a declaration that the system complies with the laws of the State of Illinois governing electronic notarial acts.

Provides detailed rules regarding various system provider matters, including issues related to a system provider’s application and the Secretary’s review of it; a system provider’s amended application relative to additional systems to be approved; changes to a provider’s certification affecting an electronic notary’s ability to comply with the Secretary’s administrative rules and possible action by the Secretary; specified services and requirements that system providers must meet; responses to inquiries from the Secretary; required notifications to the Secretary; actions surrounding alleged non-compliance of a system provider.


Requires a system provider to provide a course of training and written instructions for electronic notaries on the operation, maintenance, and safeguards against improper operations for use of the provider’s system. Further requires instruction for an electronic notary on a system provider’s journaling capability, if applicable. Requires the system provider to give the Secretary of State copies of all materials used in the course of such training, and materials made available to Illinois electronic notaries.

Requires a system provider, upon request of the Secretary of State, to provide the Secretary at no-cost, an online demonstration allowing the Secretary to ask any relevant questions. Also requires the system provider to provide the Secretary a publicly available, detailed description of the system, including the complete instructions for operation that the system provides to notaries public.

Requires system providers to maintain records related to enrolled electronic notaries for seven (7) years after an electronic notary disenrolls from the system.

Requirements, Certified Electronic Notarization System Providers. Requires that after certification or recertification by the Secretary of State, service providers shall provide specific services and meet all related requirements.

Provides requirements that must be met for any solicitation sent by a system provider to a potential user. Prohibits such solicitation or any correspondence from a system provider to be attached to or have the appearance of any official correspondence sent by the Secretary of State. Prohibits such correspondence from stating or otherwise indicating that the provider is the sole or only provider in Illinois. Prohibits a system provider from using any personal information provided by a notary to solicit the notary for any service or product other than the provider’s certified electronic notarization system.

Provides that a list of certified electronic notarization system providers will be published on the website of the Illinois Secretary of State, and clarifies that such list will be in no particular order.

Electronic Notary’s Electronic Seal, Electronic Signature. Requires an electronic notary’s electronic seal to have the information required to be included on an official seal under Rule 176.520 and 5 ILCS 312/3-101(a). Also requires the electronic seal to generally conform to the size and other requirements given in Rule 176.520 and 5 ILCS 312/3-101(a) and (b-5).


Requires an electronic notary’s electronic seal and electronic signature to be capable of independent verification, and the electronic document rendered tamper-evident, after the electronic notary’s electronic seal and electronic signature are affixed to, attached to, or logically associated with an electronic notarial certificate of an electronic record.

Requires an electronic notary public performing an electronic notarial act using audio-video communication to include, adjacent to the electronic seal or in the electronic notarial certificate, a notation indicating that the electronic notarial act was performed using audio-video communication. Requires such notation or statement to be substantially as follows: “Notarial act performed by audio-video communication.”


Prohibits an electronic notary’s employer and any of the employer’s employees or agents from using or permitting the use of an electronic notary seal or signature by anyone other than the authorized notary public to whom it is registered. Requires access to electronic notary signatures and electronic notary seals to be protected using biometric authentication, password authentication, token authentication, or other form of authentication approved by the Secretary according to the Act and these rules.

Requires an electronic notary public to report to the Secretary, in writing, the theft or vandalism of the notary’s electronic signature, electronic notary seal, electronic record or journal including the backup record, backup journal and audio-video recording, within the next business day after discovering the theft or vandalism. Establishes that failure to report such theft or vandalism is grounds for revocation of an electronic notary public’s commission.

Notary’s Digital Certificate. Requires an electronic notary public to, at all times, maintain an electronic seal and at least one digital certificate that includes the electronic notary’s electronic signature. Specifies that both the electronic seal and digital certificate must comply with the Act and these rules.


Requires a digital certificate used by an electronic notary to conform to the X.509 standard to ensure that the document has been rendered tamper-evident.

Allows an electronic notary to use more than one digital certificate in accordance with these rules. Requires an electronic notary to replace an electronic seal or digital certificate under certain specifies circumstances. Requires an electronic notary who replaces an electronic seal or digital certificate to provide specified information to the Secretary of State within 10 days after the replacement.

Electronic Notary’s Notarial Certificate. Establishes that a notarial certificate for an electronic notarization complies with the Illinois Notary Public Act (5 ILCS 312/6A-105) if it is in the form provided by applicable law, and contains a statement substantially worded: “This electronic notarization involved the use of an electronic system provider.” Provides that short form of acknowledgement prescribed in the Illinois Notary Public Act or other form of notarial certificate required by law complies with the Act if it is in substantially the same form as the notarial certificates provided in this Rule. Provides the notarial certificate formats (wording) for an acknowledgment in an individual capacity; an acknowledgment in a representative capacity; a verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature.


Standards for Electronic Notarization Communication Technology. Requires communication technology to provide synchronous audio-video feeds of sufficient video resolution and audio clarity to enable the electronic notary public and the individual to see and speak with each other in real time. Requires that the process enable the electronic notary reasonably to confirm that an electronic record before the electronic notary public is the same record in which the individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature.

Further requires communication technology to provide reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to: the live transmission of the audio-video feeds; the methods used to perform identity verification; the electronic record that is the subject of the electronic notarization; and any electronic notary public’s journal or audio-video recordings maintained or stored as a function of the communication technology.

Requires that if an individual must exit an electronic notarization’s workflow before completing the identity verification process, the individual must restart the identity verification process from the beginning.


Electronic Notary Public Duties. Requires an electronic notary public to take reasonable steps to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of each electronic notarial act performed by the electronic notary public; maintain a secure backup of the electronic journal; ensure that any audio-video communication while performing an electronic notarial act, and any journal records and audio-video recording stored as a function of the communication technology, are secure from unauthorized access or interception.

Standards for Identity Verification. Requires an electronic notary public who does not have satisfactory evidence of a remotely located principal’s identity under 5 ILCS 312/6A-103(b)(1) to reasonably verify the principal’s identity through a multi-factor authentication procedure as provided in these Rules. Provides the requirements for such authentication procedure. Requires credential analysis and identity proofing to be performed by a reputable third party who has provided evidence to the electronic notary of the party’s ability to comply with these requirements.

Requires credential analysis to use public or private data sources to confirm the validity of the identification credential presented electronically by a principal. Sets minimum performance requirements for credential analysis.


Requires dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment (“DKBA”) to be used for identity proofing of a remotely located individual. Establishes the performance particulars of a dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment. Allows a principal who fails the first DKBA one additional attempt to pass the DKBA within 24 hours. Requires a different set of questions for subsequent DKBA attempts. Prohibits a principal failing the second DKBA attempt from retrying with the same electronic notary within 24 hours of the second failed attempt. Specifies that the electronic notary shall not be able to see or record the DKBA questions or answers. Establishes that an electronic notary public has satisfactory evidence of a principal’s identity if the electronic notary has personal knowledge of the principal’s identity; or the requirements of 5 ILCS 312/6A-103(b)(2) are satisfied.

Records of Electronic Notarial Acts. Requires an electronic notary public to maintain an accurate and reliable journal record of each electronic notarial act the notary performs. Requires such records to be maintained for at least 7 years and to be made available to the Secretary upon request.


Charges both the electronic notary and the provider whose system is used to perform an electronic notarial act with ensuring that the required recording of the electronic notarial act, and any personally identifiable information disclosed during the electronic notarial act, are protected from unauthorized access. Allows an electronic notary public to use a system provider to store the notary’s electronic journal and recordings of electronic notarial acts, if the system provider has registered with the Secretary of State and the system provider’s certification is in effect.

Clarifies that a system provider storing an electronic journal of an electronic notary public, and recordings of the notary’s electronic notarial acts, must allow the electronic notary public sole control of the electronic journal and the recording. Clarifies that the system provider may allow access to an electronic notary’s electronic journal, or a recording, if the electronic notary public has authorized such access or, the access to the electronic journal or recording is authorized by the Act or these rules.


Specifies those individuals to whom recordings of electronic notarizations for remotely located individuals may be made available, including the principal for whom the electronic notarial act was performed, the Secretary of State, to law enforcement or governmental agencies with respect an enforcement action; in response to a court order or subpoena; to the electronic notary public who performed the notarial act; and to any other person authorized by the parties to the electronic notarial act to obtain the recording.

Provides that the employer of an electronic notary public, the provider whose system was used to perform an electronic notarial act, or both may access the recording of an electronic notarial act for any authorized purpose and to ensure compliance with the Illinois Notary Public Act and these rules.


Specifies that journal maintained in electronic format may be in any form that complies with this Section and the entry requirements in Section 176.910. Requires a journal maintained in an electronic format to be designed to prevent the insertion, removal, or substitution of an entry.

Requires a journal maintained in an electronic format to be securely stored and recoverable in the case of a hardware or software malfunction. Requires a notary public’s electronic journal to remain within the exclusive control of the notary public at all times.

Requires entries from the electronic notarial journal to be available upon request by the Secretary of State in a PDF format.

f) A notary public who performs multiple notarizations for the same principal within a single transaction may abbreviate the entry of those notarizations in the notary journal after first including all of the information required by the Act. The abbreviated entry must indicate the type of transaction and the number of documents notarized as part of that single transaction.

Electronic Notarization – Prohibited Acts. Prohibits an electronic notary public from:
Engaging in any fraudulent activity, deceptive practice, or inequitable act in connection with the Act.
Engaging in any activity prohibited by 5 ILCS 312/6-104.
Failing to record an electronic notarial act performed using audio-video communication or fail to keep such a recording as required by 5 ILCS 312/6A-104.
Using an electronic seal or digital certificate that is invalid or fails to comply with this Subpart or Article VI-A of the Act during the performance of an electronic notarial act.
Failing to notify the Secretary of State of a change in the electronic seal or digital certificate.
Using one’s own electronic seal, alone or together with the electronic signature, except in the performance of an electronic notarial act.
Allowing unauthorized access to the electronic journal kept by the electronic notary public under 5 ILCS 312/3-107, the electronic notary public's electronic signature or the digital certificate, or to the electronic notarization solution used by the electronic notary public to perform an electronic notarial act.
Violating any other provision of this Subpart I or Article VI-A of the Act relating to the performance of an electronic notarial act.

Provides that the penalties, prohibitions, liabilities, sanctions, and remedies for improper performance of an electronic notarial act are the same as provided by law for the improper performance of a notarial act this is not an electronic notarial act.

Alleged Notary Violations; Procedural Requirements
(For purposes of this Section, “notary public” includes an electronic notary public and remote notary public.)

Provides that a person may file a complaint in writing with the Secretary of State alleging that a notary public has violated one or more of the provisions of the Act or any provision of this Part. Directs that the complaint should include as much information as possible, including:
the name of the notary public, and the employer or business name of the notary;
if known, the name of the county in which the notary resides;
if known and assigned, the notary public commission number assigned to the notary;
an explanation of the reason for the complaint;
a copy of relevant documents related to the matter;
whether the notarial act was an electronic or remote notarial act performed using audio-video communication; and
additional information that the person considers relevant to the complaint or notarization.

Provides that the complaint may be filed in person or by mail to the Illinois Secretary of State, Index Department at 111 E. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62756, or by electronic mail (enotary@ilsos.gov).

Establishes that upon receipt of the complaint, the Secretary will notify the notary who is the subject of the complaint in writing. The notice shall be sent by regular mail to the address of the notary on file with the Secretary of State. Specifies what the notice sent to the notary public who is the subject of the complaint will include.


Provides that if, after receiving the response from the notary, the Secretary of State determines that further action is not warranted, the Secretary will notify the notary public of that decision. Further provides that either after receiving the response from the notary or if no response is received, the Secretary of State may further investigate the complaint of alleged misconduct against the notary public by considering the totality of the offense, facts, and circumstances of the individual case.

Explains that when evaluating an allegation of notarial misconduct to determine if action should be taken, the Secretary may consider a variety of factors and lists certain factors. Clarifies that the factors that may be considered include but are not limited to those in this list.

Provides that if the Secretary determines a crime may have been committed, the Secretary will refer the allegations to law enforcement for further investigation or prosecution.


Revocation, Suspension and Reprimand
Establishes that for purposes of this rule section, “notary public” includes an electronic notary public and remote notary public.

Provides that a notary public’s commission may be revoked for any of the foregoing acts or omissions:
The notary public demonstrates the notary public lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public; or
The notary public fails to maintain a residence or place of employment in Illinois.

Provides that a notary public’s commission may be suspended for any actions contrary to the Illinois Notary Public Act, other laws of the State of Illinois, and this Part.

Provides for other remedial actions. States that the Secretary of State may deliver a written official warning to cease misconduct, misfeasance, or malfeasance to any notary public whose actions are determined to violate this Part, the Act, or other laws of the State of Illinois.

Requires that, before suspending or revoking a notary public's commission, the Secretary of State must inform the notary public of the basis for the suspension or revocation and that the suspension or revocation takes effect on a particular date unless a request for an administrative hearing is filed with the Secretary of State under 5 ILCS 312/7-108(j) and Section 176.990 before that date.

Clarifies that resignation or expiration of a notary public’s commission does not terminate or preclude an inquiry into the notary’s conduct by the Secretary of State. Discloses that whether or not the finding would have been grounds for revocation will be a matter of public record. Provides that appeals should be addressed to the Secretary of State Department of Administrative Hearings and comply with Subpart K (“Administrative Hearings”) of these rules.

Provides extensive rules regarding administrative hearings stemming from the Office of the Secretary of State serving a notice of hearing upon a respondent, either upon the written request of the petitioner or upon the Office’s own initiative.

 
INDIANA - HB 1032
Eff. 7-1-24
View this bill

“Legislative Notaries”
Creates “legislative notaries,” and provides that a legislative notary may be a member of Indiana’s General Assembly, or the principal clerk of the House of Representatives, or the principal secretary of the Senate. Establishes that a legislative notary’s authorized powers may be exercised throughout Indiana.

Provides that a legislative notary’s power expires as follows:
• If the individual is a member of the general assembly—upon the date the individual’s current term of office expires.
• If the individual is not a member of the general assembly—upon the date the term of the current general assembly expires.


Authorizes legislative notaries to exercise the following powers:
1. Take acknowledgment to a deed or any other instrument in writing;
2. Administer oaths, protest notes, and checks;
3. Take the deposition of a witness;
4.Take and certify an affidavit or a deposition;
5. Perform any other duty conferred upon a notary public by Indiana statutes.

Establishes that an acknowledgment to a deed or other instrument taken by a legislative notary entitles the deed or other instrument to be recorded the same as though acknowledged before a (commissioned) notary public.


Clarifies that a legislative notary is not authorized to perform any of the acts authorized by HB 1032, until the legislative notary has procured a seal that stamps, upon paper, the legislative notary’s official status (“character”) as a legislative notary. Allows a legislative notary’s seal to include any other device. (Note: “device” is not defined in the bill, but likely means a drawing or design.) Clarifies that when administering oaths, protest notes and checks, a legislative notary need not use a seal.

Requires that, at the time the legislative notary signs an acknowledgment, a jurat, or any other official document, a legislative notary must show on the document the expiration date of their authority to act as a legislative notary.

Allows a legislative notary to charge the same fees for performing authorized acts as the fees charged by an Indiana notary public.

Provides that a legislative notary violates Indiana law if they perform an act that is a violation of law when it is performed by a commissioned Indiana notary public.

Commissioned Indiana Notaries Public
Deletes the word “seal” as a statutorily required element of an Indiana notary public’s electronic seal.

Clarifies that the official seal of a commissioned Indiana notary public is not required to contain the word “seal” in the physical or electronic image of the official seal (its inclusion is a choice, not a requirement).

Makes necessary conforming amendments.

 
IOWA – House File 397
Effective 7-1-23
View this bill


Amends Iowa’s existing remote notarization law; adds new provisions for (1) execution of a remote will or codicil in counterparts and (2) execution of a remote will or codicil under disaster proclamation; defines “presence”; and provides that a portion of House File 397 applies retroactively.

Amends Section 9B. 14A, Subsection 7, Code 2023 (in Iowa’s law regarding notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals) by providing that if the Secretary of State has established (pursuant to Iowa Code) standards for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, all of the following apply:
(a.)  The communication technology the notary public intends to use must conform to the standards.
(b.)  If the notary public elects to use identity proofing under subsection 3, paragraph -
“a,” the identity proofing must conform to the standards.


Amends Section 633.279, Code 2023, by adding the following new subsections:

NEW SUBSECTION. 3. Execution of remote will or codicil in counterparts. When a will or codicil is executed using remote signing under this section, the original document may be executed in one or more counterparts by parties located in different locations, and all such counterparts may be aggregated to comprise the complete will or codicil of the testator.


NEW SUBSECTION. 4. Remote will or codicil under disaster proclamation. Any will or codicil executed using the remote signing procedures permitted under the proclamation of disaster emergency of the governor issued April 2, 2020, and expired February 15, 2022, shall be deemed to satisfy the presence requirements of this section if the will or codicil was executed during the effective period of the proclamation of disaster emergency.

NEW SUBSECTION. 5. Definition. For purposes of this section, presence means any manner, physical or electronic, in which the witness and testator can see and hear the acts of each other in real time.

Provides that the bill’s New Subsection 4 of Section 633.279, Code 2023, dealing with a remote will or codicil under disaster proclamation, applies retroactively to wills and codicils executed on or after April 2, 2020.

 
KANSAS – Permanent Administrative Regulations, Notaries Public
Effective 10-28-23; amended 12-29-23
Email kathleen@asnnotary.org for a copy of these rules.


Amends various Kansas notary public regulations dealing with notaries public, and creates new regulation language, as follows.

Amends Rule 7-43-7(d) by creating a new definition for “sole control,” establishing that it means being in the direct physical custody of the notary public or safeguarded by the notary public with a password or other secure means of authentication.

Amends Rule 7-43-8(a) by clarifying that only any notary public, at any time during the notary public’s commission, may notify the secretary that the notary public intends to perform notarizations of electronic records or for remotely located individuals. (The former rule language also allowed “any applicant submitting an application for a notary commission” to make such notification to the secretary.) Makes a conforming amendment to Rule 7-43-12.


Clarifies that after the secretary approves a notary public commission renewal, if the notary public intends to continue performing notarial acts on electronic records or for remotely located individuals, the notary shall submit a notification and the fee pursuant to K.A.R. 7-43-11.
Amends Rule 7-43-13, by clarifying that nothing in that subsection shall be construed to prohibit a notary public from using multiple stamping devices.

Amends Rule 7-43-14, as follows:

Creates new language stating that any notary public shall affix an official stamp to a notarial certificate that is affixed to or logically associated with an electronic record.

Specifies that in addition to being retained under a notary public’s sole control, a notary public’s stamping device shall be secured by the notary public by means of a password or other secure method of authentication.


Amends Rule 7-43-15’s references to a “notary public’s records” so they instead are stated as a “notary public’s records of notarial acts.”

Renumbers Rule 7-43-17(b) (short-form certificate formats) to instead be Rule 7-43-17(a), and clarifies that when a notary public performs a notarial act for a remotely located individual, the notarial certificate shall contain a statement substantially as follows: “This notarial act involved the use of audiovisual communication technology.”

Amends and renumbers a provision requiring a notary public performing a notarial act using audiovisual communication technology to compare for consistency the information and photo on the identification credential presented by the remotely located individual with the remotely located individual when viewed by the notary public in real time through communication technology. Makes a technical correction to this section’s reference to K.S.A. 2022 Supp. 53-5a07(b)(2).


Clarifies Rule 7-43-19 by restating provisions, as follows:
Requires that for each tangible record, the notary public shall affix the notarial certificate directly on the record to be notarized, except as provided in the following subsection.

Provides that if a notarial certificate cannot be affixed to a record to be notarized because the record lacks adequate space for a notarial certificate, the notary public shall (1) provide the notarial certificate on a separate page and attach the notarial certificate to the record by staple or other secure method so that the removal of the record or notarial certificate is discernible; and (2) include in the notarial certificate a description of the record to which the notarial certificate is attached.

Requires that for each electronic record, the notary public shall attach or logically associate the notary public’s electronic signature by use of a digital certificate to a notarial certificate that is affixed to or logically associated with the electronic record that is the subject of a notarial act.

Requires a notary public digital certificate to have tamper-evident technology that must: be attributed or uniquely linked to the notary public; be capable of independent verification; be retained under the notary public’s sole control (“sole control” replaces the more prescriptive “exclusive control by use of passphrase protection”); and be attached to or logically associated with the electronic record to which it relates in such a manner that any subsequent change of the electronic record is detectable.

Makes various technical amendments concerning references to Kansas statutes and administrative rules, as well as references to audiovisual recordings of notarial acts performed using audiovisual communication technology.

 
KENTUCKY—SB 123
Effective 6-18-23
View this bill

Establishes that a notarial act performed in a state other than Kentucky, by a Kentucky Notary Public performing the act [solely] in a civil action or legal proceeding originating in Kentucky, has the same effect under Kentucky law as if the act had been performed in Kentucky.

Establishes that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in another state are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title. Further establishes that the signature and title of a notarial officer (as described in SB 123) shall conclusively establish the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act.

 
MAINE ― Permanent Marriage Officiant Licensing Rules
Chapter 720 (Agency 29, Sub-Agency 250), Maine Code of Rules
Effective 10-2-23
View these rules

Implements the provisions of Title 5, Section 90-G regarding Maine’s authorized marriage officiants which now automatically include notaries public.

Provides the general marriage officiant eligibility requirements for an individual: be at least 18 years of age, be a resident of Maine; demonstrate an ability to read and write the English language; and demonstrate an understanding of the laws and rules governing marriages in Maine under title 19-A, Chapter 23.

Clarifies that for purposes of the rule, being a “resident of this State” means having established a fixed and principal home in the State of Maine and to which home the individual intends to return following a temporary absence.

Establishes that an individual who has a valid Maine notary public commission and who is a resident of Maine is automatically eligible for a marriage officiant license.

Establishes the Maine marriage officiant application process for individuals who are not automatically eligible by means of a valid Maine notary public commission.

Clarifies that a Maine resident who applies for a notary public commission need not file a separate application for a marriage officiant license, but instead must indicate on the notary application form if the individual declines to have a marriage officiant license issued with the notary public commission. Requires that notary public commission applicants who decline the automatic marriage officiant license but who later wish to have the license after all must file a separate application.

Provides that a marriage officiant licensee’s name, residence address and contact information shall be posted on the Secretary of State’s publicly available web site. Further provides that a marriage officiant license issued to a Maine notary public is valid for the term of the notary public’s commission, but for all other marriage officiant licensees, a marriage officiant license is valid for a period of seven years.

Requires licensed marriage officiants (including those who are also notaries public) must notify the Secretary of State within 30 calendar days of any change to the licensee’s legal name, physical address, or contact information on file with the Secretary of State. Specifies that such notification must be made by submitting the form prescribed by the Secretary of State and available on the Secretary’s website.

Provides that the Secretary of State shall issue an amended marriage officiant license to a licensee whose legal name or municipality of residence has changed. Clarifies that the licensee shall remain authorized to solemnize marriages while awaiting receipt of the amended license.

Establishes that the Secretary of State will provide written notification of pending expiration to a marriage officiant licensee, at least 30 calendar days prior to the marriage officiant’s license expiration date. Provides that such notice will be sent to the most recent email address of record, and that the notice will be sent by U.S. Postal Service, regular first-class mail, if the licensee does not have an email address. Clarifies that failure of the licensee to receive the notice does not delay or extend expiration of the marriage officiant license.

Requires a marriage officiant licensee wishing to renew their license to submit the renewal application to the Secretary of State before the expiration date on the current license. Requires a licensee filing for a renewal marriage officiant license to submit the same information as provided on an initial license application.

Provides that the marriage officiant license of a Maine notary public will automatically renew upon renewal of the individual’s notary public commission, unless the notary indicates on their notary public commission renewal application that the notary declines to be licensed as a marriage officiant.


Clarifies that a marriage officiant who fails to file a license renewal application timely and whose license has expired is not authorized to solemnize marriages until a new marriage officiant license is issued.

Provides the grounds upon which the Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, suspend or revoke a marriage officiant license. Provides that before issuing a denial, suspension or revocation of a marriage officiant license, the Secretary of State shall provide written notice to the applicant or licensee. Further provides that such applicant or licensee may request a hearing under Maine’s Administrative Procedure Act, Title 5, Chapter 375, Subchapter 5. Establishes that the Secretary’s final, written decision may be appealed to the Superior Court under 5 MRS Chapter 375, Subchapter 7.

Establishes that a marriage officiant licensee may voluntarily surrender their license at any time by submitting written notice to the Secretary of State. Clarifies that the individual’s marriage officiant license will no longer be valid as of the date of the written notice. Requires that upon submission of such written notice, a licensee must return their marriage license officiant certificate to the Secretary of State.
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MAINE – Final Adoption, Emergency Rules Previously Reported Below
Effective 10-2-23
View this rule

These emergency rules implement Maine’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, as previously reported, except for the following amendments.

Exemptions Related to Remote Notarizations
Upon their permanent adoption, these rules exempt the following persons from the remote notarization requirements applicable to commissioned notaries public:
• Any Maine judge, justice, clerk or deputy clerk of any Maine court who is remotely notarizing in the course of performing exclusively judicial functions as provided for in Maine law, or in rules or administrative orders adopted by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

• A Maine court reporter administering an oath to a witness in a deposition conducted under the rules of procedure of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court or federal court.

These exempted individuals, when performing the functions specified above, may utilize commonly available audio-visual communication platforms widely used by the general public, instead of only remote online notarization technologies specifically designed for use by a notarial officer.
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MAINE – LD 1980
Effective 7-1-23
View this bill


Maine’s Legislature has enacted emergency legislation amending its official stamp requirement and clarifying its applicability when a notary public performs a notarial act regarding an electronic record.

Amends Maine’s official stamp requirement (created by the 2022 passage of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts) by making official stamp use by a notarial officer, including a notary public, optional for notarization of a tangible record. Retains an official stamp requirement for a notarial act regarding an electronic record that is performed by a notary public, but exempts other notarial officers from using an official stamp when notarization involves an electronic record.

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MAINE – Emergency Rules: Notaries Public, Notarial Officers; Notaries Acts, Procedures for Electronic and Remote Notarization
Effective 7-5-23 until 10-3-23; also see "Final Adoption, Emergency Rules..." entry above.
View these rules

These emergency rules implement Maine’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.

Definitions
“Credible witness” - an honest, reliable, and impartial person who personally knows an individual appearing before a notarial officer and takes an oath or affirmation before the notarial officer to vouch for that individual’s identity.


“Direct beneficial interest” - for purposes of defining a conflict of interest under 4 M.R.S. § 1904(3)(B), means a fee other than the customary fee for performance of the notarial act, or any advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property or other consideration received in connection with the record.

“Electronic notarization” - a Maine notarial officer’s performance of a notarial act with respect to an electronic record, using an electronic signature and an electronic official stamp.

“Electronic record” - a record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.

“Notarial officer” - a notary public commissioned by the Secretary of State; a judge, justice, clerk or deputy clerk of a court of Maine; or an attorney-at-law duly admitted and eligible to practice in the courts of Maine; and any other individual authorized by the laws of Maine to perform a specific notarial act.


“Principal” - a person whose signature is notarized, or a person other than a credible witness taking an oath or affirmation before a notarial officer.

“Remotely located individual” - an individual who is not in the physical presence of the notarial officer who is performing a notarial act and appears before the notarial officer using communication technology.

“Remote notarization” - a notarial act performed in compliance with 4 M.R.S. Chapter 29, by a notarial officer for a remotely located individual using communication technology approved by the Secretary of State.


“Residence” - for purposes of this rule, the place where the individual has established a fixed and principal home to which the individual, whenever absent, intends to return.

“Resident” - having a place where the individual has established a fixed and principal home to which the individual, whenever absent, intends to return.

“Secretary of State” - as used in this rule, includes the Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of State for Corporations, Elections and Commissions, and the Division Director and staff of the Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions within the Department of the Secretary of State.

“Tamper-evident” - any change to a record displays evidence of the change.

“Tamper-evident technology” - a set of applications, programs, hardware, software, or other technologies designed to enable a notarial officer to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records or for remotely located individuals which display evidence of any changes made to an electronic record.


Notary Public Appointment
Provides qualifications for an applicant for a notary public appointment; the applicant must:
1. Be at least 18 years of age at the time of submitting the application;

2. Have residency or a place of employment or business in Maine, and demonstrate
3. that the applicant:
a. Is a Maine resident; or
b. Has a place of employment located in Maine; or
c. Has a business located in Maine;
4. Demonstrate an ability to read and write the English language;
5. Be worthy of the public trust, meaning at a minimum that the applicant must:
a. Not have been convicted of any crime punishable by one year or more of imprisonment;
b. Not have been convicted of any crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit;
c. Not have received a finding or have made any admission of liability in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action against the applicant based on the applicant’s fraud, dishonesty or deceit;
d. Not have made any false, fraudulent, dishonest or deceitful statements in the application for a notary commission; and
e. Not have had a notary public commission in another state revoked, suspended, conditioned, or not renewed for cause.


Clarifies that a crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit includes, but is not limited to, any crime involving false swearing, unsworn falsification, perjury, tampering with public records, impersonation, bribery, forgery, identity theft, negotiating a worthless instrument, misuse of information, theft, larceny, robbery, extortion, counterfeiting, unauthorized transfer of property, misappropriation, embezzlement, and deceptive practices.


Requires an applicant for a notary public appointment to pass an examination administered by the Secretary of State. Provides that the examination will be administered by the Secretary of State and based on a course of study offered regularly by the Secretary of State in accordance with 4 M.R.S. § 1923.

Requires a notary public commission applicant to file an application using the latest form issued by the Secretary of State. Provides the minimum information that the application must require to be submitted. Specifies the additional information required for an individual to perform electronic or remote notarizations.

Requires that if the applicant intends to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records using an electronic signature, the applicant must submit the notice form (notice of intent) prescribed by the Secretary of State and containing the information required by section 5, subsection 6 of this rule pertaining to electronic notarization.


Requires that if the applicant intends to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals, the applicant must submit the notice form prescribed by the Secretary of State and containing the information required by section 6, subsection 8 of this rule pertaining to remote notarization.

Requires every application for a notary public commission (new and renewal commissions) to be accompanied by payment of a fee prescribed by 5 M.R.S. § 87, submitted to the Secretary of State and made payable to the Treasurer, State of Maine.

Provides that if the Secretary of State determines that the applicant has satisfied all the criteria for appointment, the Secretary shall issue a notary public commission to the applicant for a term of 7 years from the date of issuance.


Specifies that upon approval of an application, a certificate of commission will be mailed to the applicant who then has 30 calendar days to appear before a Dedimus Justice to take the oath prescribed by 4 M.R.S. § 1922(3), and 45 calendar days from the date of appointment to return the completed certificate of qualification to the Secretary of State. Clarifies that if the Secretary of State does not receive the certificate within the 45 calendar days or the certificate demonstrates that the applicant was not sworn into office within 30 calendar days of appointment, the Secretary will notify the applicant of the failure to qualify, and that the applicant has 90 calendar days from the date of that notice to request a reappointment by the Secretary of State.

Further provides that the applicant has 30 calendar days from the date of reappointment to be sworn into office by a Dedimus Justice. Requires that if the applicant does not request reappointment within 90 calendar days from the date of notification of a failure to qualify, the applicant must reapply in order to be appointed as a notary public.


Authority to Perform Electronic or Remote Notarial Acts
Clarifies that a notary public who has been issued a commission is not authorized to perform electronic or remote notarizations unless and until a notice meeting all the requirements described in section 5, subsection 6, and section 6, subsection 8 of this rule has been submitted to the Secretary of State and accepted in accordance with 4 M.R.S. Chapter 39 and this rule.

Authority to Solemnize Marriages
Establishes that a notary public who has been issued a commission by the Secretary of State is not authorized to solemnize marriages in Maine unless the notary has also been issued a marriage officiant license by the Secretary of State pursuant to 5 M.R.S. § 90-G and Chapter 720, Rules Governing the Licensing of Marriage Officiants Who Are Authorized to Solemnize Marriages in Maine.


Renewal of Notary Public Commission
Provides that the Secretary of State shall send written notification to a notary public, no less than 30 calendar days prior to the expiration of the notary’s commission. Provides that the notice will be sent to the email address recorded on the Secretary of State’s database.

Establishes that if the notary public does not have an email address, the notice will be sent by U.S. Postal Service, regular first-class mail. Clarifies that failure to receive the notice does not delay or suspend the expiration of the commission.


Requires an application for renewal of a notary public commission to include the following information:
1. The name under which the current notary public commission was issued;
2. The legal name of the notary public seeking renewal of the commission (if changed since issuance of the commission that is expiring);
3. The date of expiration of the commission;
4. The physical address of the applicant’s residence and the applicant’s mailing address;
5. The applicant’s email address and contact telephone number;
6. The physical address of a place of employment or location of the notary public’s business in Maine if the notary is not a resident of Maine;
7. A list of any crimes for which the notary public has been convicted since the date of issuance of the commission that is expiring;
8. Disclosure of any legal proceedings in any jurisdiction that resulted in findings against the applicant or admissions of liability by the applicant; and
9. A declaration signed by the notary that all information provided in the application is true and correct.

Provides that if a notary fails to file a renewal application before the expiration date of the current commission, the notary public is not authorized to perform any notarial acts until the commission has been renewed or a new commission has been issued and the applicant has taken the oath of office before a Dedimus Justice.


Requires a notary public to apply for a new commission if the notary’s application for renewal is not received by the Secretary of State within 90 calendar days after the expiration date of the existing commission.

Examination, Renewing Applicants
Requires an applicant for commission renewal to pass an examination administered by the Secretary of State.

Change of Information or Status of Commissioned Notary Public
Requires a notary public to submit written notice to the Secretary of State within 30 calendar days of any of the following changes to the notary’s status or information previously submitted (such manner of notification to be prescribed by the Secretary):
1. A change of the notary’s name by court order or marriage;
2. A change of the notary’s residence or mailing address;
3. A change of the notary’s email address or telephone number;
4. A change in the notary’s place of employment if the notary’s eligibility for a commission was based on having a place of employment in Maine;
5. A change in the location of the notary’s business if the notary’s eligibility for a commission was based on having a business in Maine;
6. A change to the information previously submitted in writing notifying the Secretary of State that the notary public will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records or remotely located individuals;
7. A conviction of a crime punishable by one year or more of imprisonment or of a crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit, as described in section 2, subsection 1, paragraph D of this rule; or
8. A finding against, or admission of liability by, the notary in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant’s or notary’s fraud, dishonesty or deceit.


Requires a notary public who notifies the Secretary of State of a name change as required by section 2, subsection 5, paragraph A of this rule to use the new name in performing notarial acts only after:
1. The notary has delivered the notice required by section 2, subsection 5, paragraph A of this rule;
2. The new name has been updated in the Secretary of State’s notary public database; and
3. The notary, if using a stamping device or official stamp, has made the change to their device bearing the new name.

Establishes that an amended certificate of commission will be issued by the Secretary of State upon receipt of notice of a name change or change of residence to a new municipality by the notary.


Notary Resignation
Establishes that a notary public may resign their commission at any time by submitting written notice to the Secretary of State of the intent to resign. Specifies that the resignation shall be deemed effective as of the date of the written notice. Requires a notary public, upon resignation, to return their certificate of commission to the Secretary of State.

Fees for Notarial Services
Requires that any fee to be charged by a commissioned notary public for performing a notarial act must be disclosed in writing to the individual requesting the services of the notary public before the notarial act is performed. Further requires the notary public to obtain the individual’s consent to any fee to be charged prior to performing the notarial act.

Notary Complaints, Investigation; Grounds for Sanctions
Provides that a person may file a complaint with the Secretary of State regarding the performance of a notary public. Specifies that the complaint should include the complainant’s contact information and a detailed statement describing the basis for the complaint, and include any relevant records.


Establishes that the Secretary of State may, on its own initiative or in response to a complaint, make such investigation as it determines to be reasonable and necessary to determine whether a person has violated, is violating or is about to violate any provision of 4 M.R.S. Chapter 39 or this rule. Enables the Secretary of State to require filing of statements by the alleged violator or others with knowledge of the allegations, and to require production of records that the Secretary of State deems relevant to the investigation.

Denial, Non-Renewal, Suspension, Revocation or Imposition of Conditions on a Notary Public Commission
Provides that the Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, suspend, revoke or impose a condition on the commission of a notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the competence, reliability, or integrity to act as a notary public, including any of the following:

1. Conflicts of interest. Performance of a notarial act with regard to which the notary has a conflict of interest as defined in 4 M.R.S. § 1904 (3), or performing an acknowledgment prohibited pursuant to 4 M.R.S. § 1904(4).
2. Prohibited acts. Performance of a notarial act prohibited by 4 M.R.S. § 1904, subsection 5, or section 1915, subsection 16 or 17, or any acts prohibited by 4 M.R.S. § 1926.
3. Change of name without notice. Performance of a notarial act using a different name than the name on the notary commission without having notified the Secretary of State of the name change.
4. Fraud, deceit or dishonesty. Committing an act of fraud, deceit or dishonesty.
5. Criminal convictions. Conviction of a crime punishable by one year or more of imprisonment or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit.
6. False or misleading advertising. Use of false or misleading advertising or otherwise engaging in a method, act, or practice that is unfair or deceptive, including any untrue or misleading statement or omission of a material fact relating to a duty or responsibility of a notary public.

7. False or misleading statements in notary application. An untrue or misleading statement or omission of a material fact in any application or filing with the Secretary of State required by law.
8. Noncompliance with information requests. Failure to comply with any reasonable information request made by the Secretary of State for the purpose of evaluating the notary’s status or application for a commission or renewal of a commission or any request by the Secretary of State for production of records under section 4, subsection 2.
9. Failure to comply with notary statute and rules. Failure to comply with any other provision of 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 or this rule.

Establishes that if the Secretary of State denies an application for a notary public commission, imposes a condition on a commission, refuses to renew, suspends, or revokes a notary public commission, the applicant or notary public has a right to a hearing in accordance with the Maine Administrative Procedure Act, 5 M.R.S. chapter 375, subchapter 4. Requires the applicant or notary public to be notified in writing of the action taken by the Secretary and of their right to a hearing.


Provides that after such hearing, the Secretary shall issue a written decision which may be appealed to Superior Court pursuant to 5 M.R.S. chapter 375, subchapter 7.

Electronic Notarization
Technology Provider Approval. Sets forth procedures for a provider of electronic notarization technology to request approval from the Secretary of State. Provides the information that must be included in such application, which includes a certification that the provider’s technology is designed to ensure that notarial acts performed by notarial officers with respect to electronic records using electronic signatures will comply with the requirements of 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 and the Secretary’s administrative rule.


Provides the criteria and standards for technology used for electronic notarization. Requires that to obtain the Secretary’s approval, a technology provider must demonstrate that the technology to be used for electronic notarization in Maine:
1. Restricts access to the provider’s technology only to notarial officers whose written notice to the Secretary of State of their intent to perform electronic notarization has been accepted, in accordance with the requirements of this rule;
2. Requires a password or other secure means of authentication to access the provider’s technology;
3. Requires a notarial officer to present a valid Maine notary commission or other evidence of the notarial officer’s qualification to perform notarial acts prior to receiving an authorized digital or electronic stamp and signature;
4. Includes a method to ensure that a notarial officer enrolled to use the technology has been trained and has the requisite knowledge to use it to perform notarial acts in compliance with 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 and this rule;
5. Enables a notarial officer to retain their authorized digital or electronic signature under the notarial officer’s sole control and to affix their electronic signature in a manner that attributes the signature to the notarial officer, is capable of independent verification, and is tamper-evident;
6. Enables a notarial officer to attach or logically associate a certificate of notarial act to the electronic record in a tamper-evident manner; and
7. Uses tamper-evident technology sufficient to ensure that the electronic signature on an electronic record is authentic.


Establishes that upon review of an application from a technology provider, the Secretary of State may:
1. Return the application as incomplete with a written notice of the deficiencies;
2. Require the applicant to supplement the application with additional explanations, information or evidence of its ability to ensure compliance with state law;
3. Deny the application; or
4. Approve the application with or without conditions.


Provides that the Secretary will notify a technology provider if it has been approved and will add the provider to the state-maintained list of approved providers. States that the Secretary of State’s approval is valid for one year from the date of issuance and may be renewed in accordance with section 5, subsection 4, paragraph D of this rule. Requires an approved technology provider to file a renewal application on or before the expiration of the Secretary’s initial approval and each year thereafter on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State.

Technology Provider Obligations. Sets forth certain ongoing obligations of providers of technology for electronic notarization, including notifying the Secretary of State when any Maine notary public or other Maine notarial officer has been accepted or approved to use the provider’s technology to perform electronic notarizations in Maine; and the obligation to suspend or terminate access to the provider’s electronic notarization technology for any notary public whose commission has been suspended or revoked by the Secretary of State or whose commission has expired, within 5 business days of being notified by the Secretary of State or the notary public of such action.


Requires a provider of technology for electronic notarizations to give written notice to the Secretary of State and to each notarial officer using the provider’s services for electronic notarizations, if the provider becomes aware of a possible security breach involving its data. Specifies that such notice must be provided as expediently as possible and no later than 15 business days after the date on which the provider has determined that the security breach occurred. Sets forth additional information to be included in the notice, such as breach mitigation steps and a general description of the data that was or is reasonably believed to have been compromised.

Enables a notarial officer or other person using or relying upon an electronic notarization technology to file a complaint with the Secretary of State if they believe the technology provided does not comply with the standards set forth in 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 or this rule.


Provides that the Secretary of State may investigate, as the Secretary determines to be reasonable and necessary, whether a technology provider has violated, is violating or is about to violate any provision of 4 M.R.S chapter 39 or this rule. Allows the Secretary of State to require the filing of statements by the provider or others with knowledge of violation allegations, and to require production of records that the Secretary deems relevant to the investigation.

Allows the Secretary to deny, refuse to renew, suspend, terminate or revoke approval of a provider of technology used for electronic notarization in Maine, for practices or offenses stated in the rule. Establishes the procedural steps required for such actions by the Secretary of State.

Prohibits a provider whose approval the Secretary has revoked, denied, terminated, suspended, or non-renewed from denying a registered notarial officer’s access to the officer’s electronic signature, official seal and records stored by the technology provider.


Notarial Officer – Notification of Intent to Electronically Notarize. Requires that before performing a notarial act with respect to an electronic document or using an electronic signature for the first time, a notarial officer must notify the Secretary of State by providing the following information in a format prescribed by the Secretary of State:
1. The name(s) of the provider(s) of technology approved by the Secretary of State that the notarial officer intends to use in attaching or logically associating an electronic notarial signature, stamp and certificate to an electronic record;
2. Certification from each provider of technology the notarial officer intends to use, confirming that the notarial officer has received training in the use of that technology for electronic notarization and has been approved as a user of that technology;
3. A certification by the notarial officer that the officer has read and understands the requirements of 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 and this rule regarding electronic notarization; and
4. An example of the notarial officer’s electronic signature and official electronic stamp.

Provides that if the Secretary of State deems such notice to be insufficient, the notarial officer shall be notified of the deficiencies and shall have the opportunity to resubmit it. Clarifies that the notice is not valid until it is accepted as complete by the Secretary of State.


Emphasizes that in addition to submitting the notification of intent to electronically notarize, a notary public who wishes to perform electronic notarizations must have a valid notary public commission, and an attorney-at-law must be duly admitted and eligible to practice law in the courts of this State.

Requires a notarial officer to amend a notice of intent to electronically notarize to reflect any change in the technology providers including but not limited to identifying any new or additional technology. Such amended notice must be submitted to the Secretary of State within ten 10 business days of making the change.

Establishes that a notarial officer’s authority to perform electronic notarizations automatically expires upon the occurrence of any of the following:

1. The notarial officer is a notary public and the notary public’s commission expires, is revoked, suspended or terminated by the Secretary of State;
2. The notarial officer is a notary public and the notary public resigns their commission;
3. The notarial officer is a notary public and the notary public no longer has a place of employment, a business or residence in this State;
4. The notarial officer is an attorney, upon suspension or termination of that attorney’s authority to practice law in this State; or
5. The Secretary of State has revoked or terminated approval of the technology provider whose technology the notarial officer is using to perform electronic notarization unless the notarial officer is approved to use another technology provider.

Requirements for Performing Electronic Notarization. Establishes these procedures for performing a notarial act with respect to electronic records, or affixing an electronic signature; the notarial officer must:
1. Require the principal to appear in person before the notarial officer at the time of the electronic notarization if the principal is making a statement or executing a signature on a record, pursuant to 4 M.R.S. § 1906;
2. Identify the principal who is physically present in accordance with 4 M.R.S. § 1907;
3. Verify that the principal has adopted an electronic signature that complies with 10 M.R.S. chapter 1051, if the record is to be signed electronically;
4. Complete an electronic notarial certificate and attach it to or logically associate it with the notarial officer’s electronic signature and official stamp in a tamper-evident manner; and
5. Use an electronic signature in combination with the electronic notary stamp only for the purpose of performing electronic notarizations.

Journal for Electronic and Remote Notarizations
States that a notarial officer must maintain a journal in which all electronic notarizations are recorded. Entries in the journal must be made contemporaneously with the notarial act and must comply with all the requirements set forth in 4 M.R.S. § 1920 (2) and (3). Requires a notarial officer to record each remote notarization in the notarial officer’s journal, which must be retained under the notarial officer’s sole control. Further requires a journal in an electronic format to be tamper-evident, backed up in a secure manner, and accessible only through the use of passwords or other secure means of authentication under the control of the notarial officer.


Remote Notarization
Authorizes a provider of remote notarization communication technology to request approval from the Secretary of State by submitting an application on a form provided by the Secretary of State. Provides the information that must be included on the application form. Requires “any other information” sufficient to demonstrate that the provider’s communication technology and identity proofing methods meet or exceed the criteria and standards set forth in section 6, subsection 2 of the Secretary’s administrative rule.


Requires a provider seeking approval from the Secretary of State to also submit an application fee, made payable to the Treasurer, State of Maine, as prescribed by 5 M.R.S. § 86.

Provides the criteria and standards for communication technology and identity proofing used for remote notarization necessary to obtain the Secretary’s approval. A provider must demonstrate that the communication technology:
1. Restricts access to notarial officers whose written notice to the Secretary of State of intent to perform remote notarization has been accepted, in accordance with the requirements of this rule;
2. Requires a password or other secure means of authentication to access the provider’s technology;
3. Requires a notarial officer to present a valid Maine notary public commission or other evidence of the notarial officer’s qualification to perform notarial acts in order to access or utilize the communication technology to perform remote notarizations;
4. Includes a method to ensure that a notarial officer enrolled to use the technology has the requisite knowledge to use it to perform notarial acts in compliance with 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 and this rule;
5. Enables a notarial officer to verify the identity of the principal and any required witness in compliance with 4 M.R.S. chapter 39 and this rule;
6. For remote notarization of electronic records, enables a notarial officer to affix their electronic signature to an electronic notarial certificate in a manner that attributes the signature to the notarial officer and is tamper-evident;
7. For remote notarization of electronic records, enables a notarial officer to attach or logically associate a certificate of notarial act to the electronic record in a tamper-evident manner;
8. Provides continuous, synchronous audio-visual feeds that allow the remotely located individual and the notarial officer to see and speak to one another simultaneously through live, real time transmission;

9. Captures images with sufficient resolution to enable analysis of the remote individual’s credentials;
10. Includes at least two (2) of the following methods of identity proofing:
(a.)  A credential that is validated by a government or third party;
(b.)  A biometric identifier, including a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, scan of hand or face geometry, or any other physiological, biological or behavioral characteristic used to identify an individual;
(c.)  A public key certificate; or
(d.)  An identity assessment based on a set of questions formulated from public or private data sources for which the principal has not provided a prior answer;
11. For remote notarization of electronic records, provides a secure method of document upload and transfer;
12. Records the audio-visual communication in real time and associates that recording with the notarial officer’s electronic record;
13. Provides reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to:
(a.)  The live communication between the notarial officer and the remotely located individual;
(b.)  The recording of the audio-visual communication;
(c.)  The verification methods and credentials used to verify the identity of the remotely located individual; and
(d.)  Electronic records presented for remote notarization, if applicable;
14. Is capable of securely creating, storing, accessing and reproducing a copy of an electronic recording of the remote notarial act; and
15. For remote notarization of electronic records, provides an electronic verification or audit trail of the electronically notarized document that is accessible to all parties involved in a notarial act that is performed remotely.


Provides that the approval process for review and approval of applications by communication technology providers is the same as those provided in the Secretary’s administrative rules for providers of electronic notarization technology.

Establishes that providers of communication technology for remote notarization have the same ongoing obligations as those specified in section 5, subsection 4 of this rule for providers of technology for electronic notarization. Additionally provides that the filing of complaints, handling of investigations, and the grounds upon which the Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, suspend, terminate, or revoke approval of a provider of communication technology for remote notarization in the State are the same as described in section 5, subsection 5 of this rule for providers of technology for electronic notarization.

Prohibits a remote notarization technology provider from denying any notarial officer registered with the provider access to the notarial officer’s electronic signature, official seal and records stored by the technology provider on behalf of the notarial officer, in the event of the Secretary’s denial, non-renewal, suspension, termination or revocation of the technology provider’s approval.


Provides that by making its communication technology or identity proofing available for use in performing remote notarizations in Maine, and by providing storage for audio-visual recordings of remote notarizations, a technology provider appoints the Secretary of State as the provider’s agent for service of process in any civil action in Maine related to a remote notarization pursuant to 4 M.R.S. § 1915(15). Establishes a fee of twenty dollars ($20) for the Secretary of State to accept service of process as the agent for a provider.

Requires that, before performing a remote notarization for the first time, a notarial officer must submit written notice to the Secretary of State in a format prescribed by the Secretary of State. Specifies the information such notice must include. Provides that if the notice is deemed incomplete by the Secretary of State, the notarial officer shall be notified of the deficiencies and have the opportunity to resubmit it. Clarifies that the notice is not valid until it is accepted by the Secretary of State.


Specifies that a notary public applying to perform remote notarizations must have a valid notary public commission, and an attorney-at-law must be duly admitted and eligible to practice law in the courts of Maine.

Requires that a notarial officer must amend their previously submitted notice to the Secretary of State to include any change in communication technology providers, and identifying any new or additional technology providers. (Provides that notice amendment duties aren’t limited to these two circumstances.) Require the amendment notice to be submitted to the Secretary of State within 10 business days of a reportable change.


Provides that a notarial officer’s authority to perform remote notarizations automatically expires upon occurrence of any of the following:
1. The notarial officer is a notary public whose commission expires, is revoked, suspended or terminated by the Secretary of State; or the notary public resigns their commission; or the notary public is no longer a Maine resident and no longer has a place of employment or a business in Maine.
2. The notarial officer ceases to be authorized to perform notarial acts pursuant to 4 M.R.S. § 1910;
3. The Secretary of State revokes or terminates approval of the technology provider whose technology the notarial officer is using to perform remote notarization unless the notarial officer is approved to use another technology provider.


Establishes requirements and general procedures for performing remote notarizations, which include that a notarial officer must:
1. Use a device with a camera and microphone and ensure that the remotely located individual is also using a device with a camera and microphone so that real-time audiovisual communication is occurring;
2. Use only a communication technology provider and identity proofing method approved by the Secretary of State and identified in the notice provided by the notarial officer to the Secretary of State;
3. Proceed with the remote notarization only if the notarial officer determines that they have a reliable internet connection with the remotely located individual to enable the notarial officer to perform the remote notarization in compliance with 4 M.R.S. Chapter 39 and the Secretary’s administrative rules;
4. Recite information sufficient to identify the notarial officer, the officer’s authority to act, the type of notarial act to be performed, the name of the remotely located individual for whom the notarial act is being performed, and the date, time, and location of the notarial act at the commencement of the notarial proceeding;
5. Reasonably identify the remotely located individual by one or more of the following methods:
(a.)  The notarial officer’s personal knowledge of the remotely located individual through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual is the person they claim to be;
(b.)  Satisfactory evidence of the remotely located individual’s identity provided by using at least 2 different types of identity proofing as described in this rule; and
(c.)  By verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness appearing before the notarial officer who is known to the officer or whom the officer can identify using at least 2 different types of identity proofing as described in this rule;

6. Cease the remote notarization procedure and restart it from the beginning if the remotely located individual, any required witness or the notarial officer exits or disconnects from the communication technology before completion of the notarial act, the audio or visual feed is interrupted or terminated for any reason, or the notarial officer believes the process has been compromised and cannot be completed in accordance with applicable legal requirements;
7. Create an audiovisual recording of the remote notarization, including in the
recording the statements required in section 6, subsection 9, paragraph A, subparagraph 4 of this rule, and a statement by the notarial officer explaining the methods by which the officer has identified the remotely located individual for whom the notarial act is being performed pursuant to section 6, subsection 9, paragraph A, subparagraph 5 of this rule; and
8. Record, with respect to a tangible record not physically present before the notarial officer, the individual signing the record and the written declaration required pursuant to 4 M.R.S. § 1915(5).

Requires that when a notarial act involves taking an acknowledgment of a remotely located individual’s signature on a tangible record, the notarial officer must adhere to the following procedures:
1. If the tangible record is physically present before the notarial officer, displaying the record to the remotely located individual and having the individual identify the record during the audiovisual recording;

2. If the tangible record is not physically present before the notarial officer, requiring the remotely located individual to make the declaration described in 4 M.R.S. § 1915(5);
3. If the remotely located individual is located outside the territorial boundaries of the United States, assessing whether the record meets the requirements of 4 M.R.S. §1915(3)(D) as required for the notarial officer to perform the notarization; and
4. Including a statement that the notarial act was performed remotely using communication technology approved by the Secretary of State.
States that a notarial officer may administer an oath or affirmation to a remotely located individual in accordance with 4 M.R.S. § 1915(8).

Requires the audiovisual recording of the remote notarization to be retained for a period of at least 10 years.


Specifies that if a remote notarization involves an electronic record, a notarial certificate must be attached to or logically associated with that electronic record in a tamper-evident manner in accordance with 4 M.R.S. § 1916(6).

Requires a notarial officer to record each remote notarization in the notarial officer’s journal, which must be retained under the notarial officer’s sole control. Requires a journal in an electronic format to be tamper-evident, backed up in a secure manner, and accessible only through the use of passwords or other secure means of authentication under the control of the notarial officer.

Official Notary Public Stamp
Requires a notary public commissioned by the Secretary of State to use a stamp that is rectangular or circular, and contains the notary public’s name as it appears on their commission, the words “Notary Public” and “State of Maine” or “Maine” and the commission expiration date.


Require the stamp to be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated, pursuant to 4 M.R.S. § 1918(2).

Certified Copies
Clarifies that a notarial officer is not authorized to make any certified or attested copies of public records or vital records. Further clarifies that a notarial officer may not certify a copy of any document that states on its face that it is illegal to make copies of the document.


Protests of Negotiable Instruments
Prohibits a notarial officer from making or noting a protest of a negotiable instrument unless the notarial officer is an employee of a financial institution acting in the course and scope of the notarial officer’s employment with the financial institution.

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MAINE – LD 2023
Effective July 1, 2023
View this bill


The Pine Tree State has enacted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (“the Act”), including permanent statutory provisions for remote online notarization (Chapter 39, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, i.e. MRSA).

Definitions
Defines key terms: “acknowledgment,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “Notary Public,” “official stamp,” “person,” “record,” “sign,” “signature,” “stamping device,” “state,” “verification on oath or affirmation,” “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” and “remotely located individual.”


General Provisions
Establishes that the provisions of LB 2023 apply to a notarial act performed on or after July 1, 2023.

Specifies that a notarial act may be performed in Maine by a Notary Public of Maine; a justice, judge, clerk or deputy clerk of a court of Maine; a Maine attorney-at-law; or any other individual authorized by Maine law to perform the specific act. Provides that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in Maine are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title (for example, “Notary Public, State of Maine”). Further provides that the signature and title of a Maine notarial officer described in §1910(1)A., B. or C., MRSA, conclusively establish the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act.


Provides that a notarial officer may perform a notarial act authorized by Chapter 39, MRSA, or by other Maine law. Further provides that if a provision of law other than in Chapter 39, MRSA specifies that an act may be performed by a Notary Public, such act may be performed by any of the notarial officers described in §1910 (1)A., B. or C., MRSA, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

Provides for the recognition in Maine of notarial acts performed in other states; that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in another state are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title; and that the signature and title of another state’s notarial officer described in §1911(1)A. or B. conclusively establish the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act.

Provides for recognition in Maine of notarial acts performed under authority of federally recognized Indian tribes; of notarial acts performed under federal authority; and under authority and in the jurisdiction of a foreign state or constituent unit of a foreign state, or under the authority of a multinational or international governmental organization.

Addresses authentication of notarial acts with respect to the Hague Apostille Convention of October 5, 1961; and consular authentications of notarial acts.


Commissioning
Provides the qualifications to be met by applicants for a Maine Notary Public commission: be at least 18 years of age; be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in Maine; be able to read and write the English language; not be disqualified to receive a commission under section 1924 of the Act; and have passed the examination required under section 1923 of the Act. Requires the Secretary of State or an entity approved by the Secretary of State to regularly offer a course of study to applicants for a Notary Public commission, and requires such course to cover the laws, rules, procedures and ethics relevant to notarial acts.


Provides the grounds upon which the Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a Notary Public commission. Establishes that an applicant or Notary Public is entitled to timely notice and hearing in accordance with Maine’s Administrative Procedures Act.

Prescribes the Notary Public oath of office to be taken before a Maine Dedimus Judge. Clarifies that in taking the oath of office the word “affirm” may be substituted for the word “swear” and the words “this I do under penalty of perjury” may be substituted for the words “so help me God.”

Provides that the Secretary of State shall issue Notary Public commissions that are valid for a term of 7 years. Clarifies that a Notary Public commission does not provide the individual any immunity or benefit conferred on public officials or employees under Maine law.


Requires the Secretary of State to maintain an electronic database of Notaries Public that enables persons to verify the authority of a Notary Public to perform notarial acts; and indicates whether a Notary Public has notified the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records or remotely.

Marriage Officiant Licensing
Repeals current law’s authorization for a Notary Public to officiate a marriage ceremony, effective July 1, 2023. Establishes that effective July 1, 2023, the Secretary of State may license and renew licenses of Maine marriage officiants, who at a minimum shall be 18 years of age or older; a resident of Maine; and demonstrate a proficiency in the English language. Requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules for licensing of marriage officiants, which must include criteria and a procedure to be applied by the Secretary of State in licensing and renewal. Repeals the prior law authorizing Maine Notaries to officiate for a marriage ceremony.


Requires that effective July 1, 2023, the Secretary of State shall issue a marriage officiant license to every Notary Public commissioned for the equivalent term of the Notary Public’s commission, unless the Notary declines to have the marriage officiant license by providing written notice to the Secretary of State on a form designed by the Secretary.

Establishes that the Secretary of State shall notify a licensed marriage officiant of a pending license expiration 30 days prior to the expiration, in a form or format determined by the Secretary’s administrative rules. Clarifies that failure to receive such notice does not affect the expiration date of the marriage officiant’s license.

Provides for the Secretary’s ability to deny a marriage officiant license application or to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a license.

Limits of Notarial Authority
Specifies that a Notary Public commission does not authorize an individual to assist persons in drafting legal records, giving legal advice or otherwise practicing law; acting as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters; representing a person in a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, U.S. citizenship or related matters; or receiving compensation for performing any of these activities.


Prohibits a Notary Public who is not also a Maine attorney from using the titles “notario” and/or “notario publico.”

Prohibits a Notary Public from engaging in false or deceptive advertising. Specifies advertising messaging and representations that a Notary Public who is not also a Maine attorney may not engage in or make. Requires a Notary Public who advertises, and who is not also an attorney, to include specified language in the advertisement or representation that the Notary Public is not an attorney and cannot perform certain services, give legal advice or charge a fee for such services. Prescribes the manner(s) in which this information shall be given.

Prohibits a Notary Public from withholding access to or possession of an original record provided by a person seeking performance of a notarial act by the Notary Public.


Establishes a civil violation, fine and ability of aggrieved parties to initiate civil action against those committing acts specifically prohibited in Maine’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Clarifies that the Maine Attorney General may initiate an action in Superior Court with respect to any believed violation of the Act’s section on prohibited acts.

Performing Notarial Acts
Requires that if a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature shall appear personally before the notarial officer.

Authorizes a Maine notarial officer to perform the following notarial acts: acknowledgments; administering oaths and affirmations; performing verifications on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature; certifying or attesting a copy of a record including certifying that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record; noting protests.

Prohibits a Maine notarial officer from performing a notarial act when the notarial officer has a conflict of interest. Specifies that such conflict of interest exists if the person for whom the notarial act would be performed is the notarial officer’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling or child or in-law; or a step- or half-relative of the notarial officer. Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act with respect to a record to which the notarial officer or the officer’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling or child or an in-law or a step- or half-relative of the officer is a party or in which any of them has a direct beneficial interest. Clarifies that a notarial officer may solemnize the marriage of a parent, sibling or child, in-law or a step- or half-relative, pursuant to Title 19-A, Section 655, MRSA. Provides that a notarial act performed in violation of these prohibitions is voidable.


Provides that any notarial officer who is also a stockholder, director, officer or employee of a bank or other corporation may take the acknowledgement of any party to any written instrument executed to or by the bank or corporation; may administer an oath to any stockholder, director, officer, employee or agent of the bank or corporation; or may issue protests of negotiable instruments that may be owned or held for collection by the bank or other corporation. Clarifies that a notarial officer may neither take the acknowledgment of an instrument by or to a bank or other corporation of which the notarial officer is a stockholder, director, officer or employee when the notarial officer is a party to the instrument, either individually or as a representative of the bank or other corporation; nor protest any negotiable instrument owned or held for collection by the bank or other corporation, when the notarial officer is individually a party to the instrument. Provides that a notarial act performed in violation of these prohibitions is voidable.

Prohibits a notarial officer from administering an oath or affirmation to a circulator of a petition for a direct initiative or people’s veto referendum under Title 21-A, section 904 (MRSA) if the notarial officer also provides other services to initiate or promote that direct initiative or people’s veto referendum. Provides that a notarial act performed in violation of this prohibition is voidable.

Establishes the requirements for, and determinations made by the notarial officer, for the notarial acts of acknowledgement of a record; verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting to a signature; certifying or attesting a copy of a record; issuing a protest of a negotiable instrument; and making records and copies of protests of losses.

Grants statutory authority for a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act, and specifies when such refusal may be made. Clarifies that a notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by a law other than Chapter 39, MRSA.

Allows for an individual physically unable to sign a record due to a disability to direct an individual other than the notarial officer to sign the individual’s name on the record. Requires the notarial officer to insert a specific statement indicating that the physically unable individual directed another individual to sign the record.


Identification Requirements
Prescribes requirements for identifying individuals appearing before a notarial officer for performance of a notarial act. Specifies the requirements for a notarial officer to have personal knowledge of the individual appearing, or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual. Provides that documentary forms of satisfactory evidence of identification shall be a passport, driver’s license or government-issued nondriver identification; or another form of government identification issued to an individual that contains the signature or a photograph of the individual and that is satisfactory to the notarial officer. Further provides that satisfactory evidence of identification may be the verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the notarial officer, and known to the officer or identifiable by means of a passport, driver’s license or government-issued nondriver identification card. Allows a notarial officer to require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the notarial officer of the individual’s identity.


Notarial Certificate
Requires a notarial act to be evidenced by a certificate that must be securely attached or made a part of a tangible record; or affixed to or logically associated with an electronic record. Requires the attaching, affixation or logical association of a notarial certificate to/with a record to conform to any standards of the Secretary of State. Provides that by executing a notarial certificate, a notarial officer certifies his/her/their compliance with certain statutory requirements and having made the required determinations. Prohibits a notarial officer from affixing his/her/their signature to a notarial certificate, or affixing or logically associating his/her/their signature to an electronic notarial certificate, until the notarial act has been performed.


Provides short-form certificate language for an acknowledgment in an individual capacity and a representative capacity; for a verification on oath or affirmation; for a signature witnessing; and for certifying a copy of a record.

Establishes the requirements (information) to be included in a completed notarial certificate. Provides that a notarial certificate is sufficient if it is in a short form set forth in Section 1917 of the Act; is in a form otherwise permitted by Maine law; is in a form permitted by applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the notarial act was performed; or sets forth the actions of the notarial officer and those actions are sufficient to meet Maine’s statutory requirements.

Requires a certificate of a notarial act to indicate performance of a notarial act using communication technology when that occurs, by means of a statement substantially like, “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.” Provides that a short-form notarial certificate is sufficient if it complies with administrative rules and with Section 1917 of the Act.

Official Stamp, Stamping Device  (Grey text is REVISED by subsequent legislation.  Official stamp now is allowed but NOT required of a notary public or other notarial officer notarizing a tangible record. In addition, a notary public must use an official stamp when notarizing an electronic record.  These changes effective 7-1-23; see LD 1980 on this page.)
Requires the certificate for a notarial act performed by a Notary Public with respect to a tangible record to include an official stamp. Provides the required information to be included in an official stamp and requires that an official stamp be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached, or with which it is logically associated. Makes the official stamp permissive (not required) for a notarial act performed by other notarial officers with respect to a tangible record, if certain specified information is included in the notarial certificate. Provides that if a notarial act regarding an electronic record is performed by a notarial officer (includes Notaries Public) and the certificate contains the specified information, an official stamp may (not must) be attached to or logically associated with the certificate on the electronic record.  

Sets requirements for a Notary Public’s responsibility with respect to security of the Notary Public’s stamping device. Prohibits a Notary Public from allowing another individual to use the Notary’s stamping device to perform a notarial act. Requires the Notary to take certain actions with respect to securing or disabling the stamping device upon the Notary’s resignation, commission revocation or expiration. Requires a Notary Public’s personal representative who is knowingly in possession of the stamping device to take specific actions to render the stamping device unusable upon the Notary’s death or adjudication of incompetency. Requires a Notary Public or personal representative or guardian to promptly notify the Secretary of State upon discovering the Notary’s stamping device is lost or stolen
.

Journal
Requires a notarial officer (all notarial officers, not only Notaries Public) to maintain a journal for all electronic and remote notarial acts performed. Journal may be tangible or electronic. Clarifies that a notarial officer may (not “shall”) maintain a journal for notarizations with respect to tangible records. Allows use of only one journal at a time in which to record all notarial acts performed with respect to tangible records; allows use of one or more journals in which to record all notarial acts performed with respect to electronic records.

Specifies the information to be recorded in every journal entry, and requires journal entries to be made contemporaneously with performance of the notarial act.

Allows use of a journal in a tangible or electronic format. Requires a journal in a tangible medium to be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. Requires a journal in an electronic format to be in a permanent, tamper-evident format complying with rules of the Secretary of State.

Requires a notarial officer to promptly notify the Secretary of State upon discovering the journal is lost or stolen.

Requires a (current and former) notarial officer to retain a journal for 10 years after performance of the last notarial act chronicled in it. Clarifies that a Notary Public’s duty to retain the journal for 10 years also applies to those who have resigned or have had their commissions revoked or suspended. Requires a former Notary Public to also inform the Secretary of State where the journal is stored/located. Allows a former Notary Public to instead transmit the journal to the Secretary of State or a repository approved by the Secretary. Requires a current or former Notary Public’s personal representative who is knowingly in possession of the journal to transmit it to the Secretary of State or an approved repository upon the Notary’s death or adjudication of incompetency.


Notarial Acts Regarding Electronic Records (for Physically Present Individuals)
Allows a Maine notarial officer to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records. Establishes that a person cannot require a Maine notarial officer to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record using a technology the notarial officer has not selected.


Requires a Maine notarial officer, before performing his/her/their initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, to notify the Secretary of State that the officer will be notarizing electronic records, and to identity the technology the notarial officer intends to use. Requires the technology to conform to any standards established by rule of the Secretary of State. Provides that the Secretary of State shall determine whether the notarial officer’s chosen technology is approved for use by a Maine notarial officer.

Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals

Authorizes a notarial officer to use communication technology to perform a notarial act (with respect to an electronic record) for a remotely located individual, subject to the requirements of law and any administrative rules of the Secretary of State. Establishes that a remotely located individual may personally appear before a notarial officer by use of communication technology.

Requires a notarial officer to notify the Secretary of State of his/her/their intent to perform notarial acts with respect to remotely located individuals, before performing any notarial act in such manner. Requires the notification to identify the technologies the notarial officer intends to use.

Establishes the requirements for use by a notarial officer of communication technology to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual who is within Maine, within the United States, or outside of the United States.

Prohibits performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual with respect to certain specified circumstances related primarily to elections. Also prohibits solemnization of marriage to be performed for a remotely located individual.


Authorizes a Maine notarial officer to use communication technology to take an acknowledgment of a signature on a tangible record. Requires the tangible record to be displayed to and identified by the remotely located individual during the required audiovisual recording of the notarization session. Requires the remotely located individual to execute a declaration that is part of or securely attached to the tangible record, in which the individual declares under penalty of perjury that the record of which the declaration is a part or to which it is attached is the same record on which the notarial officer performed a notarial act by means of communication technology for the remotely located individual. Requires the notarial officer to make an audiovisual recording of the session, and after receipt of the signed record and declaration, execute a notarial certificate that includes a specified statement. Provides that a notarial act so performed is effective on the date the remotely located individual signed the declaration. Does not preclude other procedures being used to satisfy the notarial officer’s requirement to reasonably confirm that the record in the notarial officer’s possession is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature.

Allows a Maine notarial officer to use communication technology to administer an oath or affirmation to a remotely located individual if the notarial officer identifies the individual as the law prescribes; creates or causes creation of an audiovisual recording of the individual taking the oath or affirmation; and retains or causes retention of the recording. Further provides that a notarial officer, a guardian, conservator or agent of a notarial officer or a personal representative of a deceased notarial officer is responsible for retaining audio-visual recordings or causing them to be retained by a designated repository. Sets a minimum 10-year retention period for retained recordings (which may be a greater period if so prescribed by administrative rule).

Requires a certificate of a notarial act to indicate performance of a notarial act using communication technology when that occurs, by means of a statement substantially like, “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.” Provides that a short-form notarial certificate is sufficient if it complies with administrative rules; or if it complies with Section 1917 of the Act and contains the required statement (above).

Temporary Remote Ink-Signed Notarial Acts
Extends, until July 1, 2023, the current temporary authorization for a Maine Notary Public to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual with respect to a tangible (ink-signed) record. (To be replaced on July 1, 2023 with the Act’s permanent authorization for a Maine notarial officer to use communication technology to take an acknowledgement of a signature on a tangible record.)


Administrative Rules
Provides broad administrative rulemaking authority to the Secretary of State to implement the provisions of the Act. Establishes that, by allowing their technology to facilitate a notarial act for a remotely located individual or providing storage of an audiovisual recording, providers of communication technology or identity proofing appoint the Secretary of State as the provider’s agent of service of process in any civil action in Maine related to the notarial act. Allows the Secretary of State to set by rule a reasonable fee for accepting such service of process.

In developing rules, requires the Secretary to consider, so far as is consistent with the Act, the most recent standards regarding electronic records promulgated by national bodies such as the National Association of Secretaries of State; standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions that enact provisions substantially similar to Maine’s Act; and the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.


Other Provisions
Clarifies that a Maine Notary Public commission in effect on the Act’s effective date of July 1, 2023 continues until its date of expiration. Clarifies that a Notary Public who applies to renew a Notary Public commission on or after July 1, 2023 is subject to and shall comply with the Act. Clarifies that a Notary Public performing notarial acts after July 1, 2023 shall comply with the Act.

Establishes that the Act does not affect the validity or effect of a notarial act performed before July 1, 2023.

Establishes that a Maine register of deeds may accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that a record accepted for recording be an original, if the notarial officer certifies in the notarial certificate that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Establishes that a facsimile of the Secretary of State’s signature imprinted by or at the direction of the Secretary upon any renewal of commission, any certificate of true copy, certificate of any record of the Secretary’s or certificate of good standing, or upon any attestation of the Secretary of State, by law has the same validity as the Secretary of State’s written signature.

 
MARYLAND – 01.02.08 NOTARY PUBLIC GENERAL REGULATIONS
Eff. 1.22.24
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Increases the fee that notaries public may charge for performance of notarial acts and remote notarial acts. Increases the notary public application processing fee for new and renewing applicants. Updates and clarifies the contact information that a notary must maintain on record with the Secretary of State, as well as where electronic communications regarding a notary’s commission are sent by the Secretary of State.


Charges and Fees
Increases, from $6 to a new amount of $8, the fee that a notary public may demand and receive for performance of an original notarial act (traditional “paper” notarizations).
Increases, from $25 to $30, the fee that a duly authorized Maryland remote notary may charge for performance of a remote notarial act.
Increases the fee a notary public may charge when the notary is asked to notarize more than one copy of the same record, where the copy or copies have been signed at the same time by the same person or persons. The notary may now charge $8 (formerly $6) for notarizing each signature on the original or first copy of the record, and may charge $4 (formerly $3) for each signature on each additional copy of the same record.
Increases the application processing fee for each application for a new or renewal notary commission, from $9 to the new fee of $25.

Change in Notary Name, Address or Email Information
Makes the following edits to the rule requiring notification to the Secretary of State of changes in a notary public’s personal information. Specifies that notification must be made within 30 days for the following changes (new text or terms are underlined):

Rule .09 Change in Name, address, or Email Information.
Notaries public are required to notify the Office of the Secretary of State within 30 days if, at anytime during their commission, a notary public changes their:

(Items A. – D., text unchanged)
E. Electronic Personal electronic mail (email) address;
F. Business phone number; or
G. Business Address, if one was provided at the time of application;
H. Business electronic mail (email) address, if one was provided at the time of application; or

[G.] I. (text unchanged)

Rule .10 Electronic Mail Communications
Effective January 1, 2021, and except for correspondence relating to enforcement actions, the Office of the Secretary of State will send all communications to notaries public using electronic mail only. Each notary public is responsible for ensuring the Office of the Secretary of State has a current and active personal email address.

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MARYLAND – SB 67
Effective 10-1-23
View this bill

Requires Maryland’s civil-commission appointees—including notaries public—to contact the appropriate county clerk to coordinate a time and place for the clerk to administer the appointee’s oath of office and present the individual’s commission, following the clerk’s receipt of the commission from the Governor. (This replaces the former requirement for the clerk, upon receiving an appointee’s civil commission, to immediately deliver the commission to the person to whom the commission is given. Notary candidates should verify oath of office procedures with their county clerk.)
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MARYLAND – HB 636
Effective October 1, 2023
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Current Maryland law prohibits public inspection of the part of a public record containing information about the application and commission of a person as a Notary Public. The law provides an exception to that prohibition for certain specified information. House Bill 636 adds a “Notary Public’s business email address or, if a business email address is not provided to the custodian by the Notary Public, the Notary Public’s personal email address” to the list of information about a Notary Public that the public must be allowed to inspect upon request.
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MARYLAND – SB 667
Effective April 11, 2023
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This bill corrects a drafting error in the Old Line State’s 2019 legislation that enacted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts and with it, remote online notarization.
The erroneous wording referred to a “Notary” with respect to performance of remote online notarizations, but should have specified “Notary Public” to clearly indicate that only Maryland’s commissioned Notaries Public may perform remote online notarizations subject to all legal requirements and specifications. Senate Bill 667 corrects this oversight.

 
MASSACHUSETTS—HB 58
(Various effective dates; see end of the following summary.)
View this bill

The Old Line State joins the majority of America’s states whose permanent laws authorize performance of remote online notarizations. House Bill 58 also addresses in-person electronic notarization (electronic notarization for a physically present individual).


General Provisions
Strikes Section 1, Chapter 222 of Massachusetts General Laws Part III, Title 1 and enacts the following new provisions.

(a) Definitions. Defines “acknowledgment,” “affirmation,” “appears in person” and “appears personally” and “personally appears,” “communication technology,” “copy certification,” “credential analysis,” “credible witness,” “dynamic knowledge-based authentication,” “electronic,” “electronic record,” “electronic signature,” “foreign state,” “identify proofing,” “journal,” “jurat,” “notarial act or notarization,” “notarial certificate,” “notarial seal,” “Notary Public or Notary,” “oath,” “official misconduct,” “personal knowledge of identity,” “principal,” “record,” “regular place of work or business,” “remotely-located individual,” “satisfactory evidence of identity,” “state secretary,” “signature witnessing,” “tamper-evident,” “tangible journal,” and “United States.”


(b) Notary’s Seal. Requires a Notary Public to keep an official notarial seal that shall be the exclusive property of the Notary Public. Prohibits a Notary Public from permitting another’s use of the official notarial seal. Requires a Notary Public to obtain a new official notarial seal upon commission renewal, upon receipt of a new commission or if the Notary’s name has changed.

Provides that a Notary’s notarial seal is a physical image or impression affixed, stamped or embossed on a tangible record; or an electronic image attached to or logically associated with an electronic record. Amends existing law to replace various references to “notarial seal or stamp” and “official notarial seal or stamp” with “notarial seal” or “seal.”

Requires a notarial seal to include the Notary Public’s name exactly as indicated on the commission; the words “Notary Public” and “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” or “Massachusetts”; the Notary’s commission expiration date expressed with the words: “My commission expires ___”; and a facsimile of the seal of the commonwealth.

Requires that a notarial seal requiring ink shall utilize (only) black ink. Allows a Notary Public’s seal to be a digital image that appears in the likeness or representation of a traditional physical Notary Public seal.

Allows only the Notary Public whose name and registration number appear on an electronic seal to affix that seal. Further requires an electronically generated electronic seal to include the words “Electronically affixed.” Provides that HB 58’s notarial seal requirements specified in bill Section 22 (b)(2) shall be satisfied by use of a notarial seal that includes all information required under Section 22 of HB 58.

Clarifies that failure to comply with the notarial seal provisions of bill Section 22 does not affect the validity of any instrument or the record thereof.


(c) Identifying Individuals Appearing for a Notarial Act. Requires a Notary’s identification of an individual to be based on:
i. at least 1 current document issued by a United States or state government agency bearing the photographic image of the individual’s face and signature;
ii. the oath or affirmation of a credible witness unaffected by the document or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual; or
iii. identification of an individual based on the notary public’s personal knowledge of the identity of the principal; provided, however, that for a person who is not a United States citizen, “satisfactory evidence of identity” shall mean identification of an individual based on a valid passport or other government-issued document evidencing the individual’s nationality or residence and which bears a photographic image of the individual’s face and signature.

Clarifies that for purposes of a notarial act performed using communication technology for a remotely-located individual, “satisfactory evidence of identity” shall be determined pursuant to Section 28 of HB 58 (see this summary’s section on “Notarizations Involving Technology”).


(d) Notary’s Journal. Amends current law to clarify that a Notary journal may be created on a fixed tangible medium or in an electronic format. Further provides that if maintained on a tangible medium, a journal shall be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages; and if maintained in an electronic format, a journal shall be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with the rules of the State Secretary.

Amends current law to provide that a Notary Public shall keep not more than one tangible journal at any time. Clarifies that that a Notary may keep more than one electronic journal at a time, provided that each electronic journal is in a permanent, tamper-evident format complying with rules of the State Secretary.

Amends the details of each notarial act that shall be recorded by a Notary Public in his/her/their journal. Requires a Notary Public, instead of recording in a journal entry the fee (if any) charged for the notarial act and the address where the notarization was performed, to record: a notation indicating whether the notarial act was conducted in person or remotely; the fee, if any charged for the notarial act; and the address where the notarization was performed. Clarifies that if the notarial act was performed remotely, the Notary’s journal record shall include the address of the Notary and each principal and witness (if applicable).

Replaces current law’s provisions regarding a journal being securely stored under the exclusive control of the Notary Public, not being used by any other Notary Public or surrendered to an employer upon employment termination, with the requirement that if not in use, a journal shall be kept under the exclusive control of the Notary Public or a third-party technology service provider designated by the Notary Public. Requires such third-party storage to include a mutual agreement between the Notary Public and the third-party service provider. Prohibits use of a Notary Public’s journal by any other Notary Public, and prohibits surrendering a journal to an employer upon termination of employment.

(e) Additional Powers. Enables Massachusetts Notaries to certify a tangible copy of an electronic record, by establishing the following requirements: (i) the copy contains a notarial certificate that satisfies all requirements for an original document to be accepted for recording; (ii) the copy satisfies all requirements for recording an original document set forth in Chapter 183 and 185, Massachusetts General Laws, as applicable; and the Notary Public executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.


Notarizations and Notarial Practices Involving Technology
Allows a Notary Public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records. Establishes that no person may require a Notary Public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record by using a technology that the Notary has not selected. Prohibits a Notary Public’s use of communication technology to notarize a record related to the electoral process, or a will, codicil or document purporting to be a will or codicil.


Requires a Notary Public, prior to performing their initial notarization using communication technology, to register with the State Secretary their intent to perform remote notarizations, and identify the communication technology the Notary Public intends to use. Requires such chosen communication technology to conform to the requirements of Massachusetts law and any administrative rules adopted by the State Secretary. Provides the information that shall be included in the notification to the State Secretary of intent to perform remote notarizations, including the Notary’s affirmation that they have read and will comply with Massachusetts law and administrative rules; proof that the Notary has successfully completed any training and examination required by law or the State Secretary; and the Notary’s identification of a usual place of business in Massachusetts or, if a foreign entity, a registered agent but in either case provide an address for service of process in connection with a civil action or other proceeding.

Requires a Notary Public, prior to performing their initial notarization using communication technology, to complete a two-hour, in-person or online course addressing the duties, obligations and technology requirements for conducting remote notarizations offered by the State Secretary or a vendor approved by the State Secretary. Requires each provider of communication technology to make the in-person or online course generally available to all applicants. Requires a course provider to charge each individual taking the course the same price for the course as charged to all other course-takers, regardless of a course-taker’s membership (if applicable) in the provider’s organization (unless the course is provided in conjunction with a regularly scheduled meeting of the provider’s membership).


Authorizes a Massachusetts Notary Public physically located in the Commonwealth to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely-located individual who is the principal in a notarial act, if the Notary Public:
has personal knowledge of the identity of the remotely-located individual; has identified the remotely-located individual by means of an oath or affirmation of a credible witness unaffected by the document or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the remotely-located individual; or reasonably can identify the remotely-located individual by at least 2 different types of identity proofing processes or services;
is able to execute the notarial act in a single, real-time session;
is reasonably able to confirm that a record before the notary public is the same record in which the remotely-located individual made a statement or on which the remotely-located individual executed a signature; and
the notary public, or a person acting on behalf of the notary public, creates an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act.


Specifies requirements for a registered Notary Public physically located in the Commonwealth to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual (“remote online notarization”):
(a) The remotely located individual is the principal in a notarial act and is located inside the United States; or is located outside the United States if the record is to be filed with or relates to a matter before a public official or court, governmental entity or other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; or involves property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or a transaction substantially connected with the United States; and the act of making the statement or signing the record is not prohibited by the foreign state in which the remotely-located individual is located.
(b) The Notary Public’s notarial certificate for a remote online notarization indicates that the notarial act was performed remotely using communication technology, and identifies the venue of the notarial act as the county within Massachusetts where the Notary was physically located while performing the notarial act.

(c) The Notary Public, or the Notary’s guardian, conservator, agent or personal representative, retains the required audio-visual recording of the remote notarization or causes the recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the recording (for 10 years after the recording is made).

Requires a Notary Public registered to perform remote online notarizations to make available, upon request, electronic copies of pertinent entries in the Notary’s electronic journal, and provide access to any related audio-video communication recording. Clarifies that such requested electronic copies and access shall be given to the parties to an electronic record notarized by the Notary Public; the title insurer reviewing an insured transaction in the context of an audit of its agent under specified circumstances; and any other persons pursuant to a subpoena, court order, law enforcement investigation or other lawful inspection demand.


Identifying Remotely Located Individuals
Establishes minimum standards for a Notary Public to identify a remotely located individual, recognizing that the State Secretary may adopt by rule standards that are equally or more protective.

Requires identity proofing by means of dynamic knowledge-based authentication that has, as a minimum, these security characteristics:

(a) Identity proofing by means of dynamic knowledge-based authentication that shall have, at a minimum, the following security characteristics:
1. the remotely-located individual shall be presented with 5 or more questions with a minimum of 5 possible answer choices per question;

2. each question shall be drawn from a third-party provider of public and proprietary data sources and shall be identifiable to the social security number or other identification information of the remotely-located individual, or such individual’s identity and historical events records;
3. responses to all questions shall be made within a 2-minute time constraint;
4. the remotely-located individual shall answer a minimum of 80 per cent of the questions correctly;
5. if the remotely-located individual fails the first attempt, the individual may be offered 1 additional attempt within 24 hours of the initial failed attempt; and
6. during the second attempt, the remotely-located individual may not be presented with more than 3 questions from the prior attempt.


(b) Identity proofing by means of credential analysis using 1 or more commercially available automated software or hardware processes that, consistent with sound commercial practices:
1. aid the Notary Public in verifying the authenticity of the credential by analyzing the integrity of visual, physical or cryptographic security features to indicate that the credential is not fraudulent or inappropriately modified; and
2. use information held or published by the issuing source or authoritative source to confirm the validity of credential details. The results of the credential analysis process shall be provided to the Notary Public performing the notarial act.


Notary’s Official Seal
Allows a Notary Public’s notarial seal to be a digital image that appears in the likeness or representation of a traditional physical Notary Public seal. Specifies that only the Notary Public whose name and registration number appear on an electronic seal shall affix that seal. Requires an electronically generated notarial seal to include the words “Electronically affixed.” (See additional notarial seal requirements in “General Provisions,” above.)


Amends Section 16(a)(vi), Chapter 222 of the Massachusetts General Laws Part III, Title 1, by clarifying that a Notary Public shall not be precluded from receiving an additional technology services fee that has been clearly disclosed in advance to the person requesting the service and that technology services fee reflect the actual reasonable cost to the Notary Public of utilizing a third-party technology service provider.

Requirements, Providers of Communication Technology or Identity Proofing
Requires the State Secretary to establish standards for approval of technologies for use by Notaries Public commissioned by the Commonwealth. Establishes that any technology approved by the State Secretary and selected by a Notary Public shall require the Notary Public’s electronic signature and seal to be (i) unique to the Notary Public; (ii) capable of independent verification; (iii) retained under the sole control of the Notary Public; and (iv) attached to or logically associated with the electronic record in a tamper-evident manner.


Requires a communication technology service provider to maintain errors and omissions insurance coverage in a total amount of at least $250,000 in the annual aggregate. Relieves the registered Notary Public of responsibility for security of the systems used by the remotely-located individual or others to access the notarization session.

Establishes that by allowing its communication technology or identity proofing to facilitate a remote notarization, or by providing storage of the audio-visual recording of a remote notarization, the provider of the communication technology, identity proofing or storage shall appoint the State Secretary as the provider’s agent for service of process in any civil action in the Commonwealth related to the notarial act.


Requires audio-video communication technology to meet certain requirements:
(a) The technology’s signal transmission shall be reasonably secure from interception, access or viewing by anyone other than the participants communicating; and
(b) The technology shall provide sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the notary to communicate with the remotely-located individual and any witness and to confirm the identity of the remotely-located individual and any witness, as required, using identity proofing.
(c) The communication technology shall have satisfied tamper-evident technology requirements by use of technology that renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic record evident.


Real-Estate Closings Involving Use of Communication Technology.
Defines the following terms with respect to real estate closings involving the use of communication technology: “closing,” and “creditor.” Clarifies that these terms shall have the meaning specified in their definitions, unless the context clearly requires otherwise.


Establishes limitations on the performance of notarial acts utilizing communication technology, with respect to any document executed in the course of a closing (as defined in HB 58). For those documents, HB 58 prohibits (notwithstanding any general or specific law to the contrary) performance of an acknowledgment, affirmation or other notarial act utilizing communication technology by any person who is not a Massachusetts-licensed attorney (active, in good standing). Non-attorney Notaries Public are allowed to perform an acknowledgment, affirmation or notarial act utilizing communication technology and with respect to a document executed in the course of a closing, only if the Notary is under the direct supervision of, or acting pursuant to a direct request by, the attorney directing or managing the closing. Specifies the closing-related activities contemplated by these limitations:
Directing or managing a closing;
giving or furnishing legal advice as to the legal status of title;
ensuring that the seller, or the borrower-mortgagor in a mortgage refinancing transaction, is in a position to convey marketable title to the residential property at issue;
issuing a certification of title pursuant to section 70 of chapter 93;
drafting a deed to real property on behalf of another;
ensuring that the documents necessary for the transfer of title are executed and acknowledged in accordance with the laws of the commonwealth; or
disbursing, or managing the disbursement, of consideration for the conveyance.


Requires any communication technology to be engaged by the closing attorney with the approval of the lender. Requires that, upon successful verification of the identity of the remotely-located individual by the Notary, the closing attorney shall enter and affirm the attorney’s Board of Bar Overseers registration number prior to the conduct of the first notarial act. Mandates that the communication technology is responsible for recording such information in a manner that is logically associated with the transaction, and for retaining such information for the same length of time and in the same manner as it retains all other information regarding the notarial act.

Requires that the notarial certificate affixed to a document executed in the course of a closing shall recite the officiating attorney’s Board of Bar Overseers registration number, or that of the supervising attorney when the notarization is performed by a non-attorney. Provides that failure to comply with these specified limitations shall not affect the validity of the document or of the recording thereof.

Handling of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Prohibits a Notary Public from using, selling, offering to sell to another person, or transferring to another person for use or sale any personal information that identifies a remotely located individual, a witness to a remote notarization or a person named in a record presented for remote notarization and obtained under HB 58’s journal requirement provisions, except as necessary to: facilitate performance of a notarial act; to effect, administer, enforce, service or process a record provided by or on behalf of the individual or the transaction of which the record is a part; or in accordance with Section 28, including the rules adopted pursuant thereto, or other applicable federal or state law, or to comply with a lawful subpoena or court order.


Sanctions and Remedies
Amends Section 18 of Chapter 222, Massachusetts General Laws Part III, Title 1, by establishing that the State Secretary may order a Notary Public to comply with Massachusetts law when the State Secretary has cause to believe the Notary Public has engaged in a pattern of conduct or a standard, practice or procedure that the State Secretary determines is contrary to Section 46E of Chapter 221, Massachusetts General Laws. Authorizes the State Secretary to adopt regulations governing administrative procedures for such circumstances. Provides that the Massachusetts Attorney General may enforce such an order by the Secretary of State against a Notary Public, and clarifies that the relevant provisions of HB 58 do not limit the availability of judicial remedies. Enables persons having an interest or right that is or may be adversely affected by a violation of this section to initiate an action against the person or creditor for private monetary remedies.


Amends current Massachusetts law to state that the failure of a document to contain an acknowledgement that the instrument was the voluntary or free act and deed of the principal or, if executed in a representative capacity, the party on whose behalf the principal is signing shall not affect the validity of the underlying document or the recording of the document.

Administrative Rules and Similar
Requires the State Secretary to:
establish standards for use of communication technology and identity proofing;
create and maintain a registry to communication technology service providers who meet the established standards as certified by the communication technology service provider, to enable a Notary Public to use communication technology and identity proofing services only from service providers included on the State Secretary’s registry.


Authorizes the Massachusetts Chief Justice of the Land Court to promulgate rules, orders, guidelines and directives concerning Sections 27 and 28 of HB 58 as they pertain to the execution, acknowledgment and registration of documents affecting title to land whose title has been registered and confirmed by the Land Court pursuant to Chapter 185 (dealing with the Land Court and Registration of Title to Land).

Authorizes the State Secretary, additionally, to prescribe the means of performing a notarial act involving a remotely-located individual using communication technology; and establish standards for the retention of the mandatory audio-visual recording.

Requires the Secretary to implement administrative rules not later than January 1, 2024, and sets a timeline for promulgation of rules by the Chief Justice of the Land Court.

Technical Amendments to Current Law, and Effective Dates
House Bill 58 makes numerous technical amendments to current law, and provides effective dates for multiple bill provisions. The bill was signed on March 29, 2023.


Effective dates for key bill provisions are:
1. Implementation of rules by the Secretary of State – no later than January 1, 2024.
2. Bill Sections 22 through 32, inclusive, shall take effect 90 days after the effective date of HB 58 (June 27, 2023; calculated from the date the Governor signed the bill).
3. Specified provisions of Bill Section 33 shall take effect on January 1, 2024. These provisions deal primarily with remote online notarization authorization, RON technology and technology provider requirements, acceptance of notary-certified tangible copies of electronic records, prohibitions against a Notary’s use, sale or offer to sell/transfer personally identifiable information obtained and permitted uses.

 
MONTANA – SB 330
Effective 10-1-23
View this bill

Amends Section 7-4-2611, Montana Code Annotated, by requiring a county clerk to accept electronic notarizations completed in accordance with MCA Title 1, Chapter 5, Part 6 (Montana’s Notary Public law).

 
NEBRASKA ― Notary Public Rules
Title 433, Chapter 6, Nebraska Administrative Code

Effective 11-25-23
Email kathleen@asnnotary.org for a copy of these rules.


Amends various provisions of Nebraska’s general notary public administrative rules.

Amends Rule 002.03(A) to provide that the signature on the most recent application or bond, will be used for verification; therefore, the Notary Public should always sign consistently with his or her application or bond signature.

Streamlines Rule 003, Applications and Other Forms, to state that the forms required to obtain and maintain a notary public commission will be made available to all applicants on the Secretary of State’s website or upon request.


Clarifies Rule 004.01 to provide that the rule lists requirements for successful commission application.

Simplifies Rule 004.02’s language by stating that renewal applications must be received no later than the date the commission expires. Provides that renewal applications received after the commission expiration date will instead be considered an initial application. Lists the (same) forms required with a commission renewal application, but renames Form 004.02(E) as “Evidence of Employment in Nebraska Form,” to be submitted by non-resident applicants.

Removes, in Section 004.04, references to the “Nebraska Board of Pardons,” with respect to pardons that may be granted for certain crimes that disqualify an applicant from receiving a notary public commission.

Clarifies Rule 004.05 by stating that an applicant must be a resident of the State of Nebraska or (1) reside in one of the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, or Wyoming and (2) maintain a regular place of work or business in Nebraska.


Amends Rule 004.05(A) to require non-resident applicants to submit the form titled “Evidence of Employment in Nebraska (listed under Section 003.01(E)).

Amends Rule 004.05(B) to require (not suggest) that non-resident applicants who are self-employed must attach a written explanation to the “Evidence of Employment in Nebraska” form (noted above).

Clarifies in Rule 005.01(A) that a Notary Public must continue to sign his or her name using the name as listed on the commission certificate.

Expands Rule 005.01(B) by specifying that a notary public’s name change may be updated by filing out and submitting the “Notary Public Request to Change Record” along with a new bond form or bond rider that updates the initial bond with the notary’s new name. Requires, in Rule 005.01(B)(1), that a notary public obtain a new seal upon receiving a new commission certificate reflecting a name change.


Clarifies, in Rule 005.01(B)(2), that a name change does not change or extend the term of a notary public commission.

In Rule 005.02(A), clarifies that a notary public must update his or her address when moving by filling out and submitting the “Notary Public Request to Change Record” form within 45 days of moving.

Clarifies in Rule 005.03(A) that a non-resident notary public who is terminated from a regular place of work or business in Nebraska must relinquish their Notary Public commission by returning the commission certificate and seal to the Secretary.


Clarifies in Rule 005.04(A) that a notary public convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud or dishonesty during the notary’s commission term must notify the Secretary of such conviction by filling out and submitting the “Notary Public Request to Change Record” form within 45 days after the conviction occurs.

Provides, in Rule 006.03, that each applicant shall have three (3) attempts to take and pass the Notary Public Examination. Requires an applicant who fails the second exam attempt to wait thirty (30) days before taking the third and final exam. Specifies that an applicant who fails the examination three (3) times will be considered incompetent to receive a Notary Public commission in the State of Nebraska and will not be eligible to take the exam again.


Shortens, in Rule 006.03(A), the period of time that a passing exam score will be valid, from the former 2 years to the newly shortened period of 90 days from the date of examination. Amends Rule 006.03(B) to also reflect the newly shortened period of 90 days from the date of examination that a passing score will be valid.

Clarifies, in Rule 007.03(C)(2), that during a commission revocation the notary commission and seal must be returned to the Secretary of State’s office.

Revises Rule Section 008, Fees, to omit mention of the fees for a commission name change or a duplicate commission.
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NEBRASKA ― Electronic Notaries Public
Title 433, Chapter 7, Nebraska Administrative Code

Effective 11-25-23
Email kathleen@asnnotary.org for a copy of these rules.

Defines the following terms, in addition to terms defined in the Electronic Notary Public Act:
• "Applicant" means a person applying for registration as a Nebraska electronic notary public.
• "Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider" means a person or entity approved to provide an Electronic Notarization System by the Secretary pursuant to the Electronic Notary Public Act.
• "Biometric Authentication" means proving the identity of a user by verification of the user's identity through technologies that measure and analyze one or more human physiological or behavioral characteristics of the user in order to access and use an Electronic Notarization System. Biometric Authentication technologies include fingerprint scanning devices, retinal scanning devices, and handwriting analysis devices.
• "Electronic Notarization System" means a set of applications, programs, hardware, software, or technology designed to enable an electronic notary public to perform electronic notarizations.
• "Independently Verifiable" means capable of government or third-party authentication of a notarial act, a notary's identity, and a Notary Public’s relevant authority.
• “Notary Public” means a person commissioned as a notary public under Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 64-101 to 64-119.
• "Password Authentication" means the user enters a secret word, phrase, or symbol set in order to access and use an Electronic Notarization System.
• “Secretary" means the Nebraska Secretary of State and his or her designated staff.
• "Token Authentication" means the use of a physical device in addition to a password or personal identification number ("PIN" ) in order to access and use an Electronic Notarization System. Physical devices used in Token Authentication technologies include magnetic cards or "smart cards" and Universal Serial Bus (USB) memory sticks or "USB keys".
• "Under his or her exclusive control,” for the purposes of the Secretary’s interpretation of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-310, means “under the electronic notary public’s sole control” as defined in this Chapter.
• "Under the electronic notary public’s sole control" means accessible by and attributable solely to the electronic notary public to the exclusion of all other persons and entities, either through being in the direct physical custody of the electronic notary public or through being secured with one or more Biometric Authentication, Password Authentication, Token Authentication, or other authentication technologies in an Electronic Notarization System provided by an Approved Electronic Notary Public Solution Provider approved pursuant to the Electronic Notary Public Act and this Chapter.

Registration as an Electronic Notary Public
Requires that to qualify for registration as an electronic notary public, an applicant will need to:
1. provide all information needed for registration pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-304;
2. hold a valid Nebraska Notary Public commission;
3. certify that he or she continues to meet the qualifications of a Notary Public;
4. take the course of instruction and pass the examination as stated in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-305;
5. pay the registration fee; and,
6. provide any other information requested by the Secretary to prove the qualifications of the Applicant.

Specifies that the forms required to register and maintain a registration as an electronic notary public will be made available to all applicants on the Secretary of State’s website or upon request.

Requires that a Notary Public applying to renew his or her registration as an electronic notary public will so indicate on his or her notary public renewal application and pay the fee for registration as an electronic notary public, in addition to the fee for renewal of his or her Notary Public commission.

Requires that an electronic notary public who fails to renew their registration at the same time the Notary Public commission is renewed shall submit a new application for registration and meet all the requirements of Section 003 of Chapter 7, in order to be registered as an electronic notary public.

Establishes that the Secretary of State will administer the training course and testing for Applicants for electronic notary public registration. Allows the Secretary, upon determining the need for additional instructors, to designate a third-party training course for Applicants or appoint certified Notary Public instructors to administer the training course and testing for Applicants for electronic notary public registration.

Provides that the fee for registering or re-registering as an electronic notary public is $100.

Notary Applicant Exam, Passing Score
Establishes that a passing score on Nebraska’s notary public examination is 85% or better. Allows each applicant to have three (3) attempts to take and pass the electronic notaries public examination. Deems any applicant who fails the examination three (3) times to be incompetent to be registered as an electronic notary public and ineligible to take the exam again.

Notary’s Electronic Signature
Specifies that the electronic signature of an electronic notary public shall be independently verifiable and unique to the electronic notary public. Further specifies that the electronic notary public’s electronic signature is to be retained under the electronic notary public’s sole control.

Requires that when the electronic notary public performs an electronic notarization, the electronic signature used by the electronic notary public shall be accessible by and attributable solely to the electronic notary public to the exclusion of all other persons and entities for the entire time necessary to perform the electronic notarization.

Specifies that the electronic notary public’s electronic signature shall be attached or logically associated with the document, linking the data in such a manner that any subsequent alterations to the underlying document or electronic notary certificate are observable through visual examination.

Requires an image of the electronic notary public's handwritten signature is to appear on any visual or printed representation of an electronic notary public certificate regardless of the technology being used to affix the electronic notary public's electronic signature.

Electronic Notary Seal
Requires an electronic notary seal to be independently verifiable, unique to the electronic notary public, and retained under the electronic notary public’s sole control.
Specifies that when the electronic notary public performs an electronic notarization, the electronic seal used by the electronic notary public shall be accessible by and attributable solely to the electronic notary public to the exclusion of all other persons and entities for the entire time necessary to perform the electronic notarization.
Requires the electronic notary seal to be attached or logically associated with the electronic document, linking the data in such a manner that any subsequent alterations to the underlying document or electronic notary certificate are observable through visual examination.
Requires an image of the electronic notary public's electronic notary seal to appear on any visual or printed representation of the electronic notary certificate regardless of the technology being used to affix the electronic notary public's electronic notary seal.
Specifies that the perimeter of the electronic notary seal shall contain a border such that the physical appearance of the seal replicates the appearance of an inked seal on paper. Requires the electronic notary seal to have, within its border, the electronic notary public’s name exactly as commissioned, the words “Electronic Notary Public,” the words “Nebraska” and the commission expiration date.

Principal’s Appearance Before an Electronic Notary
Requires that when an electronic notary public performs an electronic notarization, the principal and the electronic notary public must be in each other's physical presence during the entire electronic notarization so that the principal and the electronic notary public can see, hear, communicate with, and give identification documents as stated in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-105 to each other without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or facsimile machines.

Electronic Notary Solution Provider Application
Requires any person or entity applying to the Secretary for designation as an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to complete and submit an application to the Secretary for review and approval before authorizing any electronic notary seals or electronic signatures to Nebraska electronic notaries. Specifies the information to be included in this application.

Allows an electronic notary solution provider to appeal a denial by the Secretary of the provider’s application for designation as an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider, under Nebraska’s Administrative Procedures Act.

Specifies criteria for approval of electronic notary solution providers, including that a provider's principals or employees take the mandatory electronic notary public education course and pass the examination as is necessary to ensure the provider possesses sufficient familiarity with Nebraska's electronic notary public laws and regulations.

Provider Changes, Modifications or Updates to Submitted Information
Requires an electronic notary solution provider to notify the Secretary within forty-five (45) days of changes, modifications, or updates to information previously submitted to the Secretary. Further requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to provide notice to the Secretary within forty-five (45) days before making available to Nebraska electronic notaries public any updates or subsequent versions of the provider's Electronic Notarization System. Establishes that the Secretary may remove the designation of the Approved Electronic Notary solution provider if the changes to Electronic Notarization System do not meet the requirements of the Electronic Notary Public Act and this Chapter.

Notary’s Electronic Seal, Electronic Signature
Prohibits an employer and any of the employer’s employees or agents from using or permitting use of an electronic notary seal or signature by anyone other than the authorized electronic notary public to whom it is registered.

Specifies that access to electronic notary signatures and electronic notary seals shall be protected by use of a Biometric Authentication, Password Authentication, Token Authentication, or other form of authentication approved by the Secretary according to the Electronic Notary Public Act and these rules.

Prescribes how an electronic notary public shall report—pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-310, the theft or vandalism of his or her electronic signature, electronic notary seal, or electronic record, including the backup record, is to do so in writing to the Secretary within ten (10) days after discovering the theft or vandalism. Establishes that failure to report the theft or vandalism as required in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-310 may subject the electronic notary public to having his or her registration as an electronic notary public removed.

Records of Electronic Notarial Acts
Requires, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-310, an electronic notary public to keep a journal of all electronic notarizations he or she performs. Further requires an electronic notary public to present this journal, or any portion thereof, to the Secretary upon written request.

Requires an electronic notary public to maintain this journal record, and the backup record, for at least ten (10) years after the date of the notarial act. Imposes removal of an electronic notary’s registration for failure to maintain the record or backup record for the specified retention period, or for failure to timely provide the record upon request by the Secretary.

Reasons for Removal of Electronic Notary Registration
Establishes that an electronic notary public violating the Electronic Notary Public Act or this Chapter is subject to having his or her registration removed. Specifies that any removal of a registration will be under the removal procedures provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-113 and 433 NAC 6 007.

Change of Electronic Notary Public Information or Registration Status
Requires that, in addition to complying with Title 433 NAC 6 005, Changes to Notary Public Commission Information, an electronic notary public must notify the Secretary in writing within forty-five (45) days after changing his or her Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider.

Requires such a new, Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to submit an exemplary of the new electronic notary public’s electronic signature and the electronic notary seal to the Secretary for the electronic notary public. Specifies that failure to timely notify the Secretary may subject the electronic notary public to having his or her registration removed.

Required Actions – Changes in Electronic Notary Public Status or Circumstances
Establishes that an electronic notary public, or his or her duly authorized representative, must certify in writing to the Secretary that he or she has erased, deleted, or destroyed the coding, disk, certificate, card, software, file, password, or program that enables the electronic affixation of the electronic notary public's electronic signature and electronic notary seal, in compliance with Neb. Rev. Stat. § 64-311, within three months after the registration of the electronic notary public expires, is resigned, canceled, or revoked or upon the death of the electronic notary public.
 
NEW MEXICO – Administrative Rules, Notarial Procedures
Effective June 16, 20233
View these rules

These administrative rules address issues relating to the recent statutory creation of a New Mexico “automatic notarial officer”; and amends certain other provisions of New Mexico’s administrative code dealing with notary matters.

Amends the “Definitions” found in 12.9.3 NMAC, Section 7, by:
striking the reference to Paragraph (4) of Subsection A of Section 14-14A-9-NMSA 1978 from the definition of "county clerk duties."
deleting the definition of “notary seal,” thereby deleting the former rule’s direction that “notary seal” meant “official stamp” and that the terms could be used interchangeably.

Establishes in rules that a person applying for or renewing a notary public commission shall apply electronically or by paper application, using the prescribed application form issues by the Secretary of State.

Deems a notary public to be non-compliant with New Mexico’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) upon such notary’s failure to provide a copy of their official stamp to the Secretary of State, within 45 days of receiving the notary public commission and prior to the notary public performing their first notarial act. Clarifies that failure to comply with this rule shall result in a referral to the state ethics commission.

Requires both a notary public applicant and an automatic notarial officer to provide proof of passing the required examination with a score of 80% or higher.


Aligns with applicable statutes by deleting, from administrative rule NMAC Sec. 12.9.3.14, the requirement that an official stamp for a New Mexico notary public or notarial officer not contain the New Mexico state seal. Adds to this administrative rule that an official stamp for a New Mexico notary public or notarial officer shall include the official notary seal as defined in NMSA 14-14A-2, Section L; this statutory definition states that “official notary seal” means the great seal of the State of New Mexico, unless:
the secretary of state has adopted a seal specific for use by notarial officers; provided that as applied to automatic notarial officers, “official notary seal” includes as an option:
(1) for judicial officers, the seal of the court, if the supreme court has approved a seal for such court and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state;
(2) for the secretary of state or a full-time staff member of the secretary of state’s office, the seal of the secretary of state, if the secretary of state has approved a seal and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state;
(3) for county clerks or deputy county clerks, the seal of the county, if the board of county commissioners has approved a seal for the county and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state; and
(4) for a person who is licensed to practice law and who is not performing a notarial act pursuant to Paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection, a seal approved by the state bar of New Mexico for such purpose and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state.


Amends rule provisions relating to a notary’s journal, by deleting the language specifying that a notarial officer shall provide a copy of a requested journal entry or audiovisual recording related to a specified notarial act to a member of the public upon request pursuant to Section 14-14A-29, NMSA 1978.

Aligns administrative rules with statutory provisions by adding to NMAC 12.9.3.16(A) the requirement for an automatic notarial officer to provide proof of having successfully completed an approved training course and passing the required examination prior to the notarial officer’s initial notarial act.

Deletes a prior rule provision regarding the commission expiration date of December 31, 2021 for a notarial officer authorized to practice law in New Mexico, and who was commissioned under the previous Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Also deletes a prior rule provision requiring a notary public with a certain commission date to upload a copy of the notary’s official stamp that conforms to Subsection A of Section 14-14A-16 NMSA, 1978 and 12.9.3.14 NMAC.


Clarifies that a new, automatic notarial officer who is not a notary public shall upload a copy of the notarial officer’s official stamp to the Secretary of State prior to the notarial officer’s initial notarial act.

Establishes that within one year of the effective date of this rule, an existing automatic notarial officer shall upload a copy of the notarial officer’s official stamp to the Secretary of State and shall provide proof of having successfully completed an approved training course and passing the required examination.

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NEW MEXICO – SB 246
Effective June 16, 2023
View this bill

Substantially amends New Mexico’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). Makes numerous amendments to current law that clarify statutory cites and references.


Definitions
Adds newly defined terms:
· “Automatic notarial officer” - any of the following who has registered an official stamp with the Secretary of State: (1) a judicial officer; (2) the Secretary of State or a full-time staff member of the Secretary of State's office while performing a notarial act within the scope of the Secretary of State's or staff member's duties; (3) a county clerk or deputy county clerk while performing a notarial act within the scope of the county clerk's or deputy county clerk's duties; and (4) an individual who is a member of the state bar of New Mexico and licensed to practice law.
· “Judicial officer” – any of the following: a judge of a state court of New Mexico; a special commissioner or hearing officer appointed pursuant to Supreme Court rule and employed by a state court; a special master appointed pursuant to Supreme Court rule or state statute; or a court clerk or deputy court clerk of a New Mexico state court.

· “Licensed to practice law”—a person who is a member of the New Mexico state bar and, based on such membership, is authorized to practice law before New Mexico courts;
· “Official notary seal”-- means the great seal of the State of New Mexico, unless the secretary of state has adopted a seal specific for use by notarial officers. Provides that as applied to automatic notarial officers, "official notary seal" includes as an option:
(1) for judicial officers, the seal of the court, if the supreme court has approved a seal for such court and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state;
(2) for the secretary of state or a full-time staff member of the secretary of state's office, the seal of the secretary of state, if the secretary of state has approved a seal and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state;
(3) for county clerks or deputy county clerks, the seal of the county, if the board of county commissioners has approved a seal for the county and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state; and
(4) for a person who is licensed to practice law and who is not performing a notarial act pursuant to Paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection, a seal approved by the state bar of New Mexico for such purpose and the seal has been filed with the secretary of state.

Amends these terms defined in existing law:
· “Notarial act”—provides that this term does not apply to any act that would otherwise be a notarial act if (1) the act is performed by a judicial officer within the scope of the judicial officer's duties; and (2) the record is filed in the court of the judicial officer.
· “Notarial officer”—clarifies that this term means an automatic notarial officer; and a Notary Public.
· “Notary Public”—clarifies that this term means an individual commissioned to be a Notary Public and authorized by such commission to perform notarial acts pursuant to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.

Performing Notarial Acts
Clarifies that a notarial officer (which includes an automatic notarial officer, and a commissioned Notary Public) shall perform all notarial acts pursuant to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts or by other law of New Mexico.

Expands, to other notarial officers besides a Notary Public, authorization to use communication technology to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual. Requires a notarial officer (not only Notaries Public) to take the required class prior to performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual. Makes numerous revisions to existing statutes dealing with notarizations performed for remotely located individuals, to reflect that all notarial officers (not just Notaries Public) may perform remote notarizations (subject to all requirements of law and administrative rules), and to charge all notarial officers with the statutory responsibilities of performing remote online notarizations.


Establishes that a notarial act performed by a New Mexico notarial officer, for an individual who is remotely located outside of the United States, “is deemed to be performed in this state and therefore does not require an Apostille in the form otherwise prescribed by the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961.”

Clarifies that, in accordance with the Human Rights Act, neither a Notary Public nor a notarial officer shall discriminate when refusing to perform a notarial act, or with respect to the manner in which a notarial act is performed pursuant to New Mexico’s RULONA.

Establishes that a notarial act may be performed in New Mexico by an automatic notarial officer of New Mexico. Provides that an automatic notarial officer shall use an official stamp when performing notarial acts, unless a state law specifies that an official stamp is not required for that notarial act. Clarifies that statutory provisions relating to the security and disposition of a stamping device are applicable to all notarial officers (not solely to Notaries Public).


Clarifies that, with respect to a notarial act performed in another state (by a Notary Public or notarial officer of that state), an official stamp is required unless the state’s law specifies that an official stamp is not required by that notarial officer or for performance of that notarial act.

Amends all statutory references to federally recognized “Indian tribes” by instead using the phrase, “federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or pueblo.” Clarifies references to the law of such nations, tribes or pueblos with the term, “written law.” Provides that an official stamp is required for use by a notarial officer of an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo unless the laws of the nation, tribe or pueblo specify that an official stamp is not required by that notarial officer for that notarial act.


Establishes, that with respect to notarial acts performed under federal law by individuals authorized to do so, use of an official stamp by these notarial officers is required unless a law specifies that an official stamp is not required by that federal notarial officer or for that notarial act.

With respect to notarial acts performed under the law of a foreign state, an official stamp is required unless a law of the foreign state specifies that an official stamp is not required by that notarial officer or for that notarial act.

Clarifies requirements for the certificate of a notarial act. Provides that a notarial certificate shall be signed by the notarial officer in the same manner as on file with the Secretary of State. Clarifies the notarial certificate requirements if the individual performing the notarial act is an automatic notarial officer.


Amends statutes dealing with prohibited acts of a Notary Public, to also apply them to notarial officers/automatic notarial officers.

Fees for Notarial Acts
Clarifies that a notarial officer (including a Notary Public) may charge fees for performing notarial acts, in accordance with Section 14-14A-28 NMSA 1978 (Laws 2021, Chapter 21, Section 28).

Recordkeeping
Requires notarial officers of New Mexico to maintain a journal in which all notarial acts performed shall be chronicled. Requires a notarial officer to retain the journal for ten years after performance of the last notarial act chronicled in it.

Allows a journal to be created on a tangible medium or in an electronic format. Clarifies that a notarial officer licensed to practice law in New Mexico shall maintain a journal when performing notarial acts for members of the public unrelated to an established attorney-client relationship, and shall maintain only one journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts whether they pertain to tangible or electronic records.


Commission Qualifications and Related Matters
Removes current law’s requirement that an applicant for a New Mexico Notary Public commission be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States. Amends current law to clarify that certain judicial officers (as newly defined), the Secretary of State or any full-time staff member of the Secretary of State’s office may also be commissioned as a Notary Public to perform notarial acts outside the individual’s scope of duties as an automatic notarial officer. Clarifies that the Secretary of State’s notice of commission expiration shall be mailed to each notarial officer approaching expiration of a commission.

Establishes educational requirements for automatic notarial officers. Requires attendance in such course (in-person or online) before the person’s seal may be registered with the Secretary of State. Requires course attendees to demonstrate an understanding of the course material, which shall cover laws, rules, procedures and ethics relevant to being an automatic notarial officer.

Authorizes the state ethics commission to revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a notarial officer for any act or omission that demonstrates that the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a notarial officer; provides examples of such acts and omissions. Authorizes the Secretary of State to deny or refuse to renew an applicant upon notice from the state ethics commission of adverse action upon an applicant or a notarial officer.

Secretary of State, Ethics Commission Responsibilities
Requires the Secretary of State’s electronic database of Notaries Public to include notarial officers.


Clarifies that the Secretary of State may adopt rules to implement the Secretary’s responsibilities pursuant to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Authorizes the state ethics commission to adopt rules to implement the commission’s responsibilities pursuant to New Mexico’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Defines the scope of the state ethics commission’s rulemaking.

Effect of SB 246’s Adoption
Deletes current law’s provision that a notarial officer authorized to practice law in New Mexico may perform notarial acts with no expiration of such authority, but must maintain an active license to practice law.

Clarifies that a notarial officer, in performing notarial acts after the effective date of New Mexico’s RULONA or any amendments to it shall comply with the most recent version of the RULONA in effect.


Provides that when changes to the official stamp are adopted in the RULONA or by rule of the Secretary of State, a notarial officer who has registered a stamp with the Secretary of State may continue to use the registered stamp until expiration of the notarial officer’s commission as a Notary Public, if applicable; or for one year following the effective date of the change, in the case of an automatic notarial officer. Requires the Secretary of State to notify notarial officers when a change to the official stamp is adopted.

Provides that New Mexico’s RULONA does not affect the validity or effect of a notarial act performed before the effective date of the RULONA or any amendments to the Act.

 
NEW YORK – SB 7561
Effective 6-30-23
View this bill


Amends and clarifies New York statutory provisions on notary commissioning and appointment.

Notary Appointments and Reappointments
Separates statutory appointment procedures into sections dealing specifically with new notary commission appointments; and reappointments. Renumbers sections and subsections accordingly.

Establishes that the Secretary of State’s transmission of new notary commission records and fees to the appropriate county clerk may be accomplished by electronic means. Clarifies that for this purpose “electronic” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Section 302 of New York State’s technology law.

Amends the process for notary commission reappointment by specifying that applicants shall submit their application, oath of office and signature to the Secretary of State, not the county clerk.


Provides that upon being satisfied of the completeness of an application for reappointment, the Secretary of State shall issue a commission to the applicant and the applicant’s official signature and oath of office filed with the application shall take effect.

Provides that the Secretary of State (not the county clerk) shall receive the application fee from each applicant for Notary commission appointment or reappointment; makes related conforming amendments. Further provides that the duly-dated notary commission, a certified or original copy of the oath of office and notary’s official signature, and $20 apportioned from the application fee plus interest (as may be required by statute) shall be transmitted by the Secretary of State to the county clerk of the county where the notary appointee resides. Such transmission shall occur by the 10th day of the following month. Establishes that transmission resulting in a submission of such records and fees by the Secretary to the county clerk may be accomplished by electronic means.


Requires the county clerk to make a proper record of commissions transmitted to the county clerk’s office by the Secretary of State.

County Clerk Fees; Certification of Notary’s Authority and Signature
Increases, to $10, the fee that a county clerk and register shall collect for filing of notary public’s certificate of official character. Increases, to $5, the fee for a county clerk’s issuance of a notary’s certificate of official character.


Increases, from 50 cents to a new fee of $3, the fee a county clerk shall receive for issuing a certificate authenticating a notary public’s authority and signature. Establishes that a county clerk of a county where a notary public has qualified may certify the signature of an electronic notary public, registered with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 135-C of New York Executive Law, provided that the county clerk has received an exemplar of the notary public’s registered electronic signature from the Secretary of State.

Electronic Notarization
Requires that, after a registration of the capability to perform electronic notarial acts pursuant to New York law, the Secretary of State shall transmit to the county clerk the exemplar of the notary public’s electronic signature and any change in commission number or expiration date of the notary’s commission. Clarifies that such transmission may be accomplished by electronic means.


Establishes that registration of the capability to perform electronic notarizations shall be treated as a new appointment by the Secretary of State.

Amends existing law to provide that a notary public may certify that a tangible copy of the signature page and document type of an electronic record notarized by the notary public is an accurate copy of the electronic record. (Prior to this change, the law limited this notarial power to remotely notarized electronic records.)

Makes various conforming amendments, primarily renumbering of existing sections of law.

 
NORTH CAROLINA - SB 615, Relevant Excerpts
Notary-related provisions (excerpted below) are effective as indicated below or upon becoming law (September 28, 2023). View the full text of SB 615 here; scroll to “Part IV. Notary Changes.”

Effective 9-28-23:
• Strikes the Tar Heel State’s recently enacted requirement for all notaries to maintain a journal record of all notarial acts performed, irrespective of the type of notarizations performed (traditional paper, electronic, or remote).

• Clarifies that each notary may maintain a journal of all notarial acts performed, in the manner for that type of notarial act and in accordance with any rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

Effective 7-1-24:
• Requires that only a North Carolina notary performing a remote electronic notarization must maintain a journal. Specifies that such journal format shall be electronic. Establishes that the electronic journal shall be the exclusive property of the electronic notary. Prohibits the electronic notary from allowing another person to make entries in the electronic journal.

SB 615 EXCERPT; PART IV. NOTARY CHANGES
SECTION 4.1. G.S. 10B-38, as enacted by S.L. 2023-57, reads as rewritten:
"§ 10B-38. Journal.
Each notary shall may maintain a journal of all notarial acts performed in the manner required for that type of notarial act and in accordance with rules adopted by the Secretary."
SECTION 4.2. G.S. 10B-134.15(a), as amended by S.L. 2023-57, reads as rewritten:
"(a) An Notwithstanding G.S. 10B-38, an electronic notary who performs a remote electronic notarization shall enter information about the remote electronic notarization in an electronic journal. The electronic journal shall be the exclusive property of the electronic notary. The electronic notary shall not allow another person to make entries in the electronic journal."
SECTION 4.3. Section 4.2 of this Part becomes effective July 1, 2024. The remainder of this Part is effective when it becomes law.


PART VIII. EFFECTIVE DATE
SECTION 8.1. Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.

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NORTH CAROLINA - SB552
Effective 7-1-23 or 7-1-24, as indicated
View this bill


With this bill, the Tar Heel State amends its 2022 enacted legislative provisions, and extends the effective date of remote notarization to July 1, 2024. Some bill provisions dealing with administrative matters are effective July 1, 2023. The effective date is noted at the end of each paragraph.

BILL PART 1 (Eff. 7-1-23)
Emergency Video Notarization and Emergency Video Witnessing
Amends Section 10B-25(n), North Carolina General Statutes, by extending the authorization of emergency video notarization and emergency video witnessing to expire on June 30, 2024. Clarifies that all notarial acts performed while Section 10B-25(n) was previously in effect need not be reaffirmed and shall remain effective. (Eff. 7-1-23)


Delay of Remote Electronic Notarization
Provides that except as otherwise noted, the provisions of SB 552 become effective July 1, 2024. Requires the Secretary of State to begin rulemaking to implement Part 4A of Article 2, Chapter 10B of the General Statutes (“the Act”) prior to July 1, 2024. Clarifies that no temporary or permanent rule shall become effective to July 1, 2024. (Eff 7-1-23)

BILL PART 2 (Eff. 7-1-23)
Provides that the Secretary of State may adopt rules necessary to administer and enforce Chapter 10B of the General States (North Carolina’s notary public laws). (Eff. 7-1-23)

Adds a new subsection to Section 10B-4 of the General Statutes, requiring a notary to maintain the confidentiality of a principal’s documents and information at all times. Clarifies that any journal entries or communication technology recordings (as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 10B) created by a notary in the course of performing a notarial act are not public records under General Statutes 132-L. (Eff. 7-1-23)


Repeals Section 10B-36(d) of the General Statutes. Amends Section 10B-36 by adding a new subsection that:
1. Prohibits a vendor or manufacturer from providing a notary seal to a purchaser claiming to be a notary, unless the purchaser presents a notary commission issued by the Secretary of States and one of the following applies:
a. In the case of a purchaser appearing in person, the vendor or manufacturer identifies this individual as the person named in the commission, through either personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of identity.
b. In the case of a purchaser ordering a seal by mail or delivery service, the vendor or manufacturer confirms the notary's standing as a commissioned notary as established by rules issued by the Secretary. Such rules may include the establishment of an internet site or other means maintained by the Secretary for this purpose." (Eff. 7-1-23)
Adds a new Section to Part 5, Article 1, Chapter 10B that requires each notary to maintain a journal of all notarial acts performed in the manner required for that type of notarial act, and in accordance with rules* adopted by the Secretary of State. (Eff. 7-1-23)
_______________

*Note: A provision of SB 552’s Part I establishes that “no temporary or permanent rule shall become effective to July 1, 2024.”

Amends Section 10B-50 by clarifying that within 45 days after a notary’s change of residence, business, or any mailing address or telephone number, the notary shall send to the Secretary of State—by an online notification to the extent it is made available by the Secretary, or by fax, e-mail, or certified mail/return receipt requested—a signed notice of the change, giving both old and new mailing and email addresses or telephone numbers. Establishes that such information provided by a notary shall be treated as if submitted in an application under G. S. 10B-7 or G. S. 10B-106. Also requires such notification to be sent to the Secretary, in the delivery methods described, when a notary legally changes their name; or becomes ineligible or unable to perform their notarial duties and resigns their commission. (Eff. 7-1-23)

Requires a notary whose commission has expired, been revoked or resigned by the notary to deliver their seals to the Secretary within 45 days of the event. Requires such delivery to be made by hand delivery, courier service, certified mail, return receipt requested, or other means offered by the U.S. Postal Service allowing confirmation of delivery by signature. (Eff. 7-1-23)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Allows the Secretary of State to issue a warning, restriction, suspension or revocation for a violation of Chapter 10B, rules adopted pursuant to Chapter 10B, and on any ground for which an application, registration, certification, approval, or license may be denied. Clarifies that any period of restriction, suspension, or revocation shall not extend the expiration date of a commission, registration, certification, approval, or license issued pursuant to Chapter 10B. (Eff. 7-1-23)

Clarifies that law enforcement agents of the Department of the Secretary of State, who have statewide jurisdiction with all the powers and authority of law enforcement officers, may conduct any investigation within or outside of North Carolina as the Secretary deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of Chapter 10B or the rules adopted pursuant to Chapter 10B. Further clarifies that the Secretary’s agents have the authority to assist law enforcement agencies (not limited strictly to local law enforcement agencies) in their investigations and to initiate and carry out, on their own or in coordination with other law enforcement agencies, investigations of violations. (Eff. 7-1-23)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)


Establishes that the files and records of the Secretary related to criminal investigations and enforcement proceedings undertaken pursuant to this Chapter are subject to the provisions of G.S. 132-1.4. Clarifies that the files and records of the Secretary relating to noncriminal investigations and enforcement proceedings undertaken pursuant to Chapter 10B shall not be subject to inspection and examination pursuant to G.S. 132-6 while the investigations or proceedings are pending, except as elsewhere provided by North Carolina General Statutes. (Eff. 7-1-23)

Establishes that any information obtained by the Secretary from any law enforcement agency, administrative agency, or regulatory organization on a confidential or otherwise restricted basis in the course of an investigation or enforcement proceeding undertaken pursuant to this Chapter shall be confidential and exempt from General Statutes Section 132-6 to the same extent that it is confidential in the possession of the providing agency or organization. (Eff. 7-1-23)


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Creates a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation of General Statutes 10B-36(e) (dealing with a vendor or manufacturer’s procedures for vetting purchasers of notary seals). Clarifies that such violation shall not preclude the vendor or manufacturer’s civil liability to parties injured by failure to comply with General Statutes 10B-36(e). (Eff. 7-1-23)


Amends General Statutes Section 10B-5. Provides that, notwithstanding subdivision (8) of subsection (b) of Section 10B-5, the Secretary may allow applications for commissions to be submitted electronically, in the format prescribed by the Secretary. Requires the Secretary to establish a process for submission of the signature of the applicant prior to commissioning, which may include electronic submission. (Eff. 7-1-23)

Clarifies General Statutes Section 10B-31 dealing with fees for notarial acts. Clarifies that a notary may charge a fee of $10 per notarized principal signature. Further clarifies that for an electronic acknowledgement or jurat, the notary may receive $15 per electronically notarized principal signature. Provides that for an electronic oath or affirmation without a signature, the notary may charge $15 per person, except for an oath or affirmation administered to a credible witness to touch for the identity of a principal or subscribing witness. Clarifies that a notary may charge $25 per notarized principal signature. Further clarifies that for travel fees to perform an authorized notarial act under Chapter 10B, a notary may charge actual mileage at the federal business mileage if the travel reimbursement is agreed to by the principal in writing prior to the travel. (Eff. 7-1-23)

BILL PART 3 (Eff. 7-1-24 unless otherwise noted)
Establishes the following new definitions* and revisions, to apply to Article I of Chapter 10B, General Statutes.
_______________

*See later information in this summary on additional definitions.

1. Electronic notarial act and electronic notarization. – An official act by an electronic notary public that involves electronic documents and the personal appearance of the principal.
2. Electronic notary public and electronic notary. – A notary public who has registered with the Secretary the capability of performing electronic notarial acts and remote electronic notarial acts in conformance with this Article.
3. Deletes the existing definition for remote electronic notary public or remote electronic notary in G.S. §10B-134.1.
4. Redefines remote electronic notarial act to be “as defined in G.S. 10B‑134.1.”

Makes a conforming amendment to Section 10B-105(a) and (b), Qualifications, to reflect the now-consolidated definition of “electronic notary” (notaries performing traditional electronic notarial acts for physically present principals, and remote electronic notarial acts). Specifies that this amendment is effective 7-1-23.


Amends General Statutes’ Section 10B-106(a)-(f). Requires a notary to register the capability to notarize electronically or remotely with the Secretary of State, in accordance with rules* adopted by the Secretary, prior to performing such notarial acts. Establishes that registration as an electronic notary shall include authorization to perform remote electronic notarial acts if the electronic notary complies with all requirements of Chapter 10B, Article I and the Secretary’s rules related to remote electronic notarial acts. Requires that the registration shall include notifying the Secretary of all technology the electronic notary will use to create an electronic signature, and also all licensed platforms, if any, that the electronic notary will use to perform remote electronic notarizations. (Eff. 7-1-23) Allows a notary to renew an electronic notary registration at the same time that the notary applies for recommissioning.
_______________

*Note: A provision of SB 552’s Part I establishes that “no temporary or permanent rule shall become effective to July 1, 2024.”

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Requires that within 10 business days after change of any registration information required of an electronic notary (this term now includes notaries performing traditional electronic notarial acts for physically present principals, and notarizations and remote electronic notarizations) the notary shall electronically notify the Secretary of State (using the Secretary’s provided method) and sign the notice in the official name in which the electronic notary was commissioned. (Eff. 7-1-23)


Establishes that before performing electronic or remote electronic notarial acts, a notary must take a course of instruction of at least four hours approved by the Secretary, and pass an examination based on the course. Clarifies that notaries taking this electronic notarization course are still required to take the general education course required in Article I, Chapter 10B. (Eff. 7-1-24)

Requires that when performing an electronic or remote electronic notarization, certain components must be attached to, or logically associated with, the electronic document by the electronic notary. Specifies that such components must be immediately perceptible and reproducible in the electronic record to which the notary’s electronic signature is attached:
1. The notary’s name, state, and county of commissioning exactly as stated on the commission issued by the Secretary;
2. The words “Electronic Notary Public” or “Electronic Notary Public Utilizing Communication Technology,” as applicable. (Eff. 7-1-24)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)


Adds compromise of the notary’s electronic seal or electronic signature to the existing list of events requiring a notary to notify appropriate law enforcement in the case of theft or vandalism; and notify the appropriate register of deeds and the Secretary in writing and signed in the official name in which the notary is commissioned. (Eff. 7-1-24)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Changes the time frame within which an electronic notary must produce any record required by rule adopted by the Secretary of State, from within 10 days of the request to “within the time period set out in the Department’s request.” (Eff. 7-1-24)


Amends existing law by specifying that upon resignation, revocation or expiration of an electronic notary commission, or death of the notary, all notarial records required by statue or rule shall be delivered to an approved custodian selected by the notary (currently the Secretary of State). (Eff. 7-1-24)

Clarifies that if an electronic notary contracts with an approved provider of an electronic seal and electronic signature or licensed platform for a device used to create electronic signatures or for electronic notarization or remote electronic notarization services, and the contract either expires or is changed during the electronic notary's term of office, the notary shall cease performing electronic and remote electronic notarizations until:
1. A new contract is executed or a new device is duly issued or registered to the notary; and
2. An electronically signed notice is sent to the Secretary that shall include the starting and expiration dates of any new registration or contract term and any other new information at variance with information in the most recently executed electronic registration form." (Eff. 7-1-24)

Requires notification to the Secretary of State within 45 days under Section 10B-128(a), General Statutes, when a notary or notary’s duly authorized representative has erased, deleted, or destroyed the coding, disk, certificate, card, software, file, or program that enables electronic affixation of the notary's official electronic signature. Clarifies that a former electronic notary whose previous commission or application was not revoked or denied by the Secretary need not erase, delete, or destroy the coding, disk, certificate, card, software, file, or program enabling electronic affixation of the official electronic signature if he or she is recommissioned and reregistered as an electronic notary using the same electronic signature and the same licensed platform, if any, within three months after commission expiration. (Eff. 7-1-24)

Modifies existing definitions and creates new definitions in Section 10B-134.1, General Statutes. (Only amended or new numbered items are shown.)
1. Communication technology. – An electronic device, process, or system that allows a remote an electronic notary and a remotely located principal to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound using audiovisual technology and that makes reasonable accommodations for remotely located principals with vision, hearing, or speech impairments.

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

3a. Custodial services. – Services approved by the Secretary and selected by the notary to provide long‑term storage of the electronic journal and communications technology recordings.
3b. Custodian. – The person providing the custodial services. The custodian may but need not be the same as the depository.
3c. Depository. – The person or platform providing the depository services.
3d. Depository services. – Storage services provided by the platform of the electronic journal entries and communications technology recordings as they are entered.


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

4a. Geolocation. – Identification of the geographical location of a remotely located principal or device used by a remotely located principal through digital information processed via the internet.


6. Platform. The online platform utilizing the communication technology, credential analysis, and identity proofing and including communication technology recordings, geolocation, electronic journals, and depository services in order to perform the remote electronic notarial act.

7. Remote electronic notarial certificate. – The portion of a notarized electronic document that is completed by the remote electronic notary and contains all of the following:
a. The remote electronic notary's electronic signature and the remote electronic notary's electronic seal.
b. The facts attested to by the remote electronic notary in a particular notarization.
c. A statement in the acknowledgement, jurat, or verification certificate identifying where the remotely located principal was physically located at the time of the remote electronic notarization.
d. A statement that the notarization is a remote electronic notarization performed using communication technology by a remote an electronic notary.


Remote electronic notary public or remote electronic notary. – A notary public who is registered with the Secretary to perform remote electronic notarizations. [Editor’s note: displaying this stricken text to reinforce that the term “remote electronic notary public” is replaced with “electronic notary public.”]


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

10. Remotely located principal. – A principal who is not in the physical presence of the remote electronic notary and who is located at the time of the remote electronic notarial act in any of the following places: (….)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

(10a) Self‑attestation. – A remotely located principal's written, verbal, or electronic declaration and confirmation of that remotely located principal's geographical location at the time of the remote electronic notarial act given under penalty of perjury.


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

12. Third‑party vendor. – Any person providing credential analysis, identity proofing, or custodial services to remote electronic notaries." (Eff. 7-1-24)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Prohibits an electronic notary from performing a remote electronic notarial act is the notarial act would be a verification or proof. Removes a death beneficiary form requiring an acknowledgment from the statutory list of documents that may not be notarized remotely. (Eff. 7-1-24)


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Clarifies that the communication technology used by an electronic notary to perform a remote electronic notarization shall have sufficient video quality to allow a clear and unobstructed visual observation of the face of each participant and the documented presented by the remotely located principal during credential analysis for a sufficient time to allow the electronic notary to verify the remotely located principal’s identity under G. S. 10B-134.11. (Eff. 7-1-24)


Requires that prior to performing a remote electronic notarial act, the electronic notary shall be assured that the remotely located principal does not appear, in the judgment of the electronic notary, to be incompetent, lacking in understanding of the nature and consequences of the transaction requiring the notarial, or acting involuntarily, under duress, or undue influence. Provides that if the remotely located principal is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or the spouse or dependent of the member, as described in General Statutes 10B-134.1(10)b., the electronic notary may rely on that remotely located principal’s written, verbal, or electronic declaration and confirmation under penalty of perjury as to the remotely located principal’s location and military or familial status. (Eff. 7-1-24)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Allows a remotely located principal’s location to be verified by geolocation via the communication technology, or by self-attestation. (Eff. 7-1-24)

Requires that in addition to prohibitions contained in General Statutes 10B-134.3 and 10B-20, an electronic notary shall refuse to perform a remote electronic notarization if the electronic notary has reasonable grounds to believe the remotely located principal appears, in the judgment of the electronic notary, to be incompetent, lacking in understanding of the nature and consequences of the transaction requiring the notarial act, or acting involuntarily, under duress, or undue influence. Clarifies that an electronic notary’s obligation to refuse to notarize when the notary’s electronic signature and seal cannot be attached to the electronic document does not apply when the requested notarial act is administration of an oath not associated with a document. Also clarifies that an electronic notary’s obligation to refuse to notarize because the notary’s electronic notarial certificate and seal cannot be attached to the electronic document does not apply when the requested notarial act is an oath not associated with a document. (Eff. 7-1-24)


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Amends existing law to clarify that an aggrieved person is not prevented from using failures in the remote electronic notarization process, along with other grounds, to challenge a remote electronic notarization’s validity or enforceability on the basis of multiple stated circumstances, including incompetence (not “incapacity” as originally enacted in Section 10B-134.9(e)). (Eff. 7-1-24)


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Amends General Statutes Section 10B-134.15 to clarify that rules adopted by the Secretary shall authorize a third-party vendor, including a licensed platform, to act as a depository or custodian of electronic journals, and makes other conforming amendments. Clarifies that an electronic notary may surrender the electronic journal to the electronic notary’s employer upon termination of employment, if the electronic journal consists of remote electronic notarizations made in the conduct of the employer’s business, but also requires the electronic notary to keep and maintain an accurate backup copy of the journal for 10 years after the last remote electronic notarization entered into it. (Eff. 7-1-24)

… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Requires an electronic notary to comply with the requirement that all records of journal entries and communication technology recordings be securely stored in a depository* under control of the electronic notary or with a custodian* duly appointed by the notary. Requires an appointed custodian to be a third-party vendor approved by the Secretary. (Eff. 7-1-24)
_______________
*See the definitions of “depository” and “custodian” in Part 3 of SB 552.

Provides that the failure of an electronic notary to produce any record required by (the Secretary’s) administrative rules, within the time period set out in the Secretary’s request, shall result in the Secretary suspending the electronic notary’s North Carolina notary commission, until the Secretary reinstates the commission. (Eff. 7-1-24)


Clarifies that the Secretary’s required rules to establish standards, procedures, practices, forms, and records relating to remote electronic notarial acts shall include at least all the following:
1. Any additional educational requirements for electronic notaries. regarding remote electronic notarizations.
2. The contents and security of the electronic journal.
3. The security standards, features, qualifications, measures, storage, and any other matter related to communication technology, credential analysis, identity proofing, and depository and custodial services.
4. The requirements of secure storage of all communication technology recordings, the electronic journal, and any other documentation under the control of the electronic notary regarding the remote electronic notarial act. (Eff. 7-1-24)


Requires all licensees and third-party vendors to meet all standards established by the Secretary under this Part for the provision of services to electronic notaries in North Carolina, for remote electronic notarization services. Clarifies that the Secretary at the Secretary’s discretion may require a licensee or third-party vendor to provide an electronic notary with proof that a remote electronic notarization issue was caused in whole or in part by the licensee or third-party vendor’s technology. Also clarifies that a licensee or third-party vendor whose technology is restricted, suspended, discontinued, revoked, or not renewed for any reason shall work with electronic notaries using their services to ensure access and, if necessary, ease transition to a different licensee or third-party vendor, and may not deny its electronic notary customers access. (Eff. 7-1-24)

Clarifies that rules adopted by the Secretary to establish standards, procedures, practices, forms, and records relating to remote electronic notarial acts shall also include any additional educational requirements for notaries regarding remote electronic notarizations; identity proofing; and depository and custodial services.


… (This triple-period punctuation indicates rule text omitted from final publication of the rule because the omitted text was not revised.)

Requires that a licensee or third-party vendor whose technology is restricted, suspended, discontinued, revoked, or not renewed for any reason shall work with electronic notaries using the services of that licensee or third-party vendor to ensure access and ease transition to a different licensee or third-party vendor. Prohibits such licensees or third-party vendors from denying its electronic notary customers access.


Makes numerous conforming amendments, primarily to change “”remote electronic notary” to “electronic notary.”
(Senate Bill 552’s Part 4 is the enacting clause.)

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NORTH CAROLINA – HB 776
Effective July 1, 2023 except bill Sections 3, 4 and 8 are effective immediately (upon becoming law).
View this bill

The North Carolina General Assembly has enacted remote online notarization in the Tar Heel State.


Bill provisions effective immediately:
• Section 3, extending the statutory authorization for emergency video notarization (G.S. 10B-25) until 12:01 AM, June 30, 2023 and amending G.S. 10B-25(d)(1) to say “Is current”; increasing to $10, per principal signature, the maximum fee that may be charged by a Notary Public for performing a (signature) notarial act (G.S. 10B-31(1)); increasing to $10 per person the fee for administering a (verbal) oath or affirmation to a person not acting as a credible witness (G.S. 10B-31(2)); allowing a fee of $15 to be charged for performance of an electronic notarial act for a physically present individual (G.S. 10B-31(3)); allowing $25 per principal signature to be charged for performance of a remote electronic notarization (G.S. 10B-31(4)); and allowing a Notary to charge the federal mileage rate for actual mileage incurred for travel to perform a notarial act, if the travel charge is agreed to by the principal in writing, prior to the travel (G.S. 10B-31(5)).

• Section 4, amending G.S. 47-14 to require a register of deeds, subject to specified conditions, to record a paper copy of an electronic document as defined in G.S. 47-16.2(3) that is otherwise eligible under state law to be recorded in the real property records.
• Section 8, prescribing appropriation to the Secretary of State of receipts/fees established by Chapter 10B, Article 2, Part 4A and providing the purpose of such funds.

The following provisions of HB 776 are effective July 1, 2023.

Defines key terms: “communication technology,” “communication technology recording,” “credential analysis,” “electronic journal,” identity proofing,” “platform,” “remote electronic notarial certificate,” “remote electronic notarization or remote electronic notarial act,” “remote electronic Notary Public or remote electronic Notary,” “remotely located principal,” “tamper-evident,” “third-party vendor.”

Authorization, Remote Online Notarization
Provides that, upon registration with the Secretary of State, a remote electronic Notary may perform any of the notarial acts listed in G.S. 10B-115 by means of communication technology in accordance with Chapter 10B, Article 2, Part 4A. Remote Electronic Notarization; and that a remote electronic Notary may perform any authorized remote notarial act with respect to electronic documents.


Amends existing statutes prescribing a Notary’s registration with the Secretary of State prior to performing electronic notarial acts for a physically present individual, to require the same registration requirements to apply to a Notary registering to perform electronic notarial acts for a remotely located individual.

Authorizes a North Carolina remote electronic Notary to perform a remote electronic notarial act only while physically located in North Carolina. Establishes that a remote online notarization performed by a North Carolina remote electronic Notary is governed by the laws of North Carolina.

Prohibits performance of a remote electronic notarial act under certain specified circumstances, and prohibits remote electronic notarization of specified document types. Clarifies that the prohibition against remote electronic notarization of specified document types does not apply if, at the time of the remote electronic notarial act, the remotely located principal is outside the United States and physically on the military installation or vessel named in the military orders assigning the member to active duty for more than 120 days, provided the remotely located principal is a member, spouse of a member, or dependent of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States. (G.S. 10B-134.1(10)b.)

General Use of Communication Technology
Requires a remote electronic Notary to select one or more tamper-evident technologies with which to perform remote electronic notarial acts with respect to electronic documents. Establishes that no person may require a remote electronic Notary to perform a remote electronic notarial act using a communication technology that the Notary has not selected.


Requires a remote electronic Notary to take reasonable steps to provide that any remote electronic notarization communication technology used is secure from unauthorized interception. Establishes that the communication technology shall provide automated backup of the communication technology’s recording of a remote online notarization, in addition to any other requirements established in Article 2, Chapter 10B or by the Secretary of State.

Establishes the statutory requirements to be met by any communication technology used by a remote electronic Notary, which includes the capability of geolocating the remotely located principal to corroborate his/her/their location.

Requires each remote online notarization to include a communication technology recording that need not include any transactions other than the remote electronic notarial act, unless the Secretary of State specifies in administrative rules that additional interactions shall also be recorded.


Performing Remote Electronic Notarial Acts
Provides procedural requirements for a remote electronic Notary to perform a remote electronic notarial act, including that, prior to performance of a remote electronic notarial act:
1. The remote electronic notary shall inform the participants that North Carolina law requires that a communication technology recording be made of the remote electronic notarization.
2. The remote electronic notary shall require the remotely located principal to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the remote electronic notary, that the remotely located principal is not under duress and is not otherwise being coerced to complete the transaction.
3. The remote electronic notary shall verify the identity of the remotely located principal as provided in G.S. 10B-134.11.
4. The remote electronic notary shall ask the remotely located principal if the remotely located principal would like an attorney to participate in the remote notarization, and allow for such if so requested.
5. The remotely located principal shall verbally state what documents are being signed for the notarial record or describe the general nature of the transaction.
6. The location of the remotely located principal shall be verified by geolocation via communication technology


Requires a remote electronic Notary to refuse to perform a remote electronic notarial act if: the remote electronic Notary has reasonable grounds to believe the remotely located principal is acting under duress or is being coerced into completing the transaction; the remote electronic Notary becomes aware that the communication technology is not secure; the electronic signature of the remotely located principal cannot be attached to the electronic document for signature; the remote electronic Notary’s electronic notarial certificate and seal cannot be attached to the electronic document using a tamper-evident technology (that makes evident any subsequent change or modification to the electronic document).

Provides requirements for a remote electronic Notary’s performance of an oath or affirmation notarial act (not involving a signed electronic document). Requires the remote electronic Notary to administer the oath or affirmation to the remotely located principal using a licensed platform. Clarifies that, in judicial actions or proceedings, any commissioned North Carolina Notary Public, whether registered as a remote electronic Notary or not, may administer an oath or affirmation to a witness not physically present with the Notary, if communication technology is utilized and subject to the requirements set forth in Section 10B-134.9(d)(1, 2, 3).


Requires a remote electronic Notary, prior to a remote electronic notarial act, to verify each remotely located principal’s identity through one of the following:
  The remote electronic Notary’s personal knowledge of the remotely located principal’s identity;
•  All of the following, as specified and described in Section 10B-134.11(a)(2): a. credential analysis; b. identity proofing; c. comparison by the remote electronic Notary of the principal’s current identification credential as presented by the remotely located principal during credential analysis, to the image of the remotely located principal seen via communication technology.

Clarifies that a remote electronic Notary may require a remotely located principal to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to confirm that individual’s identity.

Amends existing law pertaining to the notarial components (certificate) of an electronically notarized, electronic document, to require information elements indicating that either an electronic notarization for a physically present individual; or an electronic notarization for a remotely located individual appearing by means of communication technology; was pe
rformed.

Electronic Journal of Remote Electronic Notarial Acts
Requires a remote electronic Notary to record all remote electronic notarizations in an electronic journal. Provides that such electronic journal is the exclusive property of the remote electronic Notary, and prohibits a remote electronic Notary from allowing another person to make entries in the electronic journal.

Provides that the Secretary of State shall adopt administrative rules specifying the content and secure storage of the electronic journal. Specifies matters that must be addressed in such rules with respect to the electronic journal.


Allows a remote electronic Notary to surrender the electronic journal to the remote electronic Notary’s employer upon employment termination, but requires the remote electronic Notary to also keep and maintain an accurate backup copy of the electronic journal for 10 years after the last remote electronic notarization entered into the journal. Clarifies that under no other circumstance shall a remote electronic Notary surrender or destroy an electronic journal or the communication technology recordings of remote electronic notarial acts, except as required by a court order or as allowed under rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

Required Security Measures by a Remote Electronic Notary
Requires all records of journal entries and communication technology recordings to be securely stored in a repository under control of the remote electronic Notary or with a duly appointed steward (as provided for in this Part). Clarifies that any appointed steward shall be a third-party vendor approved by the Secretary of State.

Requires a remote electronic Notary to take reasonable steps to ensure that communication technology recordings are secure from unauthorized interception during transmission between participants involved in a remote electronic notarial act. Requires a remote electronic Notary’s chosen communication technology to employ data protection safeguards consistent with generally accepted information security standards.


Specifies actions to be taken by a remote electronic Notary within 10 calendar days of discovering any permanent loss of data, unauthorized use, loss of use, or security compromise of the electronic journal or the communication technology recordings of remote electronic notarial acts

Establishes that the failure of a remote electronic Notary to produce within 30 calendar days of the Secretary’s request any record required by a rule adopted under this Part shall result in the remote electronic Notary’s suspension to act as a Notary until the Secretary’s reinstatement of the Notary’s commission.

Licensing of Platforms by the Secretary of State
Establishes that a remote electronic Notary shall use only the communication technology of a platform licensed by the Secretary of State.

Prescribes basic procedural steps to be taken by the Secretary of State in reviewing and licensing platforms. Requires platforms desiring licensing to submit an application on a form prescribed by the Secretary, and pay a licensing fee of $5000. Prescribes the minimum information to be submitted on such application, and requires a criminal history background check by the Secretary of State of specified officers, directors and employees of the platform provider. Allows the Secretary of State to require any other information deemed necessary. Authorizes the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) to provide the Secretary of State with a criminal history for any applicant seeking a platform license. Establishes the information the Secretary shall provide to the DPS for such background checks. Provides that fingerprint checks shall be subject to state and federal examination. Requires the Secretary of State to keep all criminal history check information confidential, and clarifies that such criminal history checks are not public records under Chapter 132 of North Carolina’s General Statutes.

Provides that the Secretary shall award a license only to applicants “of good moral character” and who provide a communication technology capable of meeting certain requirements set forth in Section 10B-134.19(e).


Clarifies that no platform license issued by the Secretary is assignable or transferable without the Secretary of State’s approval; and that licenses shall be renewed annually for the (annual) $5000 fee, in a manner set by the Secretary. Requires each licensed platform to collect a $5 fee for each remote electronic notarization performed on the platform by a North Carolina remote electronic Notary, and remit such fees at least monthly to the Secretary of State. Specifies that such fees shall be used by the Secretary in the implementation and enforcement of North Carolina’s remote electronic notarization law.

Provider Requirements
Requires all licensees and third-party vendors to meet all standards established by the Secretary of State. In the absence of administrative rules, prohibits a licensee or third-party vendor from furnishing a service to a remote electronic Notary until the Secretary has determined that the provided service meets generally accepted industry security standards for that service.


Allows the Secretary to adopt rules establishing, supplementing or amending third-party vendor guidelines for standards and processes for identity proofing and credential analysis services.

Provides actions that may be taken by the Secretary of State if a licensed provider or third-party vendor violates Chapter 10B, Article 2, Part 4A or any rule adopted by the Secretary of State. Requires a licensee or third-party vendor whose technology is restricted, suspended or revoked to work with remote electronic Notaries using those services to ensure access and, if necessary, ease transition to a different licensee or third-party vendor. Prohibits such licensees from denying remote electronic Notary customers access to their technology.

Establishes conditions and circumstances making a licensee or third-party vendor liable to any person who suffers damages from a remote electronic notarial act. Clarifies that a remote electronic Notary who exercised reasonable care in selecting and using a licensee or third-party vendor in connection with a remote electronic notarial act is not liable for any damages resulting from the licensee’s or third-party vendor’s failure to comply with requirements of Chapter 10B, Article 2, Part 4A. With respect to this immunity of the remote electronic Notary, provides that any contract provision between a remote electronic Notary and a licensee or third-party vendor that attempts to waive such immunity for the remote electronic Notary is null, void and of no effect.

Administrative Rulemaking

Requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules to implement North Carolina’s remote electronic notarization law. Requires the rules to at least provide for all of the following:
1. Any additional educational requirements for remote electronic notaries.
2. The contents and security of the electronic journal.
3. The security standards, features, qualifications, measures, storage, and any other matter related to communication technology, credential analysis, and identity proofing.
4. The requirements of secure storage of all communication technology recordings, the electronic journal, and any other documentation under the control of the remote electronic notary regarding the remote electronic notarial act.
5. Any necessary actions upon notification of permanent loss of data, unauthorized use, loss of use, or compromise of security of the electronic journal or the communication technology recordings of remote electronic notarial acts.


Allows the Secretary of State to utilize emergency and temporary rulemaking as needed to implement the new law. Requires the Secretary of State to begin rulemaking prior to July 1, 2023, but clarifies that no temporary or permanent rule shall become effective prior to July 1, 2023.

Allows the Secretary to adopt rules establishing, supplementing or amending third-party vendor guidelines for standards and processes for identity proofing and credential analysis services.

Other Provisions
Provides that any non-material failure of a North Carolina remote electronic Notary to comply with the state’s requirements of remote electronic notarization does not invalidate the notarial act or the remotely notarized electronic record. Provides that an aggrieved person is not prevented from using failures in the remote electronic notarization process, along with other grounds, to challenge the validity or enforceability of the remote electronic notarization based on fraud, forgery, impersonation, duress, incapacity, undue influence, minority, illegality, unconscionability, or another basis not related to the remote electronic notarial act or constructive notice provided by recording of the electronic record.


Prohibits an attorney-in-fact from using any remotely notarized power of attorney with any other remotely notarized document to convey title to, or transfer any interest in, a remotely located principal’s real property. Requires a power of attorney executed by a remotely located principal pursuant to Chapter 10B, Article 2, Part 4A. to be recorded in at least one county register of deeds office in North Carolina. Clarifies that this requirement does not apply to powers of attorney executed by a remotely located principal described in G.S. 10B-134.1(10)b.

Allows the Secretary of State to refer evidence of violations of Chapter 10B or other criminal acts involving a notarization performed under this Chapter to the proper district attorney. Provides that such district attorney may, with or without a referral from the Secretary of State, institute appropriate criminal proceedings. Provides for an employee of the Secretary of State to be appointed as a special prosecutor to assist the district attorney.

Establishes that nothing in Chapter 10B, Article 2, Part 4A shall be construed to alter or supersede North Carolina laws, or any opinion or ruling by a North Carolina court of competent jurisdiction or the North Carolina State Bar, pertaining to unauthorized practice of law in the state, including that a licensed North Carolina attorney shall supervise a residential real estate closing under Authorized Practice Advisory Opinion 2002-1 by the North Caroline State Bar, and perform all services defined as the practice of law for real property located in North Carolina. Clarifies that a remote electronic Notary who is not also a licensed Notary Carolina attorney is prohibited from rendering services or advice that constitutes the practice of law in North Carolina.

Makes numerous other conforming or clarifying amendments to current law.

 
NORTH DAKOTA – HB 1054
Effective 8/1/2023
View this bill


Amends and reenacts Subsections 1 and 5 of Section 44-06.1-20, North Dakota Century Code.

Establishes that an individual qualified to apply for a North Dakota Notary Public commission may apply to the Secretary of State. Requires such applicant to comply with and provide, on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State (underline indicates new provision(s)), the information required by the Secretary and submit the $36 application fee.

Establishes that a North Dakota Notary Public commission may be renewed up to sixty days before the commission’s expiration date by reapplying in the same manner as required for an original commission.

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NORTH DAKOTA – HB 1083
Effective 8/1/2023
View this bill

Amends the Peace Garden State’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts by updating provisions dealing with notarial acts performed for a remotely located individual.

Establishes that a North Dakota Notary Public located in North Dakota may use communication technology to take an acknowledgment of a remotely located individual’s signature on a tangible record that is physically present before the Notary Public. Requires the tangible record to have been displayed to and identified by the Notary Public during the related audiovisual recording.

Provides that requirements for performance of a notarial act with respect to a tangible record not physically present before the Notary Public are satisfied if the remotely located individual, during the audiovisual recording, signs the record as well as a declaration substantially in the following form:


I declare under penalty of perjury that the record of which this declaration is a part or to which it is attached is the same record on which (name of Notary Public), a Notary Public, performed a notarial act and before whom I appeared by means of communication technology on (date).

______________________________________
(Signature of remotely-located individual)
______________________________________
(Printed name of remotely located individual)



Requires the Notary Public, in the audiovisual recording, to record the individual signing the record and declaration. Requires that the record and declaration be sent to the Notary Public not later than three days after the notarial act was performed using communication technology.

Establishes that the Notary Public, after receiving the record and declaration from the individual, shall execute a certificate of notarial act (under North Dakota Century Code 44-06.1-14) that must include a statement in substantially this form:

I (name of Notary Public) witnessed, by means of communication technology, (name of remotely located individual) sign the attached record and declaration on (date).

Provides that such a notarial act, compliantly performed, complies with subdivision a of subsection 1, Section 44-06.1-14, North Dakota Century Code, and is effective on the date the remotely located individual signed the declaration.


Authorizes a Notary Public located in North Dakota to use communication technology as prescribed by North Dakota’s RULONA to administer an oath or affirmation to a remotely located individual if, except as otherwise provided by another law of North Dakota, the Notary Public identifies the individual in the manner required, creates or causes the creation of an audiovisual recording of the individual taking the oath or affirmation; and retains or causes retention of the audiovisual recording.

Require that the certificate for a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual must indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology. Establishes that a short-form certificate under Section 44-06.1-19, North Dakota Century Code, is sufficient if it complies with administrative rules adopted by the Secretary of State; or is in the short form provided under Section 44-06.1-19, North Dakota Century Code, and contains a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

Requires a Notary Public; or guardian, conservator, or agent of a Notary Public; or a personal representative of a deceased Notary Public; to retain the audiovisual recording of a remote notarization or cause the recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the recording. Requires recordings to be retained for at least 10 years after being made unless a different period is required by administrative rule(s) of the Secretary of State.


Requires a North Dakota Notary Public, before performing his/her/their initial notarization for a remotely located individual, to notify the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing such notarial acts and identify the technologies the Notary Public intends to use. Requires that if the Secretary of State has established standards for approval of communication technology or identify proofing, the Notary’s chosen technology must conform to these standards.

Clarifies the scope of the Secretary of State’s rule-making authority, and specifies that the Secretary may adopt rules prescribing methods for a Notary Public to confirm the identity of a tangible record that was the subject of a remote notarization.

Adds that rules adopted by the Secretary of State may prescribe methods for a Notary public to confirm the identity of a tangible record that was subject of a remote notarization.

Makes various clarifying and conforming amendments.


 
OHIO – SB 131
Effective December 29,2023
View this bill see pages 2-9 and 21-23

Requires that, subject to all conditions and requirements set forth in SB 131, Ohio’s Secretary of State must:
  1. Issue an Ohio Notary Public commission to qualifying out-of-state applicants who are also commissioned or licensed as a Notary Public in another U.S. state;
  2. Issue a written authorization to perform remote online notarial acts to qualifying out-of-state applicants who also hold a remote online notarization authorization or license in another U.S. state.

(This bill’s provisions apply to other Ohio “licensing authorities” as well, not solely the Secretary of State.)


Establishes that an out-of-state applicant who is issued an Ohio license or government certification under the provisions of SB 131 is subject to the laws regulating the practice of the applicable occupation or profession in Ohio, and is subject to the Ohio licensing authority’s jurisdiction. Restricts out-of-state applicants receiving an Ohio license or government certification to practicing their applicable occupation or profession in Ohio only within the scope and practice that is permitted under Ohio law. Clarifies that such practice of the applicable occupation or profession in Ohio shall not exceed the applicant’s training.

Defines key terms:
  1. “License” – an authorization evidenced by a license, certificate, registration, permit, card, or other authority that is issued or conferred by a licensing authority to an individual by which the individual has or claims the privilege to engage in a profession, occupation, or occupational activity over which the licensing authority has jurisdiction.
  2. “Licensing authority” – a state agency or political subdivision that issues licenses or government certifications.
  3. “Uniformed services”—the U.S. Armed Forces; the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service; or any reserve components of those forces; and such other service as may be designated by Congress.
  4. "Out-of-state occupational license"—a license, certificate, registration, permit, card, or other authority that is issued or conferred by one of the uniformed services or the government of another state to an individual by which the individual has or claims the privilege to engage in a profession, occupation, or occupational activity over which that service or state has jurisdiction
  5. "Good standing"—the individual's out-of-state occupational license, government certification, or private certification, as applicable, is not restricted or limited by the entity that regulates the out-of-state license, government certification, or private certification.

  6. “Another state,” “any other state,” and “home state” include the uniformed services, for purposes of any law requiring a licensing authority to issue a license or government certification under applicable Ohio law to an individual holding a license or government certification issued by another state.

Establishes provisions for commissioning of non-resident applicants for Ohio licenses including Notary Public commissions. Therefore, requires an Ohio Notary Public commission to be issued to an out-of-state applicant if the Ohio Secretary of State determines that all the following apply:
  1. The applicant holds another state’s Notary Public commission or appointment;
  2. The applicant’s Notary Public commission or appointment is in good standing with the issuing state;
  3. The applicant has held the out-of-state Notary Public commission or appointment for at least one year immediately preceding making application for an Ohio Notary Public commission, and has been actively practicing for at least one of the preceding five years (although this requirement may be waived).
  4. The applicant was required to satisfy minimum education, training, or experience requirements or pass an examination to receive the out-of-state Notary Public commission. (NOTE: this requirement is triggered by Ohio’s requirements for its in-state Notary applicants to obtain both Notary training and an examination.)
  5. The applicant has not surrendered or had revoked his/her/their out of state Notary Public commission or appointment because of negligence or intentional misconduct.
  6. The applicant pays the appropriate fee (as determined by the Ohio Secretary of State).
  7. The applicant has not been convicted of, found guilty pursuant to a judicial finding of, or plead guilty to a criminal offense for which the Secretary of State may deny or disqualify the applicant from receiving an Ohio Notary Public commission.


Additionally, allows an Ohio licensing authority (such as the Secretary of State) to require an out-of-state applicant for an Ohio license or government certification to:
  1. pass an examination on Ohio’s laws and rules governing the profession, occupation or occupational activity for which the applicant seeks the same Ohio license (for example, a Notary Public commission), if Ohio requires its in-state applicants to pass an examination;
  2. submit to a criminal records check, if Ohio requires its in-state applicants to obtain criminal records check;
  3. satisfy a financial responsibility requirement, if Ohio requires its in-state applicants to do so.

Requires an Ohio licensing authority to issue a license or government certification (such as a Notary Public commission) to an applicant if the licensing authority determines that the applicant has been actively engaged in the same profession, occupation or occupational activity as the license or government certification for which the applicant is applying in Ohio, for at least three of the five years immediately preceding the date the application is submitted in either a state that does not issue an out-of-state occupational license or government certification for the respective profession, occupation or occupational activity; or in service of the uniformed services. (Applicants must meet the requirements noted in items 1-7 above.)

Allows a licensing authority to waive the requirement that an out-of-state applicant has been actively engaged in the practice of the profession, occupation, or occupational activity for three of the five years immediately preceding the date the application is submitted.

Clarifies that an Ohio licensing authority may issue a restricted or limited license or government certification to an applicant who would otherwise be disqualified from obtaining it because of a disqualifying offense, as long as the limitation or restriction is relevant to the offense.

Provides for an Ohio licensing authority’s ability to apply various provisions of Ohio law to the circumstances of out-of-state applicants for the various Ohio licenses and certifications contemplated in SB 131.


Requires Ohio’s affected licensing authorities to adopt rules to implement the Act.

 
OREGON – HB 2029
Effective 1-1-24
View this bill

Establishes that, except as provided in ORS 205.327*, a county clerk shall not accept any instrument for recording unless the text of the instrument is typed, written or printed in 10-point type (formerly 8-point type) or larger, on paper of sufficient quality for recording photographically and that is not larger than 14 inches long and 8.5 inches wide.
_______________
*ORS 205.327 provides that when an instrument required or permitted by law to be recorded is presented for recording but does not comply with certain statutory requirements for recording, the county clerk shall record the instrument but shall charge and collect in advance a penalty of $20 in addition to the fees for recording the instrument.
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OREGON – HB 2696
Effective 7-27-23
View this bill

Enacts new provisions of Oregon law relating to use of interpreters to provide signed language interpretation. (Notaries, who may occasionally need the services of an individual capable of communicating in sign language with a principal document signer who cannot otherwise communicate with the notary, should be aware of the law’s new provisions.)


Prohibits persons not licensed by Oregon’s Health Licensing Office to provide signed language interpretation services from providing signed language interpretation services. Sets forth the limited circumstances under which a person not so licensed may provide signed language interpretation services. Also prohibits a person not so licensed from assuming or using any title, words, abbreviations, signs or insignias (suggesting that they are duly licensed when they are not), including but not limited to the titles “licensed supervisory sign language interpreter,” “licensed sign language interpreter,” “licensed provisional sign language interpreter,” “licensed educational sign language interpreter,” “licensed legal sign language interpreter,” and “licensed medical sign language interpreter.”

Prohibits a person from employing or contracting with an individual for the purpose of providing signed language interpretation services, when that individual is not licensed as required by the new law.

 
SOUTH DAKOTA – SB 211
Eff. 7-1-24
View this bill

Substantially amends South Dakota law dealing with recording or filing of documents with the state’s registers of deeds, in order to accommodate electronic documents, electronically signed and notarized. Enacts new statutory provisions.


Expands the reasons that an “original signature” may not be required for any document to be recorded or filed in a register of deeds’ records, by amending the law to accommodate signatures executed and notarized electronically. Clarifies that an “original signature” may not be required for recordation or filing with a register of deeds when the document to be recorded is a printed copy of an electronic record, produced in compliance with newly enacted law (see this bill’s section 7).

Requires a register of deeds to accept for record a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that a signature on a record accepted for recording be an original, if the officiating notarial officer certifies in a notarial certificate that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record. Provides the mandatory wording for a notarial certificate authenticating a printed tangible copy of an electronic record.


Defines “document” or “record” as information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

Defines “identity proofing” as a process or service by which a third party provides a notarial officer with a reasonable means to verify the identity of an individual by review of personal information from public or proprietary data sources.

Clarifies that the statutory definition of “notarial act” pertains to notarial acts performed with respect to tangible or electronic records.

Defines “official seal” as a seal, stamp or physical image affixed to or embossed on a tangible record or an electronic image attached to or logically associated with an electronic record.

Expands the statutory definition of a notarial officer’s “personal knowledge” of an individual’s identity, by including the notarial officer’s ability to reasonably identify the individual by two different methods of identity proofing.

Defines “remotely located person” as a person who is not in the physical presence of the notary.

Defines “tamper-evident” as any change to an electronic record resulting in display of evidence of the change.

Clarifies certain requirements for a notarial officer’s official seal. Amends the term “seal” to “official seal.” (See new “official seal” definition above.) Requires rubber seals and electronic seals to be a type approved by the Secretary of State. Clarifies that both rubber stamp seals and electronic seals must contain the seal’s required words and seal within the mandatory, surrounding border.

Amends the definition of “personal knowledge,” to accommodate a notarial officer’s ability to reasonably identify an individual by use of two different methods of identity proofing.

Requires a notarial officer wishing to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records to select at least one tamper-evident electronic notarization system with which to place the signature and official seal of the notarial officer on electronic records. Prohibits a person from requiring a notarial officer to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a system that the notarial officer has not selected. Requires a notarial officer to notify the Secretary of State, on forms prescribed by the Secretary, of the names of each tamper-evident notarization system used by that notarial officer for notarization of electronic records.

Authorizes a South Dakota notarial officer, located in South Dakota, to perform a notarial act executed on an electronic record by a person not in the notarial officer’s physical presence, but observed by the notarial officer by means of video communication technology and subject to the following requirements.

The notarial officer must:
• Have personal knowledge, by means of two different methods of identity proofing, that the person has the identity being claimed;
• Affix the notarial officer’s signature to the electronic record executed by the person;
• Indicate, in the notarial certificate:
  o the remote location of the person executing the document;
  o that the notarial act involved a statement made or a signature executed by a person not in the physical presence of the notarial officer, but appearing by means of video communication technology and a tamper-evident electronic notarization system; and
• Create an audio-visual copy of the performance of the notarial act for the remotely located person.

Requires that notarial certificates for acts performed for remotely located persons must be in substantially the following form:


State of South Dakota
County of ______________________ss

On this _________ day of _________________, in the year _______, before me, _______(Notary’s Name)__________, the undersigned officer, appeared _______(Signer’s Name)__________ with a remote location of _______(City/State)__________, of whom I have personal knowledge by identity proofing and whom I positively identified as the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument, appeared before me not in my physical presence but by means of a tamper-evident electronic notarization system, and I observed his/her execution of the same for the purposes contained therein and confirm that I affix my official seal to the same instrument so executed.



Requires a notarial officer to retain an electronic audio-visual copy of each notarial act involving use of a tamper-evident notarization system for 10 years from the date of performance of the notarial act. Provides such copy or copies to be retained by the notarial officer, or by the guardian, conservator, or personal representative of an incapacitated or deceased notarial officer. Allows these audio-visual copies to be held instead by a repository designed by or on behalf of the notarial officer.

Establishes that the failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified by law does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the notarial officer. Provides that the validity of a notarial act does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act, or from seeking other remedies based on South Dakota law or United States law. Clarifies that these provisions do not validate a purported notarial act performed by an individual who is not authorized to perform notarial acts.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to promulgate rules in accordance with applicable South Dakota law, and provides that the rules shall: create standards for online notarial acts in accordance with South Dakota’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), including standards for credential analysis, identity proofing, and communication technology used for online notarial acts; and ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of online notarial acts in accordance with the RULONA.


Makes numerous stylistic (clarifying, but non-substantive) amendments.
 
TENNESSEE – SB 2581
Eff. 3-27-24
View this bill

(Relevance: Tennessee notaries public are authorized by law to perform marriage ceremonies.)

Amends Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 36-3-104(a), dealing with issuance of a marriage license. Deletes this section’s prior wording and fully replaces it. The new wording provides that a county clerk or deputy clerk shall not issue a marriage license until the applicants make an application. Specifies that the application shall be in writing, and must state the names, ages, current addresses, and social security numbers of both the parties wishing to be married. Requires an applicant under 18 years of age to also include the name and current address of the applicant’s parents, guardian or next of kin. Requires the application to be sworn-to by both applicants.

Provides for specific special circumstances of certain applicants, including an applicant who is incarcerated and an applicant who has a disability preventing the applicant from appearing.
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TENNESSEE - SB 1034
Effective July 1, 2023
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Amends Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 8-16-104, by deleting the section and substituting new language as follows.


Every notary public, before entering upon the duties of office, shall give bond executed by a surety company authorized to do business in this state. If a notary public cannot obtain a bond executed by a surety company authorized to do business in this state, the county legislative body may approve two (2) or more good sureties in lieu of a bond from a surety company. The bond must be in the penalty amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), payable to this state, conditioned upon the faithful discharge of the notary's duties.

The notary public shall present the executed official bond to the county clerk in the county where elected. The county clerk shall review the bond presented by the notary public for compliance with this section, and upon the clerk's satisfaction of compliance with this section, shall file the bond in the office of the county clerk. A person elected a notary public that performs an official act as a notary public prior to filing a bond as required by this section commits a Class C misdemeanor.

 
TEXAS – HB 3474
Effective 9-1-23 (sections reported below)
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Clarifies existing law regarding persons in other states who may take a deposition of a witness alleged to reside or to be outside of Texas, but inside the United States, by requiring such depositions to be on written questions.

Amends Section 20.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, by making it applicable to persons--including notaries public—who may take a deposition on written questions (not oral questions, which would require the presence of an attorney) of a witness alleged to reside or be outside of Texas , but in the United States, at the time of the deposition. Makes conforming amendments.


Clarifies that a deposition on written questions may be taken of a witness alleged to reside or be outside of the United States at the time of the deposition, by any notary public (and certain other named parties). Also addresses a deposition on written questions of a witness alleged to be a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or of the U.S. Armed Forces Auxiliary, or alleged to be a civilian employed by or accompanying the armed forces or an auxiliary outside the United States

Makes various conforming amendments.
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TEXAS – HB 255
Effective 9-1-23
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House Bill 255 strengthens certain provisions of Texas notary law, and empowers the Secretary of State to periodically adjust the fees a notary public may charge. The bill also addresses specific permissions and prohibitions applicable to notaries public.

Prohibits a notary public from providing a copy of the notary’s seal to another person, or affixing or attaching the notary’s seal to any document except to authenticate the notary public’s official act. [I.e., affix/attach the notary’s seal to the completed notarial certificate.]

Allows a notary public to record the expiration date of an identification card issued by a governmental agency or passport issued by the United States if the signer, grantor or making of an instrument or document presents the card or passport to the notary public as identification.

Increases to $10 the fee a notary may charge for these notarial acts: taking an acknowledgment or proof; administering an oath or affirmation (regarding a signed document); issuing a certificate under seal not otherwise provided for; for swearing in a witness to a deposition and the certificate, seal and other business connected with taking the deposition; and for a notarial act not provided for. Retains existing law allowing a notary to charge $1 for each additional signature with respect to taking an acknowledgment or proof; for a copy of a record or paper in the notary’s office; and for taking the deposition of a witness.

Requires the Secretary of State, once every five years, to adjust the fees a notary public may charge by the amount adjusted for inflation, as determined by the comptroller on the basis of the increase, if any, to the current fee amounts in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor. (Current law provides that the first such adjustment in notary fees shall occur no later than December 31, 2028.)

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TEXAS – SB 1780
Effective 1-1-24
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Senate Bill amends Texas’ remote notarization law (one of the earliest in the United States to be enacted) by authorizing an online notary public to perform an online notarization involving a tangible document.


Defines key terms:
1. “Document” — a tangible instrument or electronic document.
2. “Sign” — means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, to: (a) execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or (b) execute an electronic signature, as defined by Section 322.002, Texas Business & Commerce Code.
3. “Signature” – a tangible symbol or electronic signature that evidences the signing of a record executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the document.

Clarifies that the electronic record of notarized electronic documents kept by an online notary must include the date and time of the online notarization performed. Further clarifies that the online notary’s electronic record of notarized documents can be with respect to electronic or tangible documents.

Requires that for documents that are tangible instruments, an online notary public shall keep a record of the documents notarized by the online notary public using the notary’s tangible symbol (signature). Requires each such record to contain the same elements required by Section 405.108, Government Code, Subsection (a) for an electronic record.


Specifies that an online notary public shall authenticate all online notarizations with the online notary public’s electronic seal, if the online notarization was performed with respect to an electronic document; or the online notary public’s seal of office as provided under Government Code Section 406.013 (the notary’s ink-stamp seal or embosser), if the online notarization was performed with respect to a tangible document.

Amends current law to clarify that in performing an online notarization, an online notary public shall verify the identity of a person signing a document at the time of the online notarization by using two-way video and audio conference technology in accordance with Texas’ notary law.

Amends current law to add that the notarial certificate (electronic or tangible, as appropriate) must also indicate if the principal’s signature on the record was a tangible symbol or an electronic signature.

Creates new Government Code Sections 406.1103 and 406.1107, establishing online notarization procedures for tangible documents.

Establishes that in performing an online notarization in which the principal signs with a tangible symbol and not an electronic signature, an online notary public shall reasonably confirm that a document before the online notary public is the same document in which the principal made a statement or on which the principal executed a signature.


Provides that an online notary public satisfies the requirement of new Section 406.1103, Subsection (a) to take an acknowledgment of a signature on a tangible document if:
1. during a video and audio recording described by Section 406.108(a)(6):
(a.)  the acknowledgment is displayed to and identified by the principal; and
(b.)  the principal signs the document and a declaration in substantially the
following form that is a part of or securely attached to the document:
"I declare under penalty of perjury that the document of which this declaration is a part or to which it is attached is the same document on which (name of online notary public), an online notary public, performed an online notarization and before whom I appeared by means of two-way video and audio conference technology on (date).
________________________
(Signature of principal)
________________________
(Printed name of principal)";


2. the principal sends the document and declaration to the online notary public not later than the third day after the date the online notarization was performed; and


3. the online notary public:
(a.)  in the video and audio recording under Subdivision (1), records the principal signing the document and declaration;
(b.)  receives the document and declaration sent by the principal under Subdivision (2) not later than the 10th day after the date the online notarization was performed; and
(c.)  after receipt of the document and declaration from the principal, executes a notarial certificate that includes a statement in substantially the following form:
"I, (name of online notary public), witnessed, by means of video and audio conference technology, (name of principal) sign the attached document and declaration on (date)".

Provides that an online notarization performed in compliance with Government Code Section 406.1103(b) complies with any requirement regarding the execution of a notarial certificate and is effective on the date the principal signed the declaration under Subsection (b)(1)(B). Establishes that a notarial certificate executed in the form described by Subsection (b)(3)(C) may be relied on as conclusive evidence of compliance with Subsections (b)(2) and (b)(3)(B).

Clarifies that the provisions of Subsection (b) do not preclude use of another procedure to satisfy Subsection (a) for an online notarization performed with respect to a tangible document.

Establishes online notarization procedures for oaths or affirmations. Specifies that an online notary public may administer an oath or affirmation to a principal as an online notarization if, except as otherwise provided by other law of this state, the online notary public:
1. identifies the principal under Government Code Section 406.110(b);
2. creates or causes the creation under Government Code Section 406.108 of a video and audio recording of the principal taking the oath or affirmation; and
3. retains or causes the retention under Government Code Section 406.108 of the recording.

Makes various conforming amendments.

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TEXAS – HB 2559
Effective 9-1-23
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Adds a retired Texas justice of the peace, and the comptroller of public accounts or a former comptroller of public accounts, to the list of individuals authorized under Texas law to administer an oath and give a certificate of fact.

 
UTAH – HB 25
Eff. 5-1-24
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Expands existing law’s definition of “electronic notarization” by defining it to mean a remote notarization or, notarization of a document—in an electronic format and conforming to any administrative rules of the director of elections in the Office of the Lt. Governor—that may be recorded electronically under Utah Code Annotated §17-21-18.5.

Clarifies that rulemaking authority for electronic notarization is not limited to matters pertaining only to remote notaries and remote notarizations (the authority also extends to matters pertaining to electronic notarization and notaries who are performing electronic notarizations for physically present individuals).

Clarifies existing law’s definition of “electronic seal,” through amendments that enable the definition to apply to any type of Utah notary completing an electronic notarization.

Specifies that except as otherwise provided in existing law, an individual may not create, obtain, or possess an electronic seal unless the individual is a notary, and the electronic seal complies with the standards established by administrative rule as authorized by Utah Code Annotated § 46-1-3.7(1)(d). Updates multiple statutory citations.

 
VERMONT – FINAL RULE, NOTARY CONTINUING EDUCATION (CVR 04-030-014)
Eff. 10-21-23
Email kathleen@asnnotary.org for a copy of this rule.

The Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation has adopted rules implementing notary continuing education in the Green Mountain State. (Statutory authority: 3 V.S.A. §801; 26 V.S.A. §5343(c).

Definitions
Defines “commission” to mean a notary public commission issued by the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. Defines “Director” to mean the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation. Defines “office” to mean the Office of Professional Regulation.


Administrative Matters
States the Office of Professional Regulation’s statutory imperative to establish rules providing the guidelines and criteria for notaries to obtain continuing education credit. Establishes that the Director will not grant routine waivers or variances from any provisions of the rules without amending them. Provides that where, in extraordinary circumstances, application of a rule would result in manifest unfairness, an absurd result, unjustifiable inefficiency, or an outcome otherwise inimical to the public health, safety, and welfare, the Director may, upon written request of an interested party, so find, grant a waiver with or without particular conditions and limitations, and record the action and justification in a written memorandum. Clarifies that this rule shall not be construed as creating any hearing right or cause of action.


Notary Commission Renewal Requirement
Continuing Education. Provides that as a condition of commission renewal, notaries public shall complete no fewer than one hour of continuing education over the two-year period preceding the application for renewal. Defines “one hour” as sixty minutes.

Requires documentation of successful completion of continuing education to be included in a notary public’s application for renewal of a commission. Requires such documentation to include sufficient information to indicate the notary public’s successful completion of a course that complies with the Office’s continuing education rules. Provides, as an example of sufficient information, the name and date of the course, proof of attendance, and the number of continuing education credit hours awarded.

Applicability. Requires a notary to complete one hour of continuing education prior to the first renewal of the notary’s commission after a full, two-year biennial period*. Clarifies that the continuing education requirement is not mandatory for an initial commission renewal, if the notary has held the commission for less than two years. Provides that commissioned notaries who first obtain their commission during a two-year biennium period need not complete one hour of continuing education before the first renewal of the commission.
_______________
*All Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) licenses, including notary public commissions, renew on a fixed biennial (two year) cycle. A Vermont notary’s initial commission will be set to expire at the end of the two-year cycle established by OPR for notaries public, meaning that many first-time notaries’ initial terms of office will be shorter than two years. After a notary’s first commission renewal, the notary’s license will be issued for two full years thereafter and will renew on the same biennial date.

Provides that if a notary’s initial commission is issued fewer than 90 days prior to the beginning of a two-year biennial commission period, the commission shall be valid through the end of the next two-year biennial period and the notary need not renew the commission at the beginning of that new two-year biennial period. Clarifies that under these circumstances the notary will be required to complete one hour of continuing education during that initial two-year biennial period, and present proof of their continuing education when they renew their commission.

Course. Requires the content of a mandatory continuing education course taken by a notary public to be directly related to the maintenance and enhancement of the skill, knowledge, and competency to perform notarial acts in accordance with Vermont’s laws and requirements.

Provides that a continuing education course shall be at least one hour in length, and that it may be synchronous or asynchronous, recorded or live, or in-person or remote. Clarifies that the course may be interactive, but is not required to be. Requires a continuing education course to include both audio and visual content. Specifies that continuing education credit will be granted only for the actual time that a notary public spends as a learner during the course (breaks, business meetings, and lunches shall not be counted toward continuing education credits).

Approves for use, without prior review or approval by the Office of Professional Regulation, continuing education courses that fulfill specified rule requirements, and that are provided or approved by the American Bar Association, Vermont Bar Association and any Vermont state government agency. Requires all other courses to first be approved by the Office’s Director.

Requires course providers to apply to the Director for course approval through the Office’s online portal.

Audits by the Office. Establishes that the Office shall conduct continuing education audits of randomly selected notary commission holders, including those whose commissions are conditioned. Further establishes that the Office may also audit reinstating commission holders and commission holders who, in any of the preceding two renewal cycles, were initially found not to have met continuing education renewal requirements. Describes the actions of the Office relating to commission holders who appear on the Office’s audit list. Specifies that the Office may request additional documentation and information from the commission holder showing a detailed account of continuing education credits claimed.

Provides that pursuant to 3 V.S.A §129(k), the Office may give commission holders 90 days to develop and complete a corrective action plan for curing any deficiencies in continuing education requirements. Clarifies that courses taken pursuant to a corrective action plan may be counted for only the commission period being audited. Establishes that failure to comply with a corrective action plan may result in disciplinary action under 3 V.S.A. §129a(a)(4).

 
WASHINGTON – HB 1889
Eff. 7-1-24
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Amends the qualifications for obtaining a Washington notary public commission, by striking the requirement that a notary commission applicant be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States. (Elimination of the citizen-or-permanent-legal-resident requirement affects numerous other Washington state license types, as well.)

 
WEST VIRGINIA – HB 5332
Eff. 2-2-24
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Amends West Virginia’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, by requiring only applicants not commissioned as a notary public prior to January 1, 2018 to have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
 
WISCONSIN – AB 1099
Eff. 3-31-24
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Amends Wisconsin’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, as follows.

Requires every notary public to have an official stamp that satisfies the requirements of Wis. Stat. §140.17(1m). The official stamp—which may be an ink-stamp or embosser—must include the notary public’s name, the words “Notary Public” and “State of Wisconsin,” and other information required by the Department of Financial Institutions.


Retains an existing requirement that every qualified notary public commission applicant shall file their signature, post-office address and an impression or imprint of their official stamp with the department, but clarifies that the imprint shall be submitted on a tangible record.

Provides that a notary public’s official stamp may (not “must”) include the notary public’s commission expiration date, if applicable. Clarifies that a notary public’s official stamp shall include no other information except the notary’s name, “Notary Public,” “State of Wisconsin” and the commission expiration date (if the notary elects to include the commission expiration date on the stamp).

Amends existing law to specify that a Wisconsin notary public shall include the notary’s commission expiration date on each notarial certificate the notary completes (or that the commission is permanent, if applicable). Clarifies that this information may be part of an official stamp affixed to or embossed on the notarial certificate; it may be written on the certificate if the record and certificate are tangible (paper); or it may be attached-to/logically associated with the notarial certificate of an electronic document (record).


Provides that the impression or imprint of the official stamp on a tangible record, or the impression upon wafer, wax, or other adhesive substance and affixed or embossed on a tangible record, shall be deemed an affixation or embossing of the official stamp under Wis. Stat. §140.15(2).

Makes various conforming amendments.

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WISCONSIN – Administrative Rule, Notaries Public and Notarial Acts
Effective May 1, 2023
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Creates a new rule, Chapter DFI-CCS 25 – Notaries Public and Notarial Acts. (The effective date is retroactive; the rule was approved by the Governor on May 26, 2022.)

Establishes that in this new Chapter, unless otherwise indicated, words and phrases shall have the same meanings specified in Wisconsin Statutes, Section 140.01 (“Definitions”); Section 140.145 (“Notarial act performed for remotely located individual”) and 990.01 (“Construction of laws; words and phrases”).


Provides that notices and other communications from the Department of Financial Institutions (“the Department”) may be provided to a notary public by email or other electronic means.

Requires a notary public to provide the department with written notice, in a form and manner acceptable to the department, of any change of name, seal or stamp, and address, including primary email address, within 10 days of the change.


Establishes that the department may investigate whether a person has violated, is violating, or is about to violate any provision of Chapter 140, Wisconsin Statutes, or this administrative rule. Provides that the department may administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas, take evidence, require the filing of statements and responses, require testimony in oral or written form, and require production of any records that the department considers relevant or material to the investigation.

Authorizes the department to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on the commission of a notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the competence, reliability, or integrity to act as a notary public. Lists a variety of ways a notary public would demonstrate these undesirable characteristics.


Provides that a Wisconsin notary public may perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual if all the following apply:
The notary public performs the notarial act by utilizing a communication technology provider that has authorized the notary public to utilize its technology and has been approved pursuant to administrative rule s. DFI-CCS 25.04, or by utilizing an alternative process that has been approved under s. DFI-CCS 25.05;
The notary public has reviewed and understands specified state statutes, as well as all guidance published on the department’s website regarding the performance of notarial acts for remotely located individuals;
The notary public is competent with the technologies and processes to be utilized in performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals.

Requires a provider of communication technology used to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals to be approved by the Department before allowing its platform to be used by a Wisconsin notary public to notarize for a remotely located individual.

Allows a communication technology provider to request approval from the Remote Notary Council by submitting documentation or other evidence to the department, in a form and manner acceptable to the Department, that provides explanation of all the following:
(a) How the provider will ensure that notarial acts for a remotely located individual performed on the provider’s platform by a notary public of this state comply with the requirements of ss. 140.145 and 140.20, Stats., and this chapter.
(b) The proposed method of performing a notarial act involving a remotely located individual using the provider’s communication technology.
(c) The proposed method by which a provider’s identity proofing will operate to ensure compliance with s. 140.07, Stats.
(d) Whether the provider’s technology and identity proofing processes meet the most current standards of the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization.
(e) The means used to ensure that notarial acts for a remotely located individual are accurate, authentic, resistant to tampering, and tamper-evident.
(f) The means used to ensure that all parties using the communication technology are viewing the same record, and that all signatures, changes, and attachments to the record are made in real time.
(g) The means used to ensure that the communication technology is secure from hacking or interception.
(h) The means used to ensure that a notarial act for a remotely located individual is recorded and adequately preserved for a period of at least seven years after the recording is made.
(i) The means used to ensure that a notary public is properly instructed and competent to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual using the provider’s communication technology.

(j) All jurisdictions in which a provider’s communication technology has been approved or disapproved for the performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual.
(k) A provider’s experience utilizing the means, processes, and procedures described in this subsection.
(l) Any warning letters or complaints received, or disciplinary actions taken against a provider in any other jurisdiction.
(m) Any pending or adjudicated lawsuits against a provider relating in any way to the performance of notarial acts using the provider’s communication technology in any jurisdiction.
(n) Whether the provider has and will maintain insurance coverage or other security for potential errors or omissions relating to the communication technology or provider’s processes.
(o) Any other information that the department or remote notary council requests and believes is necessary or helpful in evaluating a provider’s request for approval.

Provides that once the department is satisfied that a provider’s application includes the information required, the department shall schedule the application for consideration at a forthcoming meeting of the remote notary council. Outlines the proceedings to be undertaken at such meeting. Provides that upon approval of a provider’s application, the department shall add the provider to a public list of approved providers of communication technology.


Specifies that provider statements are binding. Details a provider’s duty to supplement previously submitted information whenever facts or circumstances change such that any prior material statement, representation or explanation is not longer accurate or complete.

Requires an approved provider to promptly inform the department, in a form and manner acceptable to the department, of notaries public who become newly authorized to use the provider’s communication technology to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals.

Provides conditions under which the department may restrict, limit, suspend, or terminate any approval granted to a provider. Clarifies that when restricting, limiting, suspending, or terminating any approval granted to a provider, the department or the remote notary council may take, or require the provider to take, any further action it deems necessary and appropriate to mitigate risks of harm to notaries public or others.


Establishes that the department may establish alternative processes or methods of performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals in addition to the method of utilizing approved communication technology providers. Such alternative processes or methods must meet the requirements of Chapter 140, Wisconsin Statutes.
 
WYOMING – SB 20
Effective July 1, 2023
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Eliminates the requirement for a color photograph of the holder of a Wyoming state-issued driver license or identification card to be present on these cards. (Whether such photos shall be in color or not will no longer be specified in this particular law.)




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