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Notary Law Updates

  2020 - 2021 Adopted/Enacted Notary Legislation
  Includes bills effective May 2020 - 2021
  (See link at bottom of page for Previous Law Update Archives)
  Page Last Updated: June 1, 2021
 EFFECTIVE:
MAY 2020 JUNE 2020 JULY 2020  AUG. 2020
Wisconsin-AB293
Oregon-HB4212
Nebraska-LB186
Iowa-SB475
Virginia-HB1222
Nebraska-Admin Rules
Kentucky-Admin Rule
Missouri-HB1655
SEPT. 2020  OCT. 2020 NOV. 2020 DEC. 2020
Maryland-Admin Rule
Washington-SB5641
Pennsylvania-HB2370
Washington-Emergency Rules WSR 20-23-080
Colorado-SB20-096
Louisiana-HB54
JAN. 2021 FEB. 2021 MAR. 2021 APR. 2021
Alaska–HB124
Alaska–Admin Rules
Hawaii-SB2275
Colorado-HB21-1004
Vermont-HB256
Indiana-HB1056
New York-SB888
Virginia-HB2064
.
MAY 2021 JUNE 2021 JULY 2021 AUG.2021
Utah-HB276 West Virginia-SB469
Nebraska-LB910
South Dakota-SB193
Arkansas-SB437
Nebraska-LB94
 
ALASKA – HB 124
Signed April 30, 2020
Effective January 1, 2021 (Section 18 effective immediately)
View the enacting bill

Enacts permanent statutes authorizing remote online notarization in The Last Frontier state. Enacts provisions on notarization of electronic records in general; specifies prohibited acts; addresses commissioning issues; establishes electronic and remote online notarization procedures and requirements; and more. (Provisions affecting Limited Governmental Notaries will state so, otherwise all references pertain to Notaries commissioned under AS 44.50.010(a)(1)). Establishes applicability of HB 124’s provisions.

Defines key terms (“notarial act,” “acknowledgment,” “communication technology,” “credential analysis,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “outside the United States,” “record,” “remotely located individual,” “sign,” and “signature” technology”). Clarifies that “document” has the meaning given in Alaska Statutes 40.17.900; and “notarial act” has the meaning given in Alaska Statutes 44.50.200 as amended by Section 15 of HB 124.

Amends various statutes dealing with recording conveyances, to establish that a certified copy or an electronic version of a conveyance of real property has the same effect from the time it recorded as though it were the original conveyance; to provide that for recording eligibility, a document’s original signature(s) may be provided in electronic form; and to provide that the Department of Natural Resources shall accept notarial acts performed for remotely located individual under AS 44.50.075.

Establishes that a recorder may accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate in which the notarial officer executing the notarial certificate has certified that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record. Such tangible copy shall satisfy any requirement that a record accepted for recording be an original.

Replaces the statutorily prescribed, $40 Notary commission application fee with the requirement that the Lieutenant Governor shall set the application fee amount by regulation. (Retains the provision that a limited governmental Notary Public employed by the state may not be required to pay an application fee.)

Increases the amount of a Notary’s required official surety bond from $1000 to $2500.

Authorizes a Notary Public to give a notarial certificate stating that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Makes multiple conforming amendments.

Requires the Lieutenant Governor to adopt administrative regulations to implement the provisions of Title 44, Chapter 50. Specifies that the Lieutenant Governor’s regulations must provide standards for the communication technology and identity proofing used in the performance of remote online notarizations; and for sufficient forms of notarial certificates for notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals.

Clarifies that regulations adopted by the Lieutenant Governor may prescribe the manner of performing notarial acts regarding tangible and electronic records. The regulations may also include provisions to: ensure that change to or tampering with a notarized record is self-evident; ensure integrity in the creation, transmittal, storage or authentication of electronic records or signatures; and prevent fraud or a mistake in the performance of notarial acts. Specifies additional matters that may be addressed by the Lieutenant Governor’s regulations. Further requires the Lieutenant Governor, in adopting, amending or repealing a regulation regarding notarial acts with respect to electronic records, to consider certain specified standards, practices, customs and views.

Authorizes an Alaska Notary Public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies with which to perform notarial acts regarding electronic records. Establishes that no person may require a Notary Public to perform a notarial act regarding an electronic record by using a technology that the Notary has not selected. Requires that, prior to performing his or her/their initial notarial act regarding an electronic record, a Notary Public must notify the Lieutenant Governor that the Notary will be performing such notarial acts, and identify the communication technology the Notary intends to use. If the Lieutenant Governor has adopted standards as provided by law, the chosen technology must conform to the standards and if it does, the Lieutenant Governor shall approve the Notary’s use of it.

Authorizes a Notary Public located in Alaska to use communication technology to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual. Requires a Notary Public, before performing any notarial acts using communication technology, to notify the Lieutenant Governor that the Notary will performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals and identify the communication technologies the Notary intends to use. Establishes that if the Lieutenant Governor has established applicable standards for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, those technologies must conform to the standards.

Establishes that a remotely located individual may comply with the statutory requirements to personally appear and sign before a Notary Public, by using communication technology. Defines “communication technology” and other essential terms. Specifies the requirements for a Notary to identify a remotely located individual. Requires the Notary to reasonably confirm that a record before the Notary is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature. Further requires the Notary, or a person acting on behalf of the Notary, to create an audiovisual recording of the performance of the notarial act. Establishes additional requirements that must be met if the remotely located individual is located outside of the United States.

Requires the notarial certificate for a notarization performed for a remotely located individual to state that the notarial act was performed using communication technology, and provides language sufficient to satisfy this requirement.

Establishes requirements for retention of the audiovisual recordings that must be created of notarizations performed for remotely located individuals. Provides that unless a different period is required under regulations of the Lieutenant Governor, recording must be retained for a period of at least 10 years after a recording is made.

Establishes that by allowing its technology to be used relative to performance of notarial acts for remotely located individuals and the audiovisual recordings of such acts, the technology provider appoints the Lieutenant Governor as its agent for service of process in any related civil action in Alaska.

Requires a Notary Public to maintain a journal in which the Notary chronicles all notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals.

Requires the Notary to retain a journal for 10 years after performance of the last notarial act chronicled in it. Allows the journal to be created on a tangible (paper) medium or in an electronic format. Further requires a Notary to maintain at least one journal in a tangible medium to chronicle all notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals. Allows a Notary to maintain one or more journals in an electronic format, in which to chronicle all notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals.Requires electronic journals to be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format that complies with regulations established by the Lieutenant Governor. Provides the requirements for entries in an electronic journal. Requires a Notary, upon commission resignation, revocation or suspension, to retain the journal(s) as specified by law and information the Lieutenant Governor of the journal’s location.

Provides for the validity of notarial acts performed subject to Chapter 24, Alaska Statutes. Provides that such validity does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate a record so notarized or the transaction that is the subject of the notarial act, or from seeking other remedies based on Alaska or U.S. law. Clarifies that this validity provision does not validate a purported notarial act by an individual who was not authorized to perform notarial acts.

Provides a savings clause. Provides for the immediate effective date of the Lieutenant Governor’s rulemaking authority (Section 18 of HB 124). Provides a January 1, 2021 effective date for the remainder of HB 124.
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ALASKA – Administrative Rules, Remote Online Notarization
Adopted December 2, 2020
Effective January 1, 2021
View these rules

Implements statutory provisions authorizing performance of remote online notarial acts in Alaska. Creates Chapter 88, Notarizations, in Title 6, Part 7 of Alaska’s Administrative Code.

Defines the following key terms: “credential analysis,” “electronic record,” “identification credential,” “multi-factor authentication,” “notarial certificate,” “person,” “personal knowledge,” “real time,” “remote online notarization or remote notarial act,” and “remote presentation.”

Establishes that the application fee for a Notary commission (formerly provided in statute) is $40. Establishes that the application fee to perform notarial acts using communication technology for remotely located individuals is $100 for an initial Notary Public commission. Provides that, for a Notary commissioned under AS 44.50.010 at the time the Notary Public applies to perform remote notarial acts, such application fee is $25 for each remaining year of the Notary’s commission.

Provides statutory standards for remote online notarization technologies. Requires communication technology to provide synchronous audio-video feeds of sufficient video resolution and audio clarity to enable the Notary and remotely located individual to see and speak with each other in real time. Requires the remote online notarization process to provide a means for the Notary to reasonably confirm that a record before the notary is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the remotely located individual executed a signature.

Requires communication technology to provide reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to (a) the live transmission of the audio-video feeds; (b) the methods used to perform the identity proofing; and (c) the electronic record that is the subject of the remote online notarization. Further requires that, if a remotely located individual leaves the online notarization session before the completion of the identity verification process, the individual must restart the identity proofing process from the beginning.

Requires a Notary who does not have personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of a remotely located individual to use a multi-factor authentication procedure to reasonably verify the individual’s identity as specified in the rules. Requires the multi-factor procedure to analyze the individual's identification credential being remotely presented (“remote presentation”) against trusted third-party data sources, bind the individual's identity to the individual following successful knowledge-based authentication assessment, and permit the Notary to visually compare the identification credential and the individual. Establishes that credential analysis and identity proofing must be performed by a reputable third party that has provided evidence to the Notary Public of its ability to satisfy applicable administrative rule requirements. Provides additional requirements for credential analysis .

Authorizes identity proofing to be performed by means of a knowledge-based authentication assessment. Provides requirements for such knowledge-based authentication assessment. Prohibits the Notary Public from being able to see or record the knowledge-based authentication assessment’s questions or answers.

Establishes that multi-factor identification requirements do not apply if a Notary has personal knowledge of the individual’s identity, or if the individual is identified by oath or affirmation of a credible witness. Requires such a credible witness to (a) have personal knowledge of the remotely located individual; and (b) be identified by the Notary through the Notary’s personal knowledge of the witness or through a multi-factor authentication procedure. Authorizes a credible witness to be outside the physical presence of the Notary Public or the remotely located individual if the Notary, credible witness, and remotely located individual can communicate by using communication technology.

Provides for the sufficiency of a notarial certificate for a remote online notarization. Establishes that such notarial certificate is sufficient if it is substantially in a form prescribed by Alaska laws and regulations, and conforms with AS 44.50.075(c) by including a statement that the notarization was performed using communication technology.
 
ARKANSAS – SB 437
Signed March 25, 2021
Effective August 2, 2021*
View this bill

Makes a technical correction to clarify that Arkansas law allows an individual who is not a resident of Arkansas to apply for an Arkansas Notary commission if the individual is a legal resident of an adjoining state who is employed in Arkansas or operating a business in Arkansas.
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* NOTE: This effective date is estimated, based on the following explanation: Unless there is an emergency clause or an enactment clause that specifies otherwise, legislation takes effect 90 days after sine die adjournment. In Arkansas, this period of time is a constitutionally-reserved right of the people to file a referendum petition blocking non-emergency legislation. In addition, if this referendum deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadline must instead move to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. For this reason, the effective date may end up being slightly later than 90 days after adjournment.
 
COLORADO – HB 21-1004
Signed January 1, 2021
Effective January 1, 2021
View this bill
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


Enacts the “Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act.” Declares that an electronic will is a will for all purposes of Colorado law.

Defines “electronic,” “electronic presence,” “electronic will,” “record,” “sign,” “state,” and “will.”

Clarifies applicability of law, and establishes choice of law regarding the electronic will’s execution.

Specifies requirements for executing and revoking an electronic will; and simultaneously executing, attesting, and making an electronic will self-proving. Addresses the involvement of a Notary Public or other individual authorized by Colorado law to notarize records, and who is located in Colorado at the time the notarial act is performed.

Provides that extrinsic evidence may establish a testator’s intent that a record executed under Colo. Rev. Stat. §15-12-1505(1)(a) shall be the testator’s electronic will. Provides the forms of acknowledgment and affidavits for executing, attesting and making an electronic will self-proving, and requires that forms actually used must substantially comply with the forms provided in statute.

Establishes that an individual may create a certified paper copy of an electronic will by affirming under penalty of perjury that a paper copy of the electronic will is a complete, true, and accurate copy of the electronic will. Requires that if the electronic will is made self-proving, the certified paper copy of the will must include the self-proving affidavits.

Amends Colorado law to clarify that a Notary Public shall not use a remote notarization system to notarize a will, codicil, document purporting to be a will or codicil or any acknowledgment required under Colo. Rev. Stat. §15-11-502 or §15-11-204 except as provided in the Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act.

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COLORADO – SB 20-096
Signed June 26, 2020
Effective December 31, 2020
View this bill

Enacts remote online notarization in Colorado. Defines key terms: “appear personally,” “audio-video communication,” “credential,” “credential analysis,” “dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment,” “outside the United States,” “public key certificate,” “real-time or in real time,” “remotely located individual,” “remote notarization,” “remote notarization system,” “remote presentation,” and “tamper-evident.”

Authorizes a Colorado Notary Public to perform a remote notarization only with respect to electronic records and in compliance with state law and administrative rules, for a remotely located individual located in Colorado; outside of Colorado but within the United States; or outside the United States if the Notary Public has no actual knowledge that the notarial act is prohibited in the jurisdiction in which the remotely located individual is physically located at the time of the act and the individual confirms to the Notary that the requested notarial act and the record relate to a matter to be filed with or that is currently before a court, governmental entity or other entity in the United States; property located in the United States; or a transaction substantially connected to the United States.

Requires a Notary Public, before performing his or her/their initial notarization using a remote notarization system, to notify the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing remote notarizations and to identify each remote notarization system that the Notary Public intends to use. Requires any such system to conform to provisions of Colorado’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) and any administrative rules. Requires a Notary Public submitting such notification to the Secretary to use any notification format required by the Secretary, include an affirmation that the Notary has read and will comply with RULONA and any administrative rules, and provide proof of completing any training and examination required by the Secretary.

Establishes that a Notary Public performing a notarial act for a remotely located individual by means of audio-video communication must be located in Colorado at the time the notarial act is performed and execute specified steps of the notarization in compliance with provisions specified in Colorado law. Clarifies that the venue for the notarial act is the jurisdiction within the State of Colorado where the Notary Public is physically located while performing the notarial act.

Requires a Notary Public to determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of identity as specified, that a remotely located individual appearing before the Notary by means of audio-video communication is the individual that he or she purports to be. Establishes that a Notary Public has satisfactory evidence of identity of a remotely located individual if the Notary can identify the individual by means of audio-video communication, using at least one of the following methods: (1) oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the Notary Public and who is physically present with either the Notary or the remotely located individual at the time of remote notarization; (2) remote presentation and credential analysis of a government-issued identification credential and least one of three other specified identification verification methods; or (3) any other method. Any/all methods used must comply with rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

Allows a Notary Public to refuse to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual if the Notary is not satisfied that statutory requirements are being met.

Requires the certificate of a notarial act to indicate that the notarial act was performed using audio-video communication technology. Makes conforming amendments to provisions of Colorado law dealing with the sufficiency of a notarial certificate.

Requires a Notary Public to maintain a record of each remote notarization performed in an electronic journal.

Requires a Notary Public to create an audio-video recording of each remote notarization performed, but only if: the Notary first discloses certain facts to the remotely individual including the fact that the recording is being made and details of its intended storage; the remotely located individual explicitly consents to both the recording and the storage of the recording; and the recording is stored and secured in compliance with administrative rules of the Secretary of State.

Clarifies that the audio-video recording must be in addition to the required journal entry for each remote notarization performed. Requires the recording to include certain statutorily specified actions, recitations, statements and explanations. Establishes that statutory provisions relating to the security, inspection, copying and retention/disposition of a Notary Public’s journal apply equally to the audio-video recordings that may be created.

Establishes that the failure of a Notary Public to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in certain statutory provisions relating to the audio-video recording does not invalidate a remote notarization performed. Further establishes that a Notary is not liable to any person for damages claimed to arise from a failure to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in certain statutory provisions relating to the audio-video recording.

Establishes that regardless of the physical location of the remotely located individual at the time of the notarial act, the validity of a remote notarization performed by a Colorado Notary is governed by the laws of Colorado, including any rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

Provides requirements to be met by providers of a remote notarization system or storage system wishing to be approved by the Secretary of State for use by Colorado Notaries Public. Specifies certain performance requirements for remote notarization systems.

Provides that certain records classified as privileged under Colorado Law remain privileged in their electronic form, when secured and stored by a remote notarization system.

Prohibits a Notary Public from using a remote notarization system to notarize a record relating to the electoral process; or a will, codicil, or any acknowledgment required under cited Colorado law pertaining to wills.

Expands and clarifies the scope of the Secretary of State’s rule making authority. Clarifies that until the December 31, 2020 effective date of SB 20-096, the “remote ink-signed notarization” provisions of the Governor’s Executive Order prescribing COVID-19 notarization procedures remain in effect.

Requires Colorado title insurance agents or title insurance companies who must provide a certain customer disclosure under CRS 10-11-122 to also provide a statement substantially as: “Colorado Notaries may remotely notarize real estate deeds and other documents using real-time audio-video communication technology. You may choose not to use remote notarization for any document.”
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COLORADO – Administrative Rules, 8 CCR 1505-11
Adopted December 1, 2020
Effective December 31, 2020
View these rules

The Colorado Secretary of State has adopted permanent rules to implement remote online notarization.

Provides that the rule’s purpose is to “ensure the uniform and proper administration, implementation, and enforcement of the Colorado Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) and to answer questions arising under the Act.”

Defines and clarifies certain terms used in Colorado’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts as well as terms used in the new rule: “personal information,” “provider,” “remote notarization system provider,” “remote notarization storage provider.”

Clarifies that a Notary commission applicant must provide their legal name on applications and renewals. The applicant’s first and last name must match the name on the applicant’s government-issued identification. If the last name on the identification contains more than one name, the applicant must include all those names in the last name field of the application, not abbreviating any part.

Clarifies that an individual must already be commissioned as a Colorado Notary Public, with “active” status, in order to be approved as a Remote Notary.

Establishes that a Notary Public must submit a notice of intent on the approved application form and receive approval from the Secretary of State before the Notary may remotely notarize a document. Allows an individual to file the notice of intent when initially applying to become a Colorado Notary Public, but clarifies that the individual may perform remote notarizations only after being commissioned as a Notary and approved as a Remote Notary.

Prescribes the application information that an applicant to become a Remote Notary must provide, including proof of successful completion of remote notarization training and examination and the required fee. . Clarifies that the applicant must select at least one approved remote notarization system provider and may select multiple providers.

Establishes that the Secretary of State will provide the required remote notarization training course and examination. Provides that the Secretary may designate a third-party training course or appoint certified Notary Public instructors to administer the remote training course and testing for applicants, if such need is determined by the Secretary.

Establishes that a certificate of successful completion of an approved course of instruction shall expire 90 days from the date of its issuance. Specifies information to appear on every certificate of completion.

Requires a Remote Notary Public to renew every four years until his or her/their regular Notary Public commission requires renewal, whichever date occurs first. Requires a Remote Notary Public, no more than 90 days before renewing his or her/their Remote Notary status, to successfully complete renewal training, pass the required exam, and pay the required fee. Requires a renewing Remote Notary to select at least one approved remote notarization system provider and clarifies that the Remote Notary may select multiple approved system providers.

Establishes the circumstances under which the Secretary of State’s approval for a Notary Public to perform remote notarizations automatically expires. Requires execution of certain procedures regarding the expired Remote Notary’s electronic seal, electronic signature, journal and audio-video recordings, unless the Secretary of State reapproves the Notary within 30 days of the expiration.

Prescribes requirements for the Remote Notary’s electronic signature and seal used for remote notarizations. Requires both the electronic signature and electronic seal used by a Remote Notary for remote notarizations to match in appearance (and content, relative to the seal) the image of the Notary’s manually applied official stamp; and the manual “official signature” of the Notary on file with the Secretary of State for the Notary’s most recent underlying commission. Clarifies that neither the remote notarization application nor any update form may be used to change the Notary’s manual signature on file with the Secretary of State.

Specifies retention and use requirements for a Remote Notary’s seal and electronic signature, including that both must be retained under the Remote Notary Public’s sole control and access. Prohibits a Remote Notary’s employer, including the employer’s employees and agents, from using or permitting the use of a Remote Notary’s seal or electronic signature by anyone except the Remote Notary Public.

Requires that on resignation or revocation of the Notary Public’s commission, or on the Notary’s death or adjudication of incompetency, the Notary or the Notary’s personal representative or guardian must delete the Notary’s electronic seal and electronic signature from the remote notary system provider’s system.

Charges a Remote Notary Public with the ongoing duty to verify that each remote notary provider used has “Active” status with the Secretary of State’s office, before using that provider’s remote notarization system to perform a remote notarization. Clarifies that this duty extends to each remote notarization to be performed.

Provides the specific circumstances under which a Remote Notary must stop and restart a remote notarization process from the beginning.
 

HAWAII – SB 2275
Signed September 15, 2020
Effective January 1, 2021
View this bill

Revises Hawaii’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, and authorizes remote online notarization.

Definitions
Defines or amends the definition of key terms: “Acknowledgment,” “communication technology,” “document,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “Notary Public,” “outside the United States,” “proof of the signer’s signature and identity,” “remote online notary public,” “remotely located individual,” “sign,” “signature,” “stamping device,” “tamper-evident,” “verification on oath or affirmation

Notary Seal
Amends Hawaii’s official seal requirements. Repeals the embossing seal (“engraved seal of office”) for use as an official seal; a rubber stamp is now the only device allowed for notarizing tangible documents. Specifies that a Notary seal shall clearly show the same required information elements, whether stamped or impressed on a tangible (paper) document or attached to or logically associated with an electronic document. (No change to the required information elements.) Requires the Notary seal to be capable of being copied together with the document to which it is stamped, impressed or attached, or with which it is logically associated.

Clarifies that when filing a copy of his or her/their commission with the applicable clerk of the circuit court, the seal impression to be included is that for the tangible (ink-stamp) seal and that a Notary Public’s electronic seal is not subject to the filing requirement. Provides that the clerk may maintain such Notary records in tangible or electronic form.

Repeals a $200 penalty against a Notary or Notary’s personal representative for failing to comply with certain statutory requirements regarding disposition of the Notary’s seal upon the Notary’s resignation, death, expiration of commission without renewal, commission revocation or abandonment of commission. Also upon occurrence of any of these conditions, requires a Notary who has used an electronic stamping device to disable the device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing or securing it such that it is unusable, and to submit a declaration to the Attorney General that the stamping device was disabled, and detailing the date and manner in which the device was disabled.

Surety Bond
Clarifies that the provisions of HRS §456-5 apply to a surety bond continuation certificate as well as to a bond.

Performing Notarial Acts
Clarifies that a Notary Public may perform a notarial act authorized by Chapter 456 or by other Hawaii law. Prohibits a Notary Public from performing a notarial act with respect to a document in which the Notary or the Notary’s spouse or civil partner is a party, or in which either of them has a direct beneficial interest, and establishes that a notarial act performed in violation of this prohibition is voidable.

Amends and significantly expands the statutory definition of “proof of the signer’s signature and identity.” A Notary Public has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual appearing before the Notary Public if the Notary can identify the individual:

1. By means of:
   (a) Having personal knowledge* of the identity of an individual before the officer if the individual is personally known to the notary public through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed;
   (b) A passport, driver’s license, or government-issued non-driver identification card that is valid+ or expired no more than three years prior to the performance of the notarial act and contains the signature and photograph of the individual;
   (c) Another form of government identification issued to an individual that is valid or expired no more than three years prior to performance of the notarial act, contains the signature and photograph of the individual, and is satisfactory to the notary public; or
   (d) By verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the notary public and known to the notary public or whom the notary public can identify on the basis of a passport, driver’s license, or government-issued non-driver identification card that is valid or expired no more than three years prior to performance of the notarial act; or

2. By requiring an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the notary public of the identity of the individual.
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*NOTE – This new statutory language replaces prior, deleted language regarding personal knowledge.
+NOTE - The phrase “valid or expired no more than three years prior to performance of the notarial act ” replaces the former term, “current.”

Clarifies what constitutes the offense of a Notary’s failure to verify the identity of a signer for whom the Notary is performing a notarial act.

Specifies that the Notary’s commission expiration date shall appear on the Notary certification (notarial certificate). Repeals the requirement for the Notary certification to include an identification or description of the document being notarized.

Establishes that a Notary’s official stamp shall be affixed to the notarial certificate for a tangible record, and attached to/logically associated with the notarial certificate for an electronic record, if the certificate contains the information specified in HRS §456-21 (i.e., the certificate is completed with all required information).

Amends provisions of Hawaii’s statutes dealing with conveyances, recording and related acknowledgments. Amends HRS §502-42 by requiring that the certificate state in substance how the person who executed the instrument was identified by the notary, including “by other satisfactory evidence of identity under the law of this State.” Further amends HRS §502-42 by requiring a notarial certificate to indicate, when applicable, that a notarial act was performed using communication technology.

Amends HRS §502-48 regarding a notarial acknowledgment certificate for a conveyance or other instrument conveying real property, which requires the certificate to indicate the means by which the Notary Public identified the acknowledging person. Adds “obtaining satisfactory evidence of identity of a remotely located individual under Section 456-B” as a possible identification means by which the Notary identified a person making an acknowledgment.

Authorizes a Notary Public to certify that a tangible copy of an electronic document is an accurate copy of the electronic document.

Requires that, when a Notary is notarizing and signing for a disabled person as described in HRS §456-19, any doctor’s written certification that the person is unable to physically sign or make a mark because of the person’s disability shall be attached to the document.

Repeals the Attorney General’s authorization to fine a Notary Public $500 for failing to describe, in close proximity to the acknowledgment or jurat, the document being notarized including the number of pages and date of the document.

Authorizes a Notary Public to refuse to perform a notarial act if the Notary is: not satisfied that the person executing the document is competent or has the capacity to execute the document; not satisfied that the person’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made; or not satisfied that the Notary has proof of the signer’s signature and identity or, if the person is a remotely located individual, satisfactory evidence of the identity as prescribed in §456-B of Hawaii’s RULONA. Prohibits a Notary from refusing to perform a notarial act if such refusal is prohibited by other law.

Authorizes the Attorney General to adopt, amend or repeal rules regarding the performance of notarial acts under Section 456-B, and provides what such rules may include. Requires the Attorney General, before adopting, amending or repealing a rule governing the 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 that have laws substantially similar to Section 456-B; and the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.

Journal
Modernizes statutory language requiring a Notary Public to keep records of all notarial acts performed. Requires a Notary Public to maintain a journal in which the Notary chronicles all notarial acts performed. Requires the Notary to retain a journal for 10 years after performance of the last notarial act chronicled in it.

Establishes that a journal may be created on a tangible (paper) medium or in an electronic format. Specifies that a Notary shall maintain only one tangible journal at a time in which all notarial acts regarding tangible documents are chronicled; and one electronic journal at a time in which all notarial acts regarding electronic documents are chronicled. Requires that a tangible journal just be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. Requires an electronic journal to be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with rules of the Attorney General.

Requires that an entry in a journal shall be made contemporaneously with performance of the notarial act, and specifies the information to be contained in each entry. Clarifies that the “full” printed name of each person whose signature was notarized shall be entered, and that the signature of such person is required if the journal is in a tangible (paper) medium. Requires expanded details regarding how the Notary identified the person. Requires the Notary’s fee, if any, to be entered in the journal.

Authorizes a Notary Public to have his or her/their journal photographed, microphotographed, reproduced on film or copied to an electronic format. Requires that any device or electronic storage system used to copy or reproduce the journal shall accurately reflect the information and all details contained in the original. Establishes that a photograph, microphotograph, reproduction on film or electronic copy of a journal shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes, including introduction in evidence in all courts or administrative agencies, and that a transcript, exemplification, facsimile or certified copy made of such shall be deemed to be a transcript, exemplification, facsimile or certified of the original record.

Prescribes actions the Notary Public must take if the journal is lost or stolen; if the Notary resigns his or her/their commission; or the commission expires, is revoked or suspended. Prescribes actions to be taken by the Notary’s personal representative or guardian, or any other person knowingly in possession of the journal, upon the death or adjudication of incompetency of a current or former Notary. Repeals similar, existing statutory provisions.

Establishes that journals are subject to reasonable periodic, special, or other audits or inspections by the Attorney General, within or without Hawaii, as considered appropriate by the Attorney General. Provides potential audit-related actions that may be taken by the Attorney General. Establishes an administrative of not less than $50 or more than $500 for a Notary’s failure to comply with these statutory provisions.

Repeals the Attorney General’s authorization to fine a Notary Public $500 for failing to surrender the Notary’s recordbooks (journals) to the Attorney General within 90 days of the end date of the commission term (without renewal), resignation or removal from office.

Electronic Notarization
Establishes provisions relating to notarization of electronic records. Allows a Notary Public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic documents. Prohibits a person from requiring a Notary Public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic document with a technology that the Notary Public has not selected.

Requires a Notary Public, before performing his or her/their initial notarial act with respect to an electronic document, to notify the Attorney General that the Notary Public will be performing such notarial acts and identify the technology the Notary Public intends to use. Provides that the technology chosen by a Remote Online Notary Public for remote online notarizations shall conform to the attorney general’s standards developed for Chapter 456.

Remote Online Notarization
Provides that a Notary Public or an applicant for a Notary Public commission may apply to the Attorney General to be commissioned as a Remote Online Notary Public. Provides qualifications to be commissioned as a Remote Online Notary Public. Changes terminology from “appoint,” “appointed,” “appointment” and other variations to “commission,” “commissioned,” etc. Clarifies that the failure to renew a commission in a timely manner shall (not may) cause the commission to be forfeited.

Establishes that a person qualifies to be commissioned as a Remote Online Notary Public by satisfying the qualification requirements for commission as a Hawaii Notary Public; paying the application fee; and submitting an application in the form prescribed by the Attorney General that satisfies the Attorney General that the applicant is qualified. Further establishes that an individual commissioned as a Hawaii Remote Online Notary Public is a Notary Public for purposes of Chapter 456, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and is subject to the requirements, powers and duties of a Notary public under Chapter 456.

Allows the Attorney General to charge a Remote Online Notary Public application fee. Requires a Remote Online Notary Public to promptly file a literal or photostatic copy of his or her/their Remote Online Notary commission with the clerk of the circuit court of the circuit in which the Remote Online Notary Public resides.

Requires that before a Remote Online Notary Public performs his or her/their initial remote online notarial act, the Remote Online Notary Public must notify the Attorney General that the Remote Online Notary will be performing notarial acts with respect to remotely located individuals. Further requires the Remote Online Notary’s notification to identify the technologies the Notary intends to use; such technology must conform to the Attorney General’s standards.

Authorizes a Remote Online Notary Public located in Hawaii to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual if (all of the following):
the Notary has personal knowledge of the identity of the individual; satisfactory evidence of the individual’s identity by oath or affirmation of a credible witness appearing before the Remote Online Notary; or has obtained satisfactory evidence of the individual’s identity by using at least two different types of identity proofing;
the Notary is reasonably able to confirm that a document before the Remote Online Notary is the same document in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature;
for a remotely located individual located outside of the United States, the document 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 involves 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.

Establishes that a remotely located individual may comply with the statutory requirement to personally appear before or be in the presence of a Notary Public at the time of notarial act performance, by using communication technology to appear before a Remote Online Notary Public.

Requires that any certificate of a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual must indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology. Provides that such notarial certificate is sufficient if it complies with rules adopted under Section 456-B of Chapter 456, Hawaii Revised Statutes; or is in the form authorized by Hawaii law and contains a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

Requires the Remote Online Notary; the guardian, conservator, or agent of Remote Online Notary; or a personal representative of a deceased Notary to retain the audiovisual recording of a remote online notarization that is required under Section 456-B or they may cause the recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the recording.

The recording must be retained for a period of at least 10 years after recording is made, unless a different period is required by administrative rule adopted under Section 456-B.

Establishes a fee of $25 for performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual under Section 456-B, except that the fee does not apply to affixing a Notary certificate to a duplicate original.

Other Provisions
Authorizes the registrar of conveyances to accept for recording under HRS Chapter 502 a tangible copy of an electronic document containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that a document accepted for recording be an original, if the Notary Public executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic document.

Mandates an electronic processing service fee of up to 10% of the amount of the transaction to be charged and collected by the Attorney General. Enables the Attorney General to charge and collect a $200 administrative fine for a Notary Public’s failure to disable his or her/their electronic stamping device within 90 days of resignation, revocation of commission or the expiration of a commission term without renewal.

Provides for the validity of notarial acts. Establishes that except as otherwise provided in Section 456-14, a Notary Public’s failure to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in Chapter 456 does not validate or invalidate a notarial act performed by the Notary Public. Clarifies that the validity of a notarial act under Chapter 456 does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the document or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act or from seeking other remedies based on Hawaii law other than Chapter 456 or based on United States law. Further clarifies that these provisions do not validate a purported notarial act performed by a person without authority to perform notarial acts.

Establishes that all a Notary’s unpaid fees, fines and forfeitures shall constitute a debt due and owing to the State of Hawaii.

 
INDIANA – HB 1056
Signed February 18, 2021
Effective February 18, 2021
View this bill

Amends the requirements for instruments and conveyances to be recorded. Adds instances in which an instrument is considered validly recorded for purposes of providing constructive notice. Defines certain terms.

Significantly, this measure rectifies a confounding 2020 Indiana Code amendment required an acknowledgment and a proof to have been performed on a document in order for it to be recorded in Indiana’s land records. The former statutory requirement of an acknowledgment or a proof is reestablished.
 

IOWA - Administrative Rule, Amending 721—Chapter 43 Notarial Acts
Effective July 1, 2020
View this rule

This rule-making action implements, in whole or in part, Iowa Code Chapter 9B; proposes procedures for electronic and remote notarial acts; amends multiple existing rules governing Notaries Public; and renumbers and edits rules as necessary.

Establishes that an individual wishing to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals must complete and file an application to do so, in addition to any application for appointment as a Notary Public.

Requires (new) applicants submitting an application for an Iowa Notary Public appointment after July 1, 2020 to complete, within the six-month period immediately preceding application submission, an initial training course approved by the Secretary of State. Additionally requires individuals submitting an initial application for approval to perform remote notarizations to complete—within the six-month period immediately preceding the first performance of a remote notarial act—a Secretary of State-approved training course concerning requirements and methods for performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals.  In both cases, satisfactory proof of course completion must be provided to the Secretary of State.  Also establishes an “update course” training requirement for actively commissioned Notaries seeking reappointment as an Iowa Notary Public, and requires satisfactory proof of update course completion to be submitted to the Secretary of State.

Provides that a Notary Public’s approval to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals expires on the same date as the individual’s Notary Public commission. Establishes that two months preceding the expiration of Remote Notary approval, the Secretary of State will notify the Notary Public of the approval expiration date and furnish an application for reapproval. Allows the Secretary to combine the Notary Public reappointment and Remote Notary approval forms.

Clarifies that the location (venue) of a Notary Public at the time a notarial act is performed determines the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed.

Mirrors and emphasizes enacted law by requiring that an Iowa Notary’s certificate of a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual using communication technology must indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology per Iowa Code section 9B.14A(4); and that the short form notarial certificates for notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals must meet the requirements of Iowa Code section 9B.14A(5).

Establishes that a notarized document is deemed to be in compliance with statutory requirements for a notarial act on an electronic record when either the Notary Public attaches an electronic notarial certificate that meets the requirements of Iowa Code section 9B.15(3); or the document is submitted and accepted on the electronic document management system (EDMS) administered by the Iowa judicial branch.

Mandates that a Notary Public shall protect against unauthorized access to the recording of a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual; and to any “personally identifiable information” (defined in Iowa Code section 9B.14C(1)) disclosed during the performance of an electronic notarial act using audio-visual communications.  Clarifies exceptions to this mandate.

Establishes comprehensive standards for communication technology and identity proofing for notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals.

Establishes extensive requirements for providers of communication technology, and requires that a Notary Public authorized to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals may use a provider only if the provider has registered with and been approved by the Secretary of State; allows the remote Notary Public sole control of the recording of the electronic notarial act using audio-visual communication (subject to the authorized access granted by the Notary); and provides the Notary with access to the recording of the electronic notarial act using audio-visual communication. Mandates that a provider of communication technology shall protect against unauthorized access to the recording of a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual; and to any “personally identifiable information” disclosed during performance of an electronic notarial act using audio-visual communication.

Prescribes procedures and requirements for providers of communication technology to register for approval by the Secretary of State. Establishes that the Secretary may rescind provider approval for any ground listed in the rule or any other grounds that materially affect the ability of Notaries Public to meet the requirements of Iowa law. Provides for the procedure for rescinding provider approval and clarifies that the Secretary may dismiss the matter.

Makes other necessary amendatory revisions.
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IOWA – SB 475
Effective July 1, 2020
View this bill

Authorizes remote online notarizations (Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts section regarding notarial acts for remotely located individuals). Provides definitions. Requires a Notary Public to notify the Secretary of State of the intent to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals and identify the technology to be used. Establishes that remote notarization technologies must satisfy any standards for communication technology or identity proofing published by the Secretary of State. Provides rulemaking authority to the Secretary of State.
 
KENTUCKY –ADMINISTRATIVE RULE, 30 KAR 8:005
Effective August 20, 2020
View these rules

Permanent rules to implement the new law created by Senate Bill 114, as follows.

Defines terms (“digital certificate,” “electronic record,” “Notary technology,” “Online Notary Public,” “tangible record”).

Clarifies certain requirements related to commission application procedures. Addresses approval or denial/disapproval of application for commission. Prescribes notification requirements related to commission resignation (“voluntary termination”) and changes to the Notary’s commission information.

Provides qualifications, procedures and requirements for registering to notarize electronic records for physically present principals; and to notarize records for remotely located individuals (“electronic”—i.e. remote—notarization). Provides that an individual shall indicate whether he or she is registering to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records or electronic (online) notarizations, or both. Requires the registration form to be submitted electronically to the Secretary of State. Addresses approval or disapproval of registration by the Secretary of State. Specifies how a Notary Public may terminate an electronic registration and clarifies that such termination will not terminate the individual’s Notary Public commission. Provides that commission renewal of a Notary Public who has previously registered to perform notarial acts with regard to electronic records or online notarizations constitutes renewal of his or her registration. Provides for the Notary’s ability to receive, install or use a hardware or software update to his or her chosen technologies if such update does not result in technologies that are materially different from the technologies the Notary Public identified in his or her registration.

Establishes standards for notarization of electronic records, including tamper-evident technology requirements. Prescribes the Notary’s use of a digital certificate complying with the X.509 standard adopted by the International Telecommunication Union or similar industry-standard technology. Requires a Notary Public to use his or her digital certificate to attach or logically associate the Notary’s electronic signature and official stamp, if any, to an electronic record that is the subject of a notarial act. Prohibits a Notary Public from performing an electronic notarization if the digital certificate has expired, has been revoked or terminated by the issuing or registering authority; is invalid; or is incapable of authentication.

Provides requirements of an official stamp. Requires a Notary Public who uses an official stamp to use the same unique official stamp for all notarial acts performed with respect to electronic records and for all notarial acts that are performed for a physically present individual. Provides that an official stamp under this rule is an official seal of office of the Notary Public for all purposes. Specifies required information, format and size for the official stamp. Addresses protection of a Notary Public’s official stamp and disposition of the official stamp upon the Notary’s resignation, commission revocation or expiration.

Clarifies that a Notary Public shall not be required to use an official stamp when performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records. Requires that if a Notary Public elects not to use an official stamp when performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records, the electronic record’s certificate of notarial act must contain the name of the Notary Public as it appears on his or her commission; indicate the title “Notary Public” for any notarial act with respect to electronic records; and indicate the Notary’s commission number and commission expiration date.

Requires a Notary Public to promptly notify the Secretary of State upon actual knowledge of theft or vandalism of the of the Notary’s technology or electronic stamping device, as well as actual knowledge of unauthorized use by another person of the Notary’s electronic signature, Notary technology or electronic stamping device.

Establishes that a Notary Public may certify that a tangible copy of an electronic is an accurate copy of the electronic if the Notary has taken reasonable steps to confirm the accuracy of that certification.

Establishes extensive standards for electronic (remote) notarizations addressing matters including the Notary’s required physical location in the Commonwealth of Kentucky at the time of performing the electronic notarization; identity proofing requirements and procedures; requirements for communication technology in the performance of online notarizations; reasonable security measures that communication technology must provide; and the required recording of all notarial acts performed using communication technology.

Requires a provider of electronic or online notarization technology to register with the Secretary of State as prescribed by the Secretary, and to provide specified information. Addresses complaints against, and investigation by the Secretary of, a Notary technology provider. Prescribes certain duties to be fulfilled by a Notary technology provider.

Requires a Notary Public registered to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records or electronic notarizations to maintain one or more journals in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format to chronicle those notarizations. Specifies the information to be recorded in a journal entry, and that a journal entry shall be made contemporaneously with performance of the notarial act. Prohibits a journal entry from including identification numbers assigned to an individual by a governmental agency or any biometric identifier. For notarial acts involving remotely located individuals using communication technology, requires the journal entry to include an audio-visual recording (or a link thereto) of the performance of the notarial act in compliance with KRS Chapter 423 and this administrative regulation. Prohibits an audio-visual recording from including images of any record in which a remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature.

Addresses secure storage of the electronic journal against unauthorized access. Specifies the retention period of electronic journals and audio-visual recordings. Authorizes a Notary Public registered to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records or electronic notarizations to engage a third person to act as a repository to provide the required journal and recording storage. Allows a Notary Public’s guardian, conservator, agent or a deceased Notary’s personal representative to likewise engage a third-person repository. Specifics contract provisions for such engagement. Specifies actions to be taken relative to a Notary’s journal and stored audio-visual recordings, upon the death or adjudication of incompetency of the current or former Notary Public. Addresses Notary Public responsibilities relative to a lost, stolen or improperly accessed journal. Prohibits a Notary Public from allowing access to this or her journal except under specified circumstances. Requires a Notary Public to promptly notify the Secretary of State of a lost or stolen journal, upon the Notary’s discovery of such circumstance.

Requires a Notary Public to notify the Secretary of State of the Notary’s intent to use communication technology in the performance of notarial acts with respect to tangible records. Requires such notification to occur prior to the initial use of communication technology for this purpose. Specifies how a Notary Public, using communication technology in the performance of notarial acts with respect to tangible records, shall have satisfactory evidence of identity of the remotely located individual. Requires the Notary Public to create and maintain for at least 10 years an audio-visual recording of the performance of such a notarial act. Requires the notarial certificate for such a notarial act to contain the statement, “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

Addresses matters regarding Notary Public discipline and Notary complaints. Provides that any condition, restriction, suspension or revocation of a Notary commission shall have the same effect on the individual’s electronic or online registration if the Notary holds such registration.
 
LOUISIANA—HB 54
Signed October 10, 2020
Effective December 22, 2020
View this bill

Under existing law, Louisiana residents are authorized to have a digitized driver’s license or identification card provided by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles, as an alternative to a physical driver’s license or identification card.

House Bill 65 retains existing law and creates new law—Chapter 61, Title 51, Louisiana Revised statutes of 1950—establishing acceptance of digitized identification cards in The Pelican State.

Defines “consumer, “digitized identification card,” “person,” and “trade” or “commerce.”

Requires a person* requesting a consumer to produce valid identification for the purpose of furnishing proof of the consumer’s identification or age to accept a state-issued digitized identification card as a valid form of identification.
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*”Person” is defined in law as any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, union, public or private education institution, or other organization, including but not limited to a bar or restaurant that is engaged in trade or commerce within Louisiana’s geographic boundaries.

Clarifies that a digital copy, photograph or image of a digitized identification card which is not downloaded through a state-approved application on a mobile device shall not be considered a valid digitized identification card under Louisiana law.

Establishes that the display of a digitized identification card does not serve as consent or authorization for a person to search, view or access any other data or application on the consumer’s mobile device. Requires a person, to whom a consumer has presented the consumer’s mobile device for purpose of displaying a digitized identification card, to promptly return the mobile device to the consumer after verifying the identity or age of the consumer and the current status of the license or identification card.

Exempts the State of Louisiana or any of its agencies, as well as a private business, legal entity or person, from liability in any manner legally or otherwise as a result of the use or misuse of a digitized identification card.

Establishes the authority of certain named state entities to take actions, not inconsistent with law, as deemed necessary to ensure a respective licensee’s compliance with new law provisions.

Provides that new law provisions do not apply to a Louisiana location of business where a physical copy of an individual’s current driver’s license, valid passport, or visa issued by the federal government or another country or nation, or another card of identity, is held in compliance with state or federal law.

Clarifies that, notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the provisions of Chapter 61 do not apply to:
• A federally insured depository institution that is organized under Louisiana law, another state or the United States;
• An entity licensed pursuant to Title 27 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, including but not limited to a casino, official gaming establishment, or other establishment providing gaming operations; or
• An entity licensed pursuant to Chapter 4 of Title 4 of the Louisiana Revised Statues of 1950;
• A person validating identification for notarial acts involving immovable property, authentic acts, testaments or codicils thereto, trust instruments or acknowledgments thereof, donations inter vivos, matrimonial agreements or acknowledgments thereof, and acts modifying,
...except that these specified institutions and entities may, at their option, accept a digitized identification card as a valid form of identification.*
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*NOTE: ASN is seeking clarification on whether a Louisiana Notary employed by any above-named institutions or entities, and performing a notarial act related to the employer’s business, must refuse acceptance of a valid digitized ID card as satisfactory evidence of identification if the institution or entity has chosen not to accept such ID for their business purposes.
 
MARYLAND ADMINISTRATIVE RULES – COMAR 01.02.08 Notary Public: General Regulations
Effective October 5, 2020
View these rules (adopted as proposed in Maryland Register, Vol. 47, Issue 16, Friday-July 31, 2020. Scroll to page 739/pdf page 11)
View announcement of adoption and effective date (Scroll to page 874/pdf page 14)


Implementing the Maryland Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) and provisions for remote online notarization that take effect on October 1, 2020, and amending Regulation 01; repealing existing Regulation 02; amending and recodifying existing Regulation 03 to be Regulation 02; recodifying existing Regulation .04 to be Regulation .03; and adopting new Regulations .04 through .12 under COMAR 01.02.08 Notary Public: General Regulations. Rules are adopted as proposed in the Maryland Register Vol. 47, Issue 16, Friday-July 31, 2020.

Amends existing defined terms “acknowledgment,” “notarial act,” “notarize,” and “original notarial act.”
Changes “document” and “instrument” to “record”; “register of official acts” to “journal”; and “execute” and “executed an instrument” to “sign” and “signed a record” to align terminology with the RULONA.

Aligns the notarial acts listed in the rule with those authorized in the RULONA (taking an acknowledgment; administering an oath or affirmation; taking a verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature; certifying or attesting a copy; and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument).

Creates new defined terms “communication technology,” “remote notarial act,” “remote online notary vendor,” “remotely located individual,” and “verification on oath or affirmation.”

Clarifies that a Notary Public may demand and receive a fee of no more than $4 for an original notarial act and establishes that the same fee limit applies to performance of a remote notarial act.

Establishes qualifications for Remote Online Notary vendors to be approved by the Secretary of State. A Remote Online Notary vendor must receive written authorization from the Secretary of State before allowing its technology to be used by Maryland Notaries Public.

Requires a Remote Online Notary vendor to: provide training to Maryland Notaries Public on how to use the vendor’s technology; and check with the Secretary of State or the Office’s website to confirm that a Notary Public is in good standing at the time the Notary subscribes to its service and annually thereafter for the duration of the Notary’s subscription to its service. Addresses a Remote Online Notary vendor’s compliance with Maryland’s Personal Information Protection Act and requirement to notify the Secretary of State, at the same time as giving notice under said Act, of a security system breach.

Establishes that the Secretary of State may revoke authorization of a Remote Online Notary vendor, and why. Provides for informal discussion between the Secretary of State or a designee regarding whether the vendor meets the qualifications for authorization and vendor responsibilities set forth in the administrative rules.

Establishes the obligations of Notaries public who perform remote notarial acts, including that the individual shall be a currently commissioned Maryland Notary Public in good standing. Specifies the Notary’s obligations related to: notification to the Secretary of intent to perform remote notarial acts; the chosen authorized remote online notary vendor; the technology used; specified remote notarization procedures; fee charging; creation and retention of an audio-visual recording of each remote notarial act performed; and notification to the Secretary in writing after changing remote online notary vendor, if applicable. The Notary must also promptly notify the Secretary of State if the Notary reasonably believes a remote online notary vendor previously selected does not allow the Notary Public to meet requirements of Maryland’s statutes and administrative rules.

Requires a Notary Public, upon renewal of the Notary’s commission, to submit a new remote Notary notification form with the Secretary of State. Provides that a Notary Public’s authority to perform remote notarial acts expires with the expiration of the Notary’s commission. Clarifies that a Notary Public may cancel his or her authorization to perform remote online notarizations by submitting written notice to the Secretary of State. Establishes the unlawfulness of any individual to represent themselves to be authorized to perform remote notarial acts if the individual has not provided the required information to the Secretary of State. Provides that the Secretary of State may not authorize a Notary Public to perform remote notarial acts if the person submits a Notary application containing a substantial and material misstatement or omission of fact.

Specifies additional responsibilities of Notaries Public, including that a Notary is responsible for reading and understanding his or her governing laws of Maryland as well as regulations, handbooks and other public guidance issued by the Secretary of State. Clarifies that as public officers, Notaries Public are legally responsible for performing notarial acts in compliance with law and regulations.

Requires that a Notary Public, when identifying a physically present or remotely located individual for the performance of a notarial act, shall document in his or her journal the identification number associated with the identification credential as confirmation that the individual signing was correctly identified.

Specifies the changes in information that require a Notary Public to notify the Secretary of State within 30 days of such change.

Establishes that 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. Charges each Notary Public with responsibility of ensuring that the Office of Secretary of State has a current and active email address.

States the authority of the Secretary of State and Assistant Secretary of State to take an enforcement action under Maryland law to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose conditions on a commission as Notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a Notary Public. Provides that acts or omissions found in State Government article, §18-104(a)(1)(i)-(vii), Annotated Code of Maryland, govern when the Secretary or Assistant Secretary may take an enforcement action against a Notary Public. States the acts or omissions that constitute a failure to discharge any duty required of a Notary Public, whether they are imposed by any federal or state law or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. Requires a Notary Public convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit to report the conviction to the Secretary of State within 10 days of the conviction or within 10 days after they are released from incarceration, whichever is later. Provides that failure of the Notary to properly report such conviction may result in an enforcement action against the Notary Public.

Allows the Secretary of State to choose to publish information relating to the commission status of a Notary Public or former Notary Public.
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MARYLAND – SB 678 and SB 636
Both effective October 1, 2020, but some provisions of SB 678 are effective October 1, 2021 as specified.
View these bills
SB678 - SB636

NOTES: 
• The effective date of SB 678’s provisions dealing with Notary education and exam requirements was subsequently amended by SB 636 to October 1, 2021Provisions modified by SB 636 will appear in italics.

• SB 678 deletes/renumbers and revises numerous sections of the Annotated Code of Maryland related to Notaries Public.  (Deleted are Md. Code Ann. 18-105 through 18-108, 18-111, and 18-113; also 19-101 through 19-301, Title 19. Acknowledgments. Amended are Md. Code Ann. 18-102, 18-103(d)(4), 18-104, 18-109, 18-110, 18-112, and 18-114.) 

• Newly created statutory provisions are Md. Code Ann. 18-201 to 18-227.

Establishes that a Notary Public taking an acknowledgment of a power of attorney may serve as one of the two or more adult witnesses unless the Notary is notarizing by use of communication technology for a remotely located principal.

Amends requirements for appointment as a Notary Public by deleting the requirement to be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States. Retains the requirement of a live/work nexus with Maryland, by requiring that an applicant “be a resident” of Maryland or “have a place of employment or practice” in Maryland.  Deletes the requirement that an applicant be able to read and write English. 

Effective 10-1-21 (italicized text only):  Establishes that effective 10-1-21, new Notary applicants must complete a course of study and pass an examination; and renewing Notaries must complete a course. On or before October 1, 2021, requires the Secretary of State to regularly offer a course of study and exam; also allows the course and exam to be offered (on or before October 1, 2021) through an entity approved by the Secretary of State.

Establishes revised procedures relating to a Notary’s potential removal from office or suspension by the Governor.  Establishes reasons that the Governor may deny, refuse to renew, suspend, or impose conditions on a Notary commission. Clarifies the Governor’s authority to delegate, to the Secretary of State or the Assistant Secretary of State, the taking of an action against a Notary Public commission. Clarifies that an applicant denied an initial Notary Public commission does not have the notice and opportunity for hearing that a commissioned Notary would have.

Sets a $4 statutory maximum on the fee a Notary Public or person acting on behalf of a Notary may charge for performance of a remote online notarization. Changes the method of determining an allowable travel fee from 19 cents per mile plus an additional $5 (maximum), to the prevailing business travel mileage rate established by the Internal Revenue Service plus a maximum $5. Allows the Secretary of State to set, by administrative rule, a different amount a Notary Public may charge for a remote online notarization than that prescribed in statute.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to publish information relating to the commission status of current or former Notaries Public, including dates related to suspensions, nonrenewal or commission revocation.

Establishes definitions (“acknowledgment,” “communication technology,” “credential analysis,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “Notary Public,” “official stamp,” “record,” “remote presentation,” “remotely located individual,” “sign,” “signature,” “stamping device,” and “verification on oath or affirmation”).

Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act when the notarial officer or his/her spouse is a party to the record, or in which the notarial officer or his/her spouse has a direct beneficial interest. Establishes that notarizations performed in violation of these prohibitions are voidable.

Authorizes Notaries Public and other notarial officers to certify, by completion of an appropriate notarial certificate, that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record. Prohibits all notarial officers (including Notaries Public) from certifying that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy, if the notarial officer has detected a change or error in an electronic signature or other information in the electronic record. Provides the requirements for performing this notarial duty. Requires clerks of the circuit court to accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record that is certified by a Notary Public to be an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Establishes the required determinations by the Notary Public and other notarial officers when taking an acknowledgment; taking a verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature; certifying or attesting a copy of a record or item; certifying a tangible copy of an electronic record; and making or noting a protest.

Establishes that if a notarial act related to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, a remotely located individual (principal) may comply with the personal appearance requirement through use of communication technology.

Establishes when a notarial officer has personal knowledge of an individual’s identity or has satisfactory evidence of the individual’s identity. Authorizes 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.

Provides that a notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act if the officer is not:  satisfied that the individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to execute the record; or satisfied that the individual’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made.

Allows an individual who is physically unable to sign a record to appear before a notarial officer and direct another individual other than the notarial officer to sign the individual’s name on the record; the other individual must appear with the physically unable individual before the notarial officer. The notarial officer must add a specified notation to the signed record.

Establishes provisions regarding which individuals are authorized to perform notarial acts in Maryland; that the signature and title of an individual authorized to notarize in Maryland are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine, the individual holds the designated title and the individual acted with appropriate authority.

Establishes Maryland’s recognition of notarial acts performed by persons authorized to notarize elsewhere, including in another state; under authority and in the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe; under federal law; under authority and in the jurisdiction of a foreign state or constituent unit of the foreign state; or under the authority of a multinational or international governmental organization.

Provides for authentication of the signature and title/office of a notarial officer (apostilles, consular authentications).

Establishes that except when a notarial act pertains to a will or trust document as defined in Maryland law, a Maryland Notary Public located in Maryland may perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual, subject to various requirements. Requires the notarial certificate of a notarial act performed using communication technology to contain a statement substantially like:  “This notarial act involved a remotely located individual and the use of communication technology.”

Establishes requirements for making and retaining an audio-visual recording of every remote online notarization performed.

Requires a Notary Public, prior to performing his/her initial notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located principal, to notify the Secretary of State of the intent to perform remote online notarizations and of the technologies the Notary intends to use. Mandates that the communication technology, credential analysis and identity proofing used by a Notary Public must comply with any standards established by the Secretary of State.

Establishes that participation in a transaction involving use of communication technology for a remotely located individual is voluntary for all parties (including the Notary Public), and that an individual who participates in a remote online notarization may refuse to do so in any other transaction.

Requires every notarial act to be evidenced by a notarial certificate and specifies requirements for completing the certificate and ensuring the certificate is part of or securely attached to a tangible record; or affixed to or logically associated with an electronic record. Provides the information that must be included in every notarial certificate. Specifies when a Notary Public and other notarial officers are required to, or may, include an official stamp on the notarial certificate of tangible and electronic records. Provides what constitutes a “sufficient” notarial certificate.  Establishes that by executing (completing) a notarial certificate, a notarial officer certifies that he/she has complied with certain specified statutes. Prohibits a notarial officer from affixing his/her signature to, or logically associating it with, a certificate until the notarial act has been performed. Requires conformance with any regulations adopted by the Secretary of State that provide standards for attaching, affixing, or logically associating the certificate with to record to which it pertains. 

Provides short-form certificates (acknowledgment by an individual and in a representative capacity; verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature; certifying a copy of a record; certifying a tangible copy of an electronic record). Establishes that the short forms are sufficient if the certificate is completed with all information required by law; and includes the official stamp if the notarial officer is required to use one.

Provides the information required to be included in a Notary Public’s official stamp, and requires the official stamp to be capacity of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached, or with which it is logically associated. Requires a Notary Public to render unusable any stamping device no longer in use due to the Notary’s resignation, commission revocation or expiration, or expiration of the date printed on the stamp. Establishes requirements for rendering a stamping device unusable upon a Notary’s death or adjudication of incompetency.  Requires a Notary Public or a Notary’s personal representative or guardian to promptly notify the Secretary of State upon discovering that a stamping device is lost or stolen. 

Requires every Notary Public to maintain a journal in which the Notary chronicles all notarial acts performed. Allows a journal to be in a tangible medium or electronic format. Establishes a journal retention period of 10 years after performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the journal. Requires a Notary Public to maintain only journal at a time in which to chronicle all notarial acts regarding tangible records; and one or more journals in which to chronicle all notarial acts regarding electronic records. Provides that a tangible journal must be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages; and that an electronic journal must be in a permanent, tamper-evident format that complies with any regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. Sets forth the information required to be recorded in a journal entry, including whether the individual was physically present or appeared by means of communication technology. Requires journal entries to be made contemporaneously with performance of a notarial act. Establishes administrative procedures relative to journals and requirements for journal retention.

Requires Notaries Public wishing to notarize with respect to electronic records to first notify the Secretary of State and identify the technology the Notary intends to use. The technology must conform to any standards adopted by regulations of the Secretary of State and the Secretary must approve the use of conforming technologies.

Provides that—except when a notarial officer has notarized in violation of the prohibition against notarizing when one’s spouse is a party to the record or when the notarial officer of the spouse has a direct beneficial interest—the failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified by Maryland’s notary law does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the notarial officer. Further provides that an aggrieved person is not prevented from seeking:  to invalidate under another law a record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act; or other remedies allowed under federal or state law. Establishes that this provision does not validate a purported notarial act performed by an individual lacking authority to perform notarial acts.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt regulations to implement the provisions of Maryland’s Notary Public law. 

Requires a Notary Public to comply with the provisions of Section 18-233, Maryland Code Annotated, when performing a notarial act with respect to an electronic record or remotely located individual, unless the Secretary of State adopts an applicable and superseding regulation. Establishes that a regulation adopted by the Secretary of State may supersede a requirement of Md. Code Ann. Section 18-233 if the regulation references the section and specifies the requirement to be superseded.

Establishes minimum requirements for the identity proofing and credential analysis functions performed during a remote online notarization. Also establishes security measures applicable to communication technology. Provides that if a remotely located individual must exit a remote online notarization workflow, the remotely located individual must meet the criteria of Md. Code Ann. Section 18-233, and restart credential analysis and identity proofing from the beginning.

Requires a Notary Public to attach or logically associate his or her electronic signature and official stamp to an electronic record by use of a digital certificate complying with the X.509 standard adopted by the International Telecommunication Union or a similar industry-standard technology. Prohibits a Notary’s performance of a notarial act with respect to an electronic record if the digital certificate has expired; has been revoked or terminated by the issuing or registering authority; is invalid; or is incapable of authentication.

Establishes that a Notary Public’s journal required under Md. Code Ann. Section 18-219 and any audio-visual recordings required under Section 18-214 must be retained in a computer or other electronic storage device that protects the journal or audio-visual recordings against unauthorized access by password or cryptographic process.  Allows a Notary Public to engage, by written contact, a third party to act as a repository to provide the required journal storage. Specifies requirements of such contractual agreement.

Clarifies that which a commission as a Notary Public does not authorize an individual to do and prohibits a Notary Public from receiving compensation for performing any such (unauthorized) activities. Prohibits a Notary Public’s use of the terms “notario” or “notario publico” unless the Notary Public is an attorney licensed to practice in Maryland. Establishes requirements and restrictions relative to advertising or representations by the Notary about his or her services. Requires non-attorney Notaries to include a statement in any manner of advertising or representation of services that: “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.” Specifies that the statement shall be included “prominently,” and in each language used in the advertisement or representation. Provides for prominent display or provision of the statement if the form of advertisement or representation does not allow for inclusion of the required statement.

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

Provides for:  the continuity of a Notary Public commission already in effect on the effective date of SB 678; the unaltered validity or effect of a notarial act performed before SB 678’s effective date; and SB 678’s effective date of October 1, 2020.
 

MISSOURI EMERGENCY RULES, Varied Subjects – 15 CSR 30-100.005, .010, .015; 15 CSR 30-110.030, .040, .050, .060, .070, .080
Effective September 15, 2020; expire March 13, 2021
View these rules browse to page 1372/pdf page 6

As published in the Missouri Register dated October 1, 2020:
 
15 CSR 30-100.005 Notary Complaint Process
New emergency rule added to Chapter 100 of Administrative Rules, prescribing the Notary complaint process.
 
15 CSR 30-100.010 Approval, Revocation and or Suspension of Notary Commission.
Revises existing rule in Chapter 100 by removing the duplicative term “Secretary of State,” adding “Approval” to the title, and adding a new section – see text below.
 
New emergency section of this rule reads:
(3) An individual who has been convicted of a felony involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, committed in the last five (5) years, will be denied approval to be a commission.  [To be a Notary Public.]

15 CSR 30-100.015 Request for Hearing on Suspension or an Appeal on a Denial of an Application
Revises existing rule in Chapter 100 to add denial of an application to the reasons one can request an appeal but not a hearing.
 
New emergency section of this rule reads:
(5) An applicant who has been denied a notary commission may appeal the denial to the Director of Business Services or his or her designee. This appeal does not include a right to a hearing.
 
15 CSR 30-110.030 Remote Online Notarization (RON) Approval
New rule in Chapter 110, providing the process for vendors to have their software approved for use by Missouri electronic Notaries.  Of note:  a list of all approved software vendors will be published on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.

15 CSR 30-110.040 Remote Online Notarization (RON) Criteria
New rule in Chapter 110, providing general RON technology performance requirements for identifying remotely located signers, audio-video communication and electronic document processing, information capture for purposes of Notary recordkeeping, and creation of a session audit trail.

15 CSR 30-110.050 Remote Online Notarization (RON) Credentials
New rule in Chapter 110, establishing more detailed requirements for the technology regarding the Notary’s identification of remotely located principals.
 
15 CSR 30-110.060 Audio and Video Quality
New rule in Chapter 110, establishing certain performance standards for the audio/video technology and recording feature.
 
15 CSR 30-110.070 Storage and Retention of Notarial Records
New rule in Chapter 110, establishing standards for the storage and retention of a Notary’s records of remote online electronic notarizations performed. 
 
15 CSR 30-110.080 Audit Trail
Requires RON systems to create an “audit trail” of the actions performed in a remote online notarization.  Specifies capture of information such as date/time of the RON notarization, the party’s name and the IP address of the party performing a captured action.
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MISSOURI – HB 1655
Effective August 28, 2020
View the enacting bill; view this law

A massive and comprehensive rewrite of Missouri’s Notary Public law (Chapter 486) dealing with notarial acts for a physically present principal signer (tangible and electronic documents) and implementing remote online notarization.  (See list of repealed and newly created sections of law at the end of this summary.)

DEFINITIONS
Defines the following terms:  “appears in person before the Notary”; “acknowledgment”; “affirmation”; “capable of independent verification”; “certificate”; “commission”; “communication technology”’; “copy certification”; “county clerk”; “county”; “credential analysis”; “credible witness”; “electronic document”; “electronic journal of notarial acts”; “electronic journal”; “electronic notarial act”; “electronic notarial certificate”; “electronic notarization”; “electronic Notary Public”; “electronic Notary seal”; “electronic Notary seal”; “electronic seal”; “electronic signature”; “electronic signature”; “electronic”; “electronic”; “identity proofing”; “in the presence of the Notary”; “journal of notarial acts”; “journal”; “jurat”; “notarial act”; “notarial certificate”; “notarization”; “Notary Public”; “Notary”; “oath”; “official misconduct”; “official seal”; “official signature”; “outside the United States”; “personal knowledge of identity”; “personally appear before the Notary”; “personally knows”; “principal”; “registered electronic Notary seal”; “registered electronic signature”; “regular place of work or business”; “remote online notarization”; “remote online Notary Public”; “remote presentation”; “remotely located individual”; “requester of fact”; “satisfactory evidence”; “Secretary”; “security procedure”; “signature witnessing.”

NOTARY COMMISSION, eNOTARY REGISTRATION MATTERS
Notary Commission Application
Eliminates the requirement that an applicant for a Notary commission be a registered voter in the county of commission and not to have had a commission revoked in the past 10 years.  Provides that non-resident applicants may qualify for a Notary commission if the applicant works in Missouri and if they meet all other qualifications.  Requires the application for a Notary commission to be in a paper or electronic format established by the Secretary of State and including information required by §486.630, RSMo and any other information the Secretary deems appropriate.

Requires a current or former Notary applying for a new commission to qualify for and submit a new application, and “comply anew” with all statutory requirements.  Requires every applicant to attest to having read the Missouri Notary Public Handbook or having received training in a manner prescribed by the Secretary of State.  Every applicant must also receive a score of 80% or better on an examination administered by the Secretary prior to being issued a commission.  Provides that the content of the training and of the written examination shall be based on notarial laws, procedures, and ethics.

Provides the grounds on which the Secretary of State may deny an application for a Notary commission.  Authorizes an applicant to appeal denial of an application by filing, within 30 days after denial, the form required by the Secretary of State.  Further provides that an applicant for a Notary commission whose commission has been denied may not appeal if the Secretary, within 5 years prior to the application, has (a) denied or revoked for disciplinary reasons any previous application, commission, or license of the applicant; or (b) made a finding pursuant to RSMo 486.810 that grounds for revocation of the applicant's commission existed.

Provides that the new laws do not invalidate, modify or terminate the existing bond, seal, length of commission and liability of Notaries commissioned before August 28, 2020.  Clarifies that all Notaries must comply with the new laws from August 28, 2020, in performing notarizations and applying for new commissions.

Requires the surety for a Notary’s $10,000 bond to report all claims against the bond to the Secretary.  Requires the Secretary of State to suspend the commission of a Notary whose bond has been exhausted by claims paid out by the surety, until a new bond is obtained by the Notary, and the Notary’s fitness to serve the remainder of the commission term is determined by the Secretary.
Provides that a Notary shall file the Notary’s bond and oath of office with the county clerk or their designee within 60 days of the commission issue date (formerly 90 days).
Requires the Notary (formerly the county clerk) to mail the Notary’s bond, oath of office and signature example to the Secretary of State, with a postmark date not exceeding seven days from the date of the oath.  Provides that once the oath and bond have been received, examined and approved, the Secretary shall update the Notary’s commissioned status.

Provides that the issued commission of a Notary who fails to qualify within 60 days (formerly 90 days) shall be marked as not qualified by the county clerk and the county clerk must return the commission to the Secretary of State within 15 days (formerly 30 days).  Provides that any Notary who fails to qualify within 60 days may be required to reapply for the commission.

Establishes provisions concerning Notary Public commission application information.  Provides for use of the information by the Secretary of State and his or her designated employees.  Allows use of the information only for the purpose of performing official duties prescribed in Chapter 486, and prohibits disclosure of the information to any person other than those specified in the law.  Establishes that such records shall be a closed record as defined in chapter 610 and subject to redaction as required in Chapter 610.

Provides that the Secretary may revoke a Notary commission for any ground on which an application for a commission may be denied as provided in Chapter 486.  Requires the Secretary to revoke the commission of a Notary who fails to maintain a residence or a regular place of work or business in Missouri; and status as a legal resident of the U.S.  Clarifies that before revoking a Notary commission, the Secretary must inform the Notary of the basis for the revocation and that the revocation takes effect on a particular date unless a proper appeal is filed with the Secretary before that date.

Clarifies that resignation or expiration of a Notary commission does not terminate or preclude an investigation into the Notary's conduct by the Secretary.  Provides that the Secretary may pursue such investigation to a conclusion, and that the investigation shall be made a matter of public record regardless of whether the finding would have been grounds for revocation.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to immediately suspend a Notary commission upon written notice sent by certified mail if the situation is deemed to have a serious unlawful effect on the public, provided that the Notary shall be entitled to hearing and adjudication as soon thereafter as is practicable.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to regularly publish a list of persons whose Notary commissions have been suspended or revoked, including electronic and remote online Notaries.

Applies the provisions on revocation of a commission (§486.810, RSMo) and suspension of a commission (§486.815, RSMo) to electronic Notaries and remote online Notaries.

Clarifies that the sanctions of Chapter 486 do not preclude any other sanctions or remedies provided by law.

Notary Commission Information and Status Changes
Requires a Notary to notify the Secretary—by signed notice using any means providing a tangible receipt including certified mail and electronic transmission—of a change in the Notary’s residence, business or mailing address.  The notice must provide the notary’s old and new addresses, and include a $5 fee.

Requires a Notary who changes the address of his or her regular place of work or business to suspend performing notarial acts until the Notary has notified the Secretary of State as required in §486.780, RSMo; received confirmation of the name or address change from the Secretary; and notified his or her surety provider of the change, in writing.

Requires a Notary whose name changes by court order or marriage to notify the Secretary—within 10 days of such change—by signed notice using by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission.  The notice must provide the Notary’s old and new name and a copy of any official authorization for the name change, and include a $5 fee.

Requires a Notary with a new name to continue using their former name in performing notarial acts until (1) the required notification has been given to the Secretary (see above); (2) the Notary has received confirmation of the name or address change from the Secretary; (3) the Notary has obtained a seal with the new name; and (4) the Notary has notified his or her surety provider of the change in writing.

Requires a Notary who ceases to reside in or to maintain a regular place of work or business in Missouri, or who becomes permanently unable to perform their notarial duties, to resign their commission.  Provides that a Notary who resigns his or her commission must send the Secretary of State—by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission—a signed notice of the resignation indicating the effective date of the resignation. 

Requires that a Notary whose commission expires without renewal, is resigned, or is revoked must, as soon as reasonably practicable, destroy or deface all of the Notary’s officials seals; and within 30 days after the effective date of resignation, revocation, or expiration of the commission, dispose of the journal and notarial records in accordance with §486.715, subsection 4, RSMo.  Further provides that a Notary whose commission has expired is not required to dispose of the Notary’s journal in accordance with §485.715, subsection 4, RSMo if the Notary is recommissioned within 3 months of the expiration of the Notary’s current commission.

Requires a Notary whose commission has been revoked to forward their seal to the Secretary of State for disposal.  Provides that failure to forward the seal to the Secretary following revocation may be punishable by a fine of $500, at the discretion of the Secretary.

Establishes the responsibilities of a Notary’s personal representative in the event of the Notary’s death during the term of commission or before fulfilling the requirements of §486.800, RSMo.  The personal representative must notify the Secretary of State, in writing, of the notary’s death; as soon as reasonably practicable, forward all Notary seals to the Secretary; and within 30 days after death, forward the journal and notarial records in accordance with §486.715, subsection 4, RSMo.

Requires that a Notary’s journal and notarial records must be delivered to the Secretary pursuant to §486.795 to §486.800, RSMo, upon the Notary’s resignation, revocation or expiration of commission, or upon death of the electronic Notary.  Delivery shall be by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, that allows an electronic journal to be delivered on disk, printed on paper, or transmitted electronically, in accordance with the requirements of the Secretary.  In the case of an electronic journal and backup copy where disks or other physical storage media are not required to be surrendered, no further entries shall be made in the journal and backup and the journal and backup shall be safeguarded until both are erased or expunged after 10 years from the date of the last entry by the Notary or the Notary's personal representative.

Electronic Notary Registration
Requires a person to be a commissioned Missouri Notary prior to performing electronic notarial acts.  Requires a Notary to register with the Secretary of State to perform electronic notarial acts before performing electronic notarizations.  Requires a Notary to re-register when renewing the Notary commission.  Authorizes a person to apply or reapply for a Notary commission and register or reregister to perform electronic notarizations at the same time.  Provides the information and declarations required to be in the application form for registering to perform electronic notarial acts, as specified.  Authorizes a Notary to register at the same or different times one or more respective means for producing electronic signatures and electronic Notary seals.  Requires the Secretary of State to deny registration to any applicant submitting an electronic registration form that contains a material misstatement or omission of fact.

Requires a Notary wishing to register as an electronic notary to complete a course on laws, procedures, and ethics pertaining to electronic notarization approved by the Secretary of State and pass an exam.  Provides that the content of the electronic notarization course shall be notarial laws, procedures, and ethics pertaining to electronic notarization.

Provides that the term of registration of an electronic Notary begins on the registration starting date set by the Secretary of State, and continues until the Notary’s commission remains in effect, unless terminated. 

Provides that records pertaining to a Notary’s application for registration as an electronic Notary may only to be used by the Secretary of State or Secretary’s designated employees for the purpose of the commission, and shall not be disclosed to anyone other than a government agency authorized to obtain such information, a person authorized by court order, or the applicant or applicant’s authorized agent.

Requires the Secretary of State to terminate an electronic Notary's registration for any of the following reasons: submission of an electronic registration form containing a material misstatement or omission of fact; failure to maintain the capability to perform electronic notarial acts, except as allowed in §486.985, subsection 1, subdivision (3), RSMo; or the electronic Notary's performance of official misconduct.  Provides that prior to terminating an electronic Notary's registration, the Secretary of State must inform the Notary of the basis for the termination and that the termination shall take place on a particular date unless a proper appeal is filed with the Secretary before that date.

Provides that neither resignation nor expiration of a Notary commission or of an electronic Notary registration precludes or terminates an investigation by the Secretary of State into the electronic Notary's conduct, and further provides that the investigation may be pursued to a conclusion, whereupon it shall be made a matter of public record regardless of whether the finding would have been grounds for termination of the commission or registration of the electronic Notary.

Electronic Notary Status Changes
Requires an electronic Notary within 5 business days after the change of an electronic Notary's e-mail address, to electronically transmit to the Secretary of State a notice of the change secured by a registered electronic signature of the Notary.  Provides that any change or addition to the data that the Notary reported on the electronic registration form described in §486.920, RSMo, including any change to an electronic journal's access instructions, must be reported within 10 days to the Secretary of State.

Provides that upon becoming aware that the status, functionality, or validity of the means for producing a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or single element combining the signature and seal, has changed, expired, terminated, or become compromised, the Notary must immediately notify the Secretary of State; cease producing seals or signatures in electronic notarizations using that means; perform electronic notarizations only with a currently registered means or another means that has been registered within thirty days; and dispose of any software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that has been rendered defunct, in the manner described in §486.995, subsection 1, RSMo.  Provides that the Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the electronic status of a Notary who has no other currently registered means for producing electronic signatures or Notary seals, and, if such means is not registered within 30 days, electronic status shall be terminated.

Provides that any revocation, resignation, expiration, or other termination of the commission of a Notary immediately terminates any existing registration as an electronic Notary, but clarifies that a Notary's decision to terminate registration as an electronic Notary does not automatically terminate the underlying commission of the Notary.
Provides that a Notary who terminates registration as an electronic Notary shall notify the Secretary of State in writing and dispose of any pertinent software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program as described in §486.995; subsection 1, RSMo.

Provides that if the commission of an electronic Notary expires or is resigned or revoked, if registration as an electronic Notary terminates, or if an electronic Notary dies, the Notary or the Notary's duly authorized representative shall, within 30 business days, permanently erase or expunge the software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that is intended exclusively to produce registered electronic Notary seals, registered single elements combining the required features of an electronic signature and Notary seal, or registered electronic signatures that indicate status as a Notary.  Provides that a former electronic Notary whose previous commission expired is not subject to the requirements of §486.995, subsection 1, RSMo, if the electronic Notary is, within 3 months after expiration, recommissioned and reregistered as an electronic Notary using the same registered means for producing electronic Notary seals and signatures.

AUTHORIZED NOTARIAL ACTS
Authorizes a Missouri Notary Public (or a registered electronic notary notarizing for a physically present principal signer) to perform acknowledgments, jurats, signature witnessings, and copy certifications.  Authorizes a registered Missouri remote online notary to perform only acknowledgments and jurats as a remote notarial act.  Provides that a notary may certify a paper (tangible) copy of an electronic document, but the notary must (1) confirm that the electronic document contains an electronic signature that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent changes or modifications to the electronic document evident; (2) personally print or supervise the printing of the electronic document onto paper; and (3) not make any changes or modifications to the electronic document.  Establishes requirements and limitations for a notary’s certification of a paper copy of an electronic record when the electronic record is a plat, map, or survey of real property.  Clarifies that a notary’s certification of a paper copy of an electronic document under §59.569, RSMo only applies to documents presented to a recorder of deeds for recordings pursuant to Chapters 442 or 443, RSMo (Titles and Conveyance of Real Estate; ad Mortgages, Deeds of Trust and Mortgage Brokers).

Allows a Notary to perform a notarial act only if the principal is:
  1. in the presence of the Notary at the time of the notarization;
  2. personally known or identified through satisfactory evidence;
  3. appears to understand the nature of the transaction and be acting on his or her own free will;
  4. signs using letters or characters of a language understood by the Notary; and
  5. communicates directly with the Notary in a language that both understand.

Defines satisfactory evidence as evidence of identification of an individual based on:
  1. at least one current document issued by a federal, state, or tribal government in a language understood by the Notary and bearing the photographic image of the individual's face and signature and a physical description of the individual, or a properly stamped passport without a physical description; or
  2. the oath or affirmation of one credible witness disinterested in the document or transaction who is personally known to the Notary and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses disinterested in the document or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the Notary documentary identification [a satisfactory evidence credential described immediately above].

Authorizes a Notary to officiate for a signature by mark and prescribes the requirements for doing so.

General Notarial Act Requirements
Requires a Notary to perform any notarial act described in §486.640, RSMo for any person requesting such a notarial act who tenders the appropriate fee specified in §486.685, RSMo unless (1) the Notary knows or has a reasonable belief that the notarial act or the associated transaction is unlawful; (2) the notarial act is prohibited in RSMo 486.645 or subsection 1 of RSMo 486.650; (3) the number or timing of the requested notarial act or acts practicably precludes completion at the time of the request, in which case the Notary shall arrange for later completion of the requested act or acts without unreasonable delay; or (4) in the case of a request to perform an electronic notarial act, the Notary is not registered to notarize electronically in accordance with §§ 486.900 to 486.1010, RSMo.

Provides that a Notary commission does not authorize a Notary to investigate, ascertain, or attest to the lawfulness, propriety, accuracy, or truthfulness of a document or transaction involving a notarial act.

Requires a non-attorney Notary who advertises in a foreign language to include―in the advertisement, notice, letterhead or sign―the statement, “I am not an attorney and have no authority to give advice on immigration or other legal matters: and the fees for notarial acts that the Notary may charge.  Prohibits a Notary from using the term “notario publico” or any equivalent non-English term in any business card, advertisement, notice or sign.

Provides that the liability, sanctions, and remedies for the improper performance of electronic notarial acts by an electronic Notary are the same as described and provided in §486.806, RSMo for the improper performance of nonelectronic notarial acts.

General Notarial Act Prohibitions, Disqualification of Notary
Disqualifies or prohibits a Notary from:
• Performing a notarial act if the Notary (1) is a party to or named in the document; (2) will receive directly or indirectly any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property or other consideration exceeding the allowable fees for notarial acts; or (3) is a spouse, domestic partner, ancestor, descendant or sibling of the principal, including in-law, step and half relatives.
• Refusing to perform a notarization based on characteristics protected from employment discrimination under §213.055, RSMo.
• Influencing a person to enter into or avoid a transaction involving a notarial act by the Notary.
• Executing a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the Notary to be false; affixing an official seal or signature on a notarial certificate other than at the time of the notarization and in the presence of the principal; providing or sending an incomplete, but signed or sealed notarial certificate to be completed later outside the Notary’s presence; notarizing a signature if the document is blank or incomplete; notarizing a signature on a document that does not have notarial certificate wording; certifying or authenticating a photograph; performing any notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud; and using the official Notary title or seal to endorse, promote, denounce, or oppose any product, service, contest, candidate for political office, ballot measure for any election, or other offering.
• Claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that are not provided in RSMo 486, including the power to counsel on immigration issues.
• Discrimination in the charging of fees (but a notary is authorized to waive or reduce fees for humanitarian or charitable reasons).

Prohibits non-attorney Notaries from assisting others in drafting, completing, selecting or understanding a document or transaction requiring a notarial act, but further provides that a Notary who is duly qualified, trained, licensed, or experienced in a particular industry or professional field is not precluded from selecting, drafting, completing, or advising on a document or certificate related to a matter within that industry or field.

NOTARY FEES
Authorizes a Notary to charge $5 per signature for performing an acknowledgment, jurat, or signature witnessing.  Further authorizes a Notary to charge $1 per page for certified copies, with a minimum total charge of $3.  Provides that a Notary may charge the maximum allowable fees, a lower fee or waive the fee.

Authorizes a Notary to charge a travel fee if the notary and the person requesting the notarial act agree upon the travel fee in advance of the travel; and the notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the travel fee is both separate from the notarial fee prescribed in law and neither specified nor mandated by law.

Authorizes a Notary to waive or reduce fees for humanitarian or charitable reasons, but prohibits discrimination in the charging of fees.  Establishes that a Notary may collect a non-notarial fee for services as a signing agent if payment of the fee is not contingent upon the signing, initialing or notarization of any document.

Requires a Notary who charges fees to conspicuously display in their regular place of work or business, or present to each principal outside their regular place of work or business, an English-language fee schedule in at least 12-point type.

Authorizes a Notary to require payment of fees prior to performing the notarial act. Provides that such prepaid fees are nonrefundable if the notarial act is completed, or in the case of travel fees, if the notarial act was not completed after the Notary traveled to the principal because it was prohibited for any of the grounds in § 486.645, RSMo or because the Notary knew or had a reasonable belief that the notarial act or associated transaction was unlawful.

Authorizes an employer to prohibit a Notary-employee from charging for notarial acts performed on company time, but prohibits an employer from discrimination in charging of fees based on characteristics of the principal.  Prohibits a private employer from requiring a Notary-employee to surrender or share fees charged for any notarial acts.  Requires a governmental employer who has paid for the Notary’s commission and supplies to waive the charging of notarial act fees, or require the employee notary’ s surrender of notarial fees as revenue of the employing government agency.

NOTARIAL CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS
Requires that for every notarial act involving a document (for physically present principal signers or those appearing remotely), a Notary shall properly complete a notarial certificate that contains or states:
  • the Notary’s the official signature  and impression of their official seal, in accordance with §486.725, RSMo;
  • the venue of the notarial act where the Notary is located (i.e, “State of Missouri” and the name of the county where the notarial act was performed);
  • the date of the notarial act; and
  • the facts and particulars attested by the Notary in performing the respective notarial act.

Provides that a notarial certificate is sufficient for a particular notarial act only if it meets the requirements of subsection 1 of §486.740, RSMo and is in a form that (1) is set forth for that act in RSMo 486; (2) is otherwise prescribed for that act by the laws of Missouri; (3) is prescribed for that act by a law, regulation, or custom of another jurisdiction, provided it does not require actions by the Notary that are unauthorized by the laws of Missouri; or (4) describes the actions of the Notary in such a manner as to meet the requirements of the particular notarial act.

Requires a notarial certificate to be worded and completed using only letters, characters, and a language that are read, written, and understood by the Notary.

Provides statutory notarial certificate forms for an acknowledgment on an individual’s own behalf or in any representative capacity; a signature or mark on an affidavit or other sworn or affirmed written declaration; a signature or mark without the administration of an oath or affirmation; and a certified copy.

Authorizes a Notary to correct an error or omission made by that Notary in a notarial certificate if:
  1. the original certificate and document are returned to the Notary;
  2. the Notary verifies the error by reference to the pertinent journal entry, the document itself, or to other determinative written evidence;
  3. the Notary legibly corrects the certificate and initials and dates the correction in ink, or replaces the original certificate with a correct certificate; and
  4. the Notary appends to the pertinent journal entry a notation regarding the nature and date of the correction.

Performing Notarial Acts for Physically Present Principal Signers
Requires that when notarizing a paper document, a Notary must affix an official signature and an official seal on the notarial certificate at the time the notarial act is performed.

Requires a paper notarial certificate form that is attached to a paper document during notarization of the principal’s signature to:
  1. be attached by staple or other method that leaves evidence of any subsequent detachment;
  2. be attached, signed, and sealed only by the Notary and only at the time of notarization and in the presence of the principal;
  3. be attached immediately following the signature page if the certificate is the same size as that page, or to the front of the signature page if the certificate is smaller; and
  4. contain all of the elements described in §486.740, RSMo on the same sheet of paper.

Requires a clerk or recorder to record a paper copy of an electronic document if the paper copy has been certified to be a true and correct copy of the electronic original by a Notary as evidenced by a certificate that (a) is signed and dated by the Notary in the same manner as on file with the Secretary of State; (b) identifies the jurisdiction in which the copy certification is performed; (c) contains the title of the Notary; (d) indicates the date of expiration, if any, of the Notary’s commission; and (e) includes an official seal or stamp of the Notary affixed to or embossed on the certificate.  Provides a statutory form for a paper-based copy certification of an electronic record bearing the electronic signature of the notarial officer who perform the electronic notarial act.

Official Signature, Seal (Notary Public)
Requires that on each completed paper notarial certificate and near the notary’s official signature, a notary must affix a sharp, legible, permanent, and photographically reproducible image of their official seal that shall include the following elements:
  1. The notary’s name exactly as stated on the commission;
  2. The identification number of the notary’s commission;
  3. The words “Notary Public”, “Notary Seal”, and “State of Missouri” and “My commission
  4. expires (commission expiration date)”; and
  5. A border in a rectangular or circular shape no larger than one sixteenth of an inch,
  6. surrounding the required words.

Provides that illegible information within a seal impression may be typed or printed legibly by the notary, adjacent to but not within the impression, or another impression may be legibly affixed nearby.

Allows an embossed seal impression that is not photographically reproducible to be used in addition to, but not in place of, the official seal.  Prohibits a seal from being affixed over printed or written matter.  Prohibits the official seal from being used for any purpose other than performing notarial acts.

Clarifies that the official seal is the exclusive property of the Notary, is not to be used by any other person, must be kept secure and accessible only to the Notary, and not surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment.

Requires a Notary within 10 days after the Notary’s seal is discovered to be stolen, lost, damaged or otherwise rendered incapable of affixing a legible image to notify law enforcement in the case of theft or vandalism.  Notification must be made by any means providing tangible receipt, and must include a copy or number of any pertinent police report.

Requires the Secretary of State upon receiving notice of a stolen, lost or damaged Notary seal to issue the Notary a new commission for presentation to a seal vendor for making of a new seal.

Provides that any person who knowingly obtains, conceals, defaces, or destroys the seal, journal, or official records of a Notary is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500.

Provides required steps and actions to be taken by approved notary seal manufacturers before providing an official seal, including steps for manufacturers to verify the valid commission standing of an individual prior to producing a seal.  Prohibits a manufacturer from making or selling more than one seal to a Notary, and if requested, only one embossing seal.  Requires a manufacturer to affix an image of all seals on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State and send the completed form to the Secretary of State within 7 business days, and retain a copy of the form and the commission for 5 years.  Authorizes the Secretary of State to revoke a vendor’s permission to manufacture seals for repeat violations. Clarifies that the violations of a seal vendor or manufacturer do not preclude the civil liability of the vendor to parties injured by the vendor’s failure to comply with §486.735, RSMo.

Notary Journal (Permanent/Bound and Electronic)*
*NOTE:  The new law’s journal requirements (permanently bound and electronic journals) are extensive; please fully review applicable provisions of Chapter 486, RSMo.

Requires all Notaries—those performing notarial acts involving paper documents as well as those performing electronic notarial acts—to record every notarial act performed (paper-based or electronic) in a single, permanently bound journal.  Only one active, permanently bound journal may be maintained at the same time for recording all paper and electronic notarial acts performed.

Requires Notaries performing electronic notarial acts to also record their electronic notarial acts in an electronic journal.

Requires Notaries to keep every permanently bound journal, and if applicable every electronic journal, for not less than 10 years from the date of the last entry in the permanently bound journal and at least 10 years after the date of the transaction or proceeding entered into the electronic journal.

Prescribes the information a notary must record in a permanently bound journal and electronic journal:
1. The date and time of day of the notarial act;
2. The type of notarial act performed;
3. The type, title, or a description of the document or proceeding;
4. The signature, printed name, and address of each principal;
5. The printed name and address of each requester of fact;
6. The evidence of identity of each principal in the form of a statement that the person is personally known to the notary; or a notation of the type of identification document, its issuing agency, its serial or identification number, and its date of issuance or expiration; or the handwritten signature and the name and address of each credible witness swearing or affirming to the principal’s identity, and for credible witnesses who are not personally known to the notary, a description of the identification documents relied on by the notary;
7. The fee, if any, charged for the notarial act; and
8. The address where the notarial act was performed, if not the address of the notary’s regular place of work or business.

Additionally, a notary performing an electronic notarial act must record in the electronic journal a recognized biometric identifier in accordance with §486.950, subdivision (4) of subsection 1, RSMo; and the name of the software or program any authority issuing or registering the means used to create the electronic signature that was notarized, the source of this authority’s license if any, and the expiration of the electronic process.

Provides additional restrictions, requirements and permissions for permanently bound and electronic journals:
  1. Prohibits a Notary from recording a Social Security or credit card number in the journal;
  2. Authorizes a Notary to record in the journal the circumstances for not performing or completing any requested notarial act.
  3. Requires a Notary to append to the pertinent entry in the journal a notation of the nature and date of the Notary's correction of a completed notarial certificate corresponding to the entry.

Establishes additional requirements for an electronic journal.
  1. An electronic journal of electronic notarial acts shall:
• Allow journal entries to be made, viewed, printed, and copied only after access is obtained by a procedure that uses two factors of authentication;
• Not allow a journal entry to be deleted or altered in content or sequence by the electronic notary or any other person after a record of the electronic notarization is entered and stored, except that an entry may be deleted if the retention period set forth in subsection 4 of §485.950 has passed;
• Have a backup system in place to provide a duplicate record of electronic notarial acts as a precaution in the event of loss of the original record;
• Be capable of capturing and storing the image of a handwritten or electronic signature and the data related to one other type of recognized biometric identifier; and
• Be capable of printing and providing electronic copies of any entry, including images of handwritten signatures and the data related to the other selected type of recognized biometric identifier.
  2. In maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts, an electronic Notary Public shall comply with the applicable prescriptions and prohibitions regarding the copying, security, surrender, and disposition of a journal as set forth in §§486.710 to 486.715 and §§486.795 to 486.800, RSMo.
  3. Every electronic Notary Public maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts pursuant to §486.945, RSMo must:
• Provide to the secretary authorization on the registration form described in section 486.920 and the access instructions that allow journal entries to be viewed, printed, and copied in read-only access; and
• Notify the secretary of any subsequent change to the access instructions.
  4. Clarifies that an electronic Notary Public maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts shall keep the entry for a period of no less than ten years from the date of the entry (as must be done with permanently bound journal record) and shall also keep a record of electronic notarial acts in a permanently bound journal as set forth in §§486.700 and 486.705, RSMo.

Establishes additional requirements and authorizations regarding permanently bound AND electronic journals:
1. Provides that the journal may be examined and copied without restriction by a law enforcement officer in the course of an official investigation, subpoenaed by court order, pursuant to subpoena power as authorized by law, or surrendered at the direction of the Secretary of State.
2. Authorizes a Notary to seek appropriate judicial protective orders when the journal is requested for examination by law enforcement, subpoenaed by court order, or directed by the Secretary of State to be surrendered.
3. Provides that a Notary shall charge not more than $1 per copy for copies provided to law enforcement or a court, but the Notary shall not charge the Secretary of State for copies the Secretary requests.
4. Requires a Notary to safeguard the journal and all other notarial records and surrender or destroy them only by court order or at the direction of the Secretary of State.
5. Requires the Notary to keep the journal in a secure area under the exclusive control of the Notary when not in use and not allow it to be used by any other Notary, nor surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment.
6. Provides that within 10 days after a Notary's journal is discovered to be stolen, lost, destroyed, damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable or unreadable, the Notary, after informing the appropriate law enforcement agency in the case of theft or vandalism, must notify the Secretary of State by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, and also provide a copy or identification number of any pertinent police report.
7. Requires that upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of a Notary commission the Notary’s journal and notarial records must be delivered to the Secretary of State in accordance with §486.795 or §486.800, RSMo, by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission.

Liability, Misconduct by Notary and Others
Establishes a Notary’s liability for all damages proximately caused to any person by the Notary’s negligence and intentional violation of law, or for official misconduct in relation to a notarization.

Establishes a surety company’s liability for damages caused by a bonded Notary’s negligence and intentional violation of law, or for official misconduct in relation to a notarization during the bond term.  Limits the surety company’s liability to the dollar amount of the bond or of remaining bond funds not disbursed to other claimants.  Establishes that the surety’s aggregate liability to all claimants against the bond, regardless the number of notarial acts cited in the claim(s), shall not exceed the dollar amount of the bond.

Establishes that a Notary’s employer is liable for damages caused by the Notary’s negligence and intentional violation of law, or for official misconduct, in performing a notarization during the course of employment if the employer directed, expected, encouraged, approved, or tolerated the negligence, violation of law or official misconduct, either in the particular transaction or as implied by the employer’s previous action in at least one similar transaction involving any Notary employed by the employer.

Holds a Notary’s employer liable to the Notary for all damages recovered from the Notary as a result of any violation of law by the Notary that was coerced by threat of the employer, if the threat, such as that of demotion or dismissal, was made regarding the particular notarization, or as implied by the employer’s previous action in at least one similar transaction involving any Notary employed by the employer.  Holds the Notary’s employer liable to the Notary for damages caused by demotion, dismissal, or other action resulting from the Notary’s refusal to engage in a violation of law or misconduct.

Provides that any person who knowingly solicits, coerces, or in any way influences a Notary to commit official misconduct is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500.

Clarifies that “negligence” with regard to liability does not include any good-faith determination made by the Notary pursuant to the obligations imposed by Chapter 486 (that the principal appears to understand the nature of the transaction requiring a notarial act; and the principal appears to be acting of their own free will).  Requires that to recover damages against a Notary, surety or employer, the Notary’s negligence, violation of law, or official misconduct must be the proximate cause of damages but not the sole cause.

Establishes that the law’s liability provisions also apply to electronic Notaries performing electronic notarial acts, and remote Notaries performing remote online notarial acts.

Provides that a Notary is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both, for knowingly: (a) failing to require the presence of a principal at the time of a notarial act; (b) failing to identify a principal through personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence; or (c) executing a false notarial certificate under subsection 1 of RSMo 486.660.

Provides that a Notary who knowingly performs any other act prohibited by RSMo 486 or fails to perform any other act required by RSMo 486 is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.

Provides that a person who is not a Notary and who knowingly acts as or otherwise impersonates a Notary is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.

Provides that a person who knowingly obtains, conceals, damages, or destroys the coding, disk, certificate, card, token, program, software, or hardware that is intended exclusively to enable an electronic Notary to produce a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or single element combining the required features of an electronic signature and Notary seal, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.

Other Provisions (General)
The new law also addresses: 
• Matters concerning authentication of the seal and signature of a Notary in the form of a certificate of authority, or an Apostille in conformance with the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of October 5, 1961.
• The authority of certain individuals other than a Notary Public of Missouri to perform notarial acts in Missouri.
• Missouri’s recognition of notarial acts performed outside of Missouri, by Notaries Public or notarial officers of other U.S. jurisdictions; under U.S. law; and under foreign law.

Administrative Rules
Authorizes the Secretary of State to promulgate rules that are reasonable and necessary to accomplish the duties specifically delegated to the Secretary in Chapter 486, RSMo.  Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate rules providing for appeals from denials of applications; for appeals regarding commission revocation; and for hearings and appeals on commission suspension.

ELECTRONIC NOTARY PUBLIC, ELECTRONIC NOTARIAL ACTS
Electronic Notarial Acts
Authorizes the following notarial acts to be performed electronically: acknowledgments; jurats; signature witnessings; and copy certifications.  Requires a Notary to perform an electronic notarial act only if the principal is in the presence of the Notary at the time of the notarization; is personally known or identified through satisfactory evidence; appears to understand the nature of the transaction; is acting on his or her own free will; communicates directly in a language understood by the Notary; and reasonably establishes the electronic signature as his or her own.

Requires that in performing electronic notarial acts, an electronic Notary must adhere to all applicable laws governing notarial acts provided in Chapter 486, RSMo.

Electronic Notary Fees
Provides that the statutory maximum fees, travel fee provisions, prohibition against discrimination in charging fees, provisions related to employee Notaries, requirements for displaying or presenting a schedule of fees, authorization for advance payment of fees and nonrefundable fees are the same for electronic notarial acts as they are for notarial acts.

Electronic Notarial Certificate, Signature and Seal
Establishes that in performing an electronic notarial act, the electronic Notary must properly complete an electronic notarial certificate, including the electronic notary’s registered electronic signature and registered electronic seal.  (See §486.935, RSMo.)  Provides requirements for an electronic notarial certificate.  Establishes that the wording of an electronic notarial certificate must be in a form set forth in Missouri law §486.740 to §486.750, RSMo; is otherwise prescribed by Missouri law; is prescribed by a law, regulation, or custom of another jurisdiction provided it does not require actions by the electronic Notary that are unauthorized by Missouri; or describes the actions of the electronic Notary in such a manner as to meet the requirements of the particular notarial act, as defined in §486.600 or §486.900, RSMo.  Requires an electronic notarial certificate to be worded and completed using only letters, characters, and a language that are read, written, and understood by the electronic Notary.

Establishes that in completing the notarial certificate for a notarized electronic document, an electronic Notary shall attach-to or logically associate with the electronic notarial certificate a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal.  Attachment or logical association of the electronic signature and seal to/with the electronic document shall be in a manner that attributes them to the electronic Notary named on the commission.  Allows an electronic notary to use a registered single element containing both a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal.

Requires an electronic Notary Public’s registered electronic signature to be: unique to the electronic Notary; capable of independent verification; attached to or logically associated with an electronic notarial certificate in such a manner that any subsequent alteration of the certificate or underlying electronic document prominently displays evidence of the alteration; and attached or logically associated by a means under the electronic Notary's sole control.

Clarifies that a registered electronic signature may be used by the electronic Notary for lawful purposes other than performing electronic notarizations, provided that neither the title "Notary" nor any other indication of status as a notarial officer is part of the signature.

Specifies the required information elements for a registered electronic Notary seal:  the name of the electronic Notary fully and exactly as it is spelled on the Notary's commissioning document; the jurisdiction that commissioned and registered the electronic Notary; the title "Electronic Notary Public"; the commission or registration number of the electronic Notary; and the electronic Notary’s commission expiration date.

Prohibits a registered electronic Notary seal or a combined single element containing the seal from being used by the electronic Notary for any purpose other than performing lawful electronic notarizations.  Provides that the means for producing registered electronic Notary seals, or registered single elements, must at all times be kept under the sole control of the electronic Notary.

Electronic Notary – Employer Issues
Prohibits an employer of an electronic Notary from using or controlling the means for producing registered electronic signatures and Notary seals, or registered single elements combining the required features of both.  Further prohibits an employer of an electronic Notary from retaining any software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that is intended exclusively to produce a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or combined single element, regardless of whether the employer financially supported the employee's activities as a Notary upon termination of a Notary's employment.

Journal Requirements, Electronic Notarizations
Mandates an electronic Notary to keep, maintain, protect, and provide for lawful inspection a chronological journal of notarial acts that is permanently bound with numbered pages and an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts.  (See this report’s previous section on journal requirements.)

Other Provisions (Electronic Notarization)
Addresses authentication of the seal and registered electronic signature of an electronic Notary in conformance with any current and pertinent international treaties, agreements, and conventions subscribed to by the government of the United States.  Authorizes the Secretary of State to charge a maximum fee of $10 for an electronic Apostille or certificate of authority.

Clarifies that the criminal penalties for impersonating an electronic Notary and for soliciting, coercing, or improperly influencing an electronic Notary to commit official misconduct in performing notarial acts are the same penalties described in subsection 6 of RSMo 578.700 in regard to performing nonelectronic notarial acts.

Provides that for documents presented to a recorder of deeds for recording, a physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal is not required if the Notary has attached an electronic notarial certificate that meets the requirements of RSMo 59.

Remote Notarization; Remote Online Notary Public
Establishes that a Missouri remote online Notary Public may perform a remote online notarization for a remotely located individual who is (1) physically located in Missouri; (2) outside of Missouri but within the United States; or (3) outside the United States if the electronic notarization is not prohibited in the non-U.S. jurisdiction in which the principal is physically located at the time of the remote online notarial act.  Mandates that a remote online Notary Public shall perform a remote online notarization as authorized in §486.1100 to §486.1205, RSMo, only while the remote online notary is physically located within Missouri.

Remote Online Notarization Registration
NOTE:  Please see content above regarding registration of an electronic notary’s electronic signature and electronic seal.

Provides that prior to performing remote online notarial acts, a person [who is not already a Missouri Notary Public] shall apply to be a commissioned Missouri Notary.  Requires a notary to register the capability to perform remote online notarial acts with the Secretary of State before performing remote online notarial acts.  Requires that upon recommissioning, a Notary shall again register with the Secretary of State before performing remote online notarizations.  Clarifies that that a person may apply or reapply for a Notary commission and register or reregister to perform remote online notarial acts at the same time.

Provides that before initially registering the capability to perform remote online notarial acts, a Notary shall complete a course of instruction as approved by the Secretary of State, in addition to the course required for commissioning as a Notary, and pass an examination based on the course.  Provides that the content of the remote online notarization course shall be notarial laws, procedures, and ethics pertaining to remote online notarization.

Requires a Notary who registers to perform remote online notarizations to electronically sign and submit to the Secretary of State an electronic form prescribed by the Secretary that includes: the information required in §486.920; subsection 1, RSMo; the technology that the remote online Notary will use; and any other information, evidence, or declaration required by the Secretary.  Requires the Secretary of State to deny registration to any applicant submitting an electronic registration form that contains a material misstatement or omission of fact.

Provides that the term of registration of an electronic/remote online Notary shall begin on the registration starting date set by the Secretary of State and continues as long as the Notary's commission remains in effect or until registration is terminated.

Requires a remote online notary’s registered electronic Notary seal to include: the name of the remote online Notary fully and exactly as it is spelled on the Notary's commissioning document; the jurisdiction that commissioned and registered the remote online Notary (“State of Missouri”); the title "Electronic Notary Public"; the commission or registration number of the remote online Notary; and the commission expiration date of the remote online Notary.

Establishes requirements for the safeguarding of electronic documents, electronic signature and electronic seal by a remote online notary.  Prohibits a remote online Notary from allowing another person to use the remote online Notary's electronic document, electronic signature, or electronic seal.

Remote Online Notary – Journal Requirements
*NOTE:  The new law’s journal requirements (permanently bound and electronic journals) are extensive; please fully review applicable provisions of Chapter 486, RSMo.

Requires a notary registered as a remote online notary to keep an electronic journal of remote online notarial acts as described in §486.1190, RSMo; and in addition, to enter into his or her permanently bound journal a record of every remote online notarial act performed.

Allows a remote online notary to maintain only one active permanently bound journal at the same time, except that a backup of each active and inactive electronic journal shall be retained by the notary in accordance with §486.1190, subsection 1.(3), RSMo.  In addition to retaining their permanently bound journal(s) as prescribed by law, a remote online notary shall retain every entry in an electronic journal of remote online notarial acts for no less than ten years from the date of the entry.

Requires that for every remote online notarial act performed a remote online notary must record in the electronic journal at the time of notarization:
1. The date and time of day of the remote online notarial act;
2. The type of remote online notarial act;
3. The type, title, or a description of the document or proceeding;
4. The electronic signature, printed name, and address of each principal;
5. The printed name and address of each requester of fact;
6. The evidence of identity of each principal in the form of either:
• A statement that the person is personally known to the notary;
• A notation of the type of identification document, its issuing agency, its serial or identification number, and its date of issuance or expiration;
• The electronic signature, printed name, and address of each credible witness swearing or affirming to the principal’s identity, and for credible witnesses who are not personally known to the notary, a description of the identification documents relied on by the notary; or
• In the case of an electronic journal, a recognized biometric identifier, in accordance with subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of section 486.1190;
7. The fee, if any, charged for the remote online notarial act;
8. The address where the remote online notarial act was performed, if not the address of the notary’s regular place of work or business; and
9. The name of the program or software any authority issuing or registering the means used to create the electronic signature that was notarized and the source of this authority’s license, if any.

Prohibits a remote online notary from recording a Social Security number or credit card number in the journal.  Allows a remote online notary to record in the journal the circumstances for not performing or completing any requested remote online notarial act.  Provides numerous other detailed requirements for journal entries and electronic journal capabilities.

Establishes that in maintaining an electronic journal of remote online notarial acts, a remote online Notary Public shall comply with the statutory provisions regarding the copying, security, surrender, and disposition of a journal as set forth in §§ 486.710 to 486.715, and §§486.795 to 486.800, RSMo.

Requires every remote online Notary Public maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts under §486.1180 to provide to the Secretary of State, on the registration form for acting as a remote online notary, authorization and the access instructions necessary to allow journal entries to be viewed, printed, and copied in read-only access; and notify the secretary of any subsequent change to the access instructions.

Requires a remote online Notary Public to create an audio and video recording of the performance of every remote online notarization.  Requires the recording of every remote online notarization performed to be maintained for at least ten years after the date of the transaction or proceeding.  Requires the secretary of state to promulgate rules establishing standards for the retention of these recordings; subjects such rules subject to the limitations in §486.830, RSMo.

Allows a remote online Notary Public to designate certain parties as custodian of the recording and the electronic journal:  the employer of the remote online Notary Public if evidenced by a record signed by the remote online Notary Public and the employer; or a repository meeting the standards established by the secretary of state.  Mandates that an employer or other repository acting as the custodian of a recording of a remote online notarial act or an electronic journal to comply with all statutory requirements regarding retention and disclosure of recordings and electronic journals applicable to Notaries.

Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to allow journal entries to be made, viewed, printed, and copied only after access is obtained by a procedure that uses two factors of authentication.  Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to not allow a journal entry to be deleted or altered in content or sequence by the electronic Notary or any other person after a record of the electronic notarization is entered and stored, except that an entry may be deleted if the retention period set forth in §485.1190, subsection 4, RSMo has passed.

Also requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to have a backup system in place to provide a duplicate record of electronic notarial acts as a precaution in the event of loss of the original record; to be capable of capturing and storing the image of a handwritten or electronic signature and the data related to one other type of recognized biometric identifier; and to be capable of printing and providing electronic copies of any entry, including images of handwritten signatures and the data related to the other selected type of recognized biometric identifier.

Journal Disposition Upon Remote Online Notary Resignation, Revocation, Commission Expiration or Death
Requires that upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of a Notary commission, or death of the remote online Notary, the Notary’s journal and notarial records shall be delivered to the Secretary of State in accordance with §486.795 or §486.800, RSMo, by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, allowing that an electronic journal may be delivered on disk, printed on paper, or transmitted electronically, in accordance with the requirements of the Secretary.  Further requires that in the case of an electronic journal and its backup copy whose disks or other physical storage media are not required to be surrendered, no further entries shall be made in the journal and its backup, both of which shall be safeguarded until both shall be erased or expunged after ten years from the date of the last entry by the Notary or the Notary's personal representative.

Recording of Remote Online Notarization
Requires a remote online Notary to create an audio and video recording of the performance of the notarial act.  Requires the recording of a remote online notarization to be maintained for at least 10 years after the date of the transaction or proceeding.

Authorizes a remote online Notary to designate as custodian of the recording and the electronic journal the employer of the remote online Notary if evidenced by a record signed by the remote online Notary and the employer; or a repository meeting the standards established by the Secretary of State.  Requires an employer or other repository acting as the custodian of a recording or an electronic journal to comply with all statutory requirements regarding retention and disclosure of recordings and electronic journals applicable to Notaries.

Remote Online Notarization Software
Requires the Secretary of State to approve the software to be used in remote online notarial acts.  Requires the Secretary of State to test and certify remote online notarization software before being used by a remote online Notary.  Clarifies that the expenses of any such testing must be paid by the vendor of the software.

Provides that the Secretary of State may only approve remote online notarization software that, at a minimum: records and archives the remote online session; provides sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the remote online Notary and the principal to see and communicate to each other simultaneously through live, real time transmission; provides reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the live transmission of the audio-video communication, a recording of the audio-video communication, the verification methods and credentials used to verify the identity of the principal, the electronic documents presented for electronic notarization; utilizes video technology to be used in a remote electronic notarization session that provides sufficient high-definition for the Notary to reasonably assess the principal's comprehension and volition; permits the remote online Notary to identify the principal to the remote online Notary's satisfaction through a form of authentication that complies with §486.1145, RSMo; permits the principal to identify the remote online Notary to his or her satisfaction; and presents the document being notarized as an electronic document.

Remote Online Notarial Acts
Establishes that only acknowledgments and jurats may be performed as remote online notarizations.

Provides that a remote online Notary has satisfactory evidence of identity of an individual requesting a remote online notarization if the remote online Notary confirms the identity of the person by: (1) personal knowledge of the identity; (2) each of the following, if approved by rules adopted by the Secretary of State: remote presentation by the person of an identification credential, including a passport or driver's license, that contains a photograph and the signature of the person; credential analysis; and identity proofing of the person (pursuant to Missouri law); (3) any other method that complies with any rules adopted by the Secretary of State; or (4) a valid certificate that complies with any rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

Provides that a remote online Notary shall perform a remote online notarization only if the principal is in the presence of the Notary utilizing live audio-video conferencing technology at the time of notarization; is personally known to the Notary or identified by the Notary through satisfactory evidence as set forth in §486.1145, RSMo; appears to understand the nature of the transaction; appears to be acting of his or her own free will; communicates directly with the Notary in a language both understand; and reasonably establishes the electronic signature as his or her own.

Allows a remote online Notary to perform a remote online notarization authorized in §486.1100 to §486.1205, RSMo, only when physically located within Missouri.  Provides that a remote online Notary may perform a remote online notarization for a remotely located individual who is physically located in Missouri; outside Missouri but within the United States; or outside the United States if the electronic notarization is not prohibited in the jurisdiction in which the principal is physically located at the time of the remote online notarial act.

Provides that the validity of a remote online notarization performed by a remote online Notary in accordance with §486.1100 to §486.1205, RSMo, shall be governed by the laws of Missouri.

Remote Online Notarial Certificate
Requires that in performing a remote online notarial act, the remote online Notary must properly complete a remote online notarial certificate.  Establishes the information elements that a “proper” remote online notarial certificate must contain (§486.1165, RSMo).

Establishes that the wording of a remote online notarial certificate shall be in a form set forth in §486.1175, RSMo or that is otherwise prescribed by Missouri law; or prescribed by a law, regulation or custom of another jurisdiction provided it does not require unauthorized actions by the Missouri remote online notary; or describes the actions of the remote online notary in such a manner as to meet the requirements of the particular notarial act as defined in Missouri law.  Further requires that a remote online notarial certificate shall be worded and completed using only letters, characters and a language that are read, written and understood by the remote online notary.

Requires that when taking an acknowledgment, a remote online notary shall use certificate forms for performing acknowledgments (individual and representative capacity) and jurats indicating that the principal appearing for the notarial act “personally appeared by remote online means.” Provides statutory acknowledgment and jurat certificate forms for notarization of a remotely located individual’s signature or mark.  Requires a remote online notary to use certificate forms that substantially comply with the forms provided in §486.1175(1) and (2).

Provides that in notarizing an electronic document, the remote Notary shall attach to, or logically associate with, the electronic notarial certificate a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal, or a registered single element containing both a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal in such a manner that the signature and the seal, or the single element, are attributed to the electronic Notary named on the commission.  Requires a registered electronic signature to be: (1) unique to the electronic Notary; (2) capable of independent verification; (3) attached to or logically associated with an electronic notarial certificate in such a manner that any subsequent alteration of the certificate or underlying electronic document prominently displays evidence of the alteration; and (4) attached or logically associated by a means under the electronic Notary's sole control.

Requires a remote online Notary to attach the remote online Notary's electronic signature and seal to the electronic notarial certificate of an electronic document in a manner that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic document evident.

Remote Online Notarization Fees
Provides that in addition to the other fees allowed by §486.960, RSMo, a remote online Notary may charge a remote online Notary transaction fee if the Notary and the principal agree upon the fee in advance of the notarial act being performed and the Notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the remote online transaction fee is separate from the notarial fee prescribed in §486.960, subsection 2, RSMo and is not mandated by law.

Remote Online Notary – Employer Issues
Establishes that an employer of an electronic notary shall neither use nor control the means for producing registered electronic signatures and notary seals, or registered single elements combining an electronic notary’s electronic signature and electronic seal.  Prohibits employers, upon termination of a notary’s employment, from retaining any software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token or program that is exclusively intended to produce an electronic notary’s registered electronic signature, notary seal or combined single element, regardless whether the employer paid for the costs of the employee’s notary commission, tools and activities.

Other Provisions; Rulemaking
Clarifies that RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010 supplement the provisions of RSMo 486.600 to 486.825 for in person electronic notarial acts, and further clarifies that to the extent RSMo 486.600 to 486.825 are inconsistent with RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010, the provisions of RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010 control regarding the performance of electronic notarial acts (for physically present individuals).

Provides that §§486.1100 to 486.1205, RSMo supplement the provisions of §§486.600 to 486.820, RSMo and §§486.900 to 486.1010, RSMo for remote online notarial acts.  Establishes that to the extent §§486.600 to 486.820, RSMo and §§486.900 to 486.1010, RSMo are inconsistent with §§486.1100 to 486.1205, RSMo, the provisions of §§486.1100 to 486.1205 control regarding remote online notarial acts.

Authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt rules necessary to implement §§486.1100 to 486.1205, RSMo, including rules to facilitate remote online notarizations, subject to the limitations in §486.830, RSMo.  Requires the Secretary of State, by rule, to develop and maintain standards for remote online notarization in accordance with §§486.1100 to 486.1205, RSMo, including but not limited to standards for credential analysis and identity proofing.  Clarifies that such rules shall be subject to the limitations in §486.830, RSMo.  Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate rules establishing standards for the retention of a video and audio recording of the performance of the notarial act that are subject to the limitations in §486.830, RSMo.
 
NEBRASKA – LB 94
Signed March 31, 2021
Effective August 21, 2021
View this bill


Amends Nebraska’s Online Notary Public Act by providing a statutory validation provision for certain notarial acts performed pursuant to Governor Pete Rickets’ Executive Order No. 20-13.

Establishes that no otherwise valid online notarial act:
  • performed on or after April 2, 2020 and before July 1, 2020; and
  • pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order No. 20-13;

…shall be invalidated because it was performed prior to the operative date of Laws 2019, LB 186 (Nebraska's Online Notary Public Act). Further specifies that no deed, mortgage, trust deed or other written instrument for conveyance or encumbrance of real estate or any interest therein shall be invalidated because it involved the performance of an online notarial act on or after April 2, 2020 and before July 1, 2020 pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order No. 20-13. Declares such deed, mortgage, trust deed or other instrument in writing to be legal and valid in all courts of law and equity in Nebraska and elsewhere.
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NEBRASKA – LB 910
Signed August 11, 2020
Effective July 1, 2021
View this bill


Consolidates various cash funds used for administration of the office (agency) of the Secretary of State. Restructures various fees relating to Notaries Public and Remote Online Notaries Public.

Creates a single cash fund called the Secretary of State Cash Fund. On July 1, 2021, transfers the balance of five existing cash funds (the Administration Cash Fund; the Corporation Cash Fund; the Nebraska Collection Agency Fund; the Secretary of State Administration Cash Fund; and the Uniform Commercial Code Cash Fund) to the Secretary of State Cash Fund. Specifies uses of the Secretary of State Cash Fund.

Preserves but restructures certain fees relating to Notaries Public and Remote Online Notaries Public. Increases to $30 the fee for an individual to be commissioned as a Notary Public or to obtain a renewal commission, while eliminating the additional fee of $15 for receiving the filing of a Notary Public bond and approving such bond. Increases, from $50 to $100, the maximum fee the Secretary may charge for registering or renewing a registration as a Nebraska Online Notary Public. Retains statutory language clarifying that this fee is in addition to the fee for obtaining or renewing a Notary Public commission.
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NEBRASKA – Administrative Rules Title 433 (Permanent):
Chapter 6 Notaries Public; Chapter 7 Electronic Notaries Public; Chapter 8 Online Notaries Public

Effective July 1, 2020
View these rules (from menu, select Chapter 6, 7 and 8)

Amends multiple provisions of existing (emergency) administrative rules with clarifying language and new provisions. Creates new rule sections. (Some changes emphasized with underlined text.)

Chapter 6 Notaries Public
Defines, for purposes of this Chapter 6: “Act,” “applicant,” “application,” “form,” “Notary Public,” “regular place of work or business in Nebraska,” “resident,” “Secretary,” “a crime involving fraud or dishonesty,” “conviction within the last five (5) years,” “total revocation,” and “temporary revocation,” “malfeasance in office,” “Nebraska employer,” “notarial act,” “notarial certificate or acknowledgment,” “Notary Public,” “regular place of work or business,” “resident,” “Secretary,” “total revocation,” and “temporary revocation.”

Requires that the notarial certificate or acknowledgment must be completed in its entirety including dates, state and county of notarial act. Establishes that blank or incomplete documents should not be notarized. Prohibits post-dating or pre-dating of the date of notarization (on the notarial certificate).

Requires a Notary Public to affix a clear and legible impression of his or her/their stamp to a document and prohibits such affixation to occur over printed material or other signatures on the document. Clarifies that a Notary Public must obtain a new seal each time the commission is renewed which includes the new commission dates. Further clarifies that Notary commission are issued to an individual regardless of whether or not another business or entity paid the Notary application fee, bond or seal. Provides that the seal should be secured and only accessible by the Notary Public.

Provides that the signature on a Notary’s most recent application (initial application, renewal, or Request to Change Record) will be used for verification purposes, therefore the Notary Public should always sign “consistently” with his or her/their application signature.

Addresses the Notary’s duty to be aware of the condition of a signer, with special attention urged when the Notary is asked to notarize the signature of a minor child or persons possibly lacking the capability of understanding the document that they are signing. Provides that a Notary Public should refuse to notarize if the Notary reasonably believes the signer does not understand the document. Prohibits Notaries Public from refusing to provide services on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, or marital status.

Lists the various forms and items necessary to obtain and maintain a Nebraska Notary Public commission, including a $15,000 surety bond that is concurrent with the Notary Public commission term. Provides that the listed forms will be available to all applicants on the Secretary of State’s website or upon request.

Provides the requirements that every application for a Notary Public commission (new and renewal) must meet before it will be considered by the Secretary, including information that must be included. Provides that renewal applications shall be received no later than the date the commission expires; if received after that date the renewal will be considered an initial application. Requires, for commission expiration dates that fall on a weekend or holiday, the renewal application to be received prior to that expiration date.

Establishes that no appointment will be made if the applicant has been convicted of a felony unless a full pardon has been granted by the Nebraska Board of Pardons. Further establishes that no appointment will be made if the applicant has been convicted of a crime involving fraud or dishonesty within the last five years unless a full pardon has been granted by the Nebraska Board of Pardons. Defines “crime involving fraud or dishonesty” and “conviction within the last five years.”

Clarifies that residents of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota or Wyoming may apply to be a Nebraska Notary if they maintain a regular place of work or business in Nebraska. Requires such non-resident applicants to submit the form, “Evidence of Employment in Nebraska”; self-employed non-resident applicants must attach a written explanation to this form.

Provides that a Notary Public with a name change may continue to use his or her/their current Notary Commission as it was issued until commission expiration or termination, and requires such Notary to continue to sign his or her name using the name as listed on the commission certificate. Establishes that a Notary Public who has changed his or her name during the Notary’s commission term may apply for a new commission under the new name by following procedures provided in rule.

Clarifies that a Notary Public must update his or her changed address by completing and submitting the specified form within 45 days of moving.

Requires a non-resident Nebraska Notary Public who is terminated from a regular place of work or business in Nebraska to relinquish his or her/their Notary Public commission by returning the commission certificate and seal to the Secretary.

Establishes procedures for obtaining a new commission reflecting a Notary Public’s updated signature or name, and clarifies that when a name or signature change occurs within 30 days prior to expiration of the Notary’s current commission, the Notary should instead include the name or signature change on his or her/their renewal application.

Establishes that a “Change of Signature or Name Application for a Notary Public” application will be considered a new application, and the Notary must comply with all steps of the entire application process except that the Notary need not take the written examination.

Establishes that a Notary Public convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud or dishonesty during this or her commission term must provide the Secretary of State written notification of the conviction within 45 days after the conviction occurs.

Provides details of the Notary Public Examination. Requires an applicant to score 85% or better to pass the exam. Establishes that a passing exam score is valid for 2 years from the date of examination, and that applicants who do not use a passing exam score within the 2 years have only the remainder of prior opportunities to retake the exam. Allows applicants to have three attempts to pass the Notary Public Exam. Requires applicants who do not pass the exam after three attempts to wait thirty days before retaking the exam. Establishes that applicants who do not pass the exam after three attempts are deemed to be incompetent to receive a Nebraska Notary Public commission, and are ineligible to take the exam again. Provides that the exam may be completed electronically if authorized by the Secretary.

Provides the factors the Secretary of State may consider when evaluating a Notary Public’s alleged malfeasance to determine if it should be set for hearing or for a stipulation process, including history of complaints received by the Secretary, and prior disciplinary record or warnings from the Secretary.

Provides scope of factors to be considered in the Secretary’s investigation of alleged malfeasance by a Notary Public. Clarifies that the list of acts of malfeasance in Rule 007.03(B)(1) is nonexclusive, and adds to that list a Notary Public being convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud or dishonesty while commissioned; and a Notary Public failing to respond to written communications or requests from the Secretary within 30 days from the date the written communication or request was sent.

Clarifies that the listed acts constituting a Notary Public’s malfeasance, that may result in temporary or total revocation of a Notary Public commission or an official warning to the Notary, are nonexclusive. Clarifies that total commission revocation may result if a Notary Public is convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud or dishonesty while commissioned; or if the Notary fails to respond to written communications or requests from the Secretary within 30 days from the date the written communication or request was sent. Requires that in the case of commission revocation, the Notary Public’s commission and seal must be returned to the Secretary’s office. Establishes that temporary revocation means revocation for as little as one month to as long as four years. Provides for an admonishment to be issued and notated in a Notary’s paper and electronic file when the Secretary feels that alleged malfeasance rises to the level of warning but not revocation.

Specifies the Notary Public application fee, fee to change the name on a commission, and fee to provide a duplicate commission.

Provides the fees a Notary Public may charge for his or her services.

Chapter 7 Electronic Notaries Public
Provides rule Chapter 7, Electronic Notaries Public*, to implement the Electronic Notary Public Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§64-301 through 64-317.
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*NOTE: “Electronic Notaries Public” perform electronic notarial acts regarding electronic documents for a physically present individual/signer.

Defines, for purposes of this Chapter 7: “applicant,” “Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider,” “biometric authentication,” “electronic notarization system,” “independently verifiable,” “Notary Public,” “password authentication,” “Secretary,” “token authentication,” “under his or her exclusive control,” “under the Electronic Notary Public’s sole control.”

Establishes that to qualify for registration as an Electronic Notary Public, an applicant must provide all information needed pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-304; hold a valid Nebraska Notary Public commission; certify that he or she continues to meet the qualifications of a Notary Public; take the course of instruction and pass the examination as stated in Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-305; pay the registration fee; and provide any other information requested by the Secretary to prove the qualifications of the applicant. (Rule 003.01 (A) through (F)).

Specifies that a Notary Public applying to renew his or her/their registration as an Electronic Notary Public will so indicate on his or her/their 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. Establishes that if an Electronic Notary Public fails to renew his or her/their registration at the same time the Notary Public commission is renewed, he or she/they will submit a new application for registration and meet all requirements of Chapter 6, Section 003 in order to be registered as an Electronic Notary Public.

Establishes a $100 fee for registration or re-registration as an Electronic Notary Public.

Establishes that the Secretary will administer the training course and testing for applicants for an Electronic Notary Public registration. Clarifies that upon determining a need for additional instructors, the Secretary of State may designate a third-party training course for Applicants or appoint certified Notary Public instructors to administer the training course and testing for Electronic Notary Public applicants.

Establishes that an applicant who fails the Electronic Notary exam must wait 30 days then may reapply for registration, including submitting a new application for registration, paying the registration fee, taking the course of instruction, and passing the exam. Provides that an applicant who fails the examination three times will be considered incompetent to be registered as an Electronic Notary Public and will not be eligible to take the exam again.

Establishes that an Electronic Notary Public who violates Nebraska’s Electronic Notary Public Act or applicable administrative rules is subject to removal of his or her registration, and that such removal will be under the removal procedures provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-113 and 433 NAC 6 007.

Requires an Electronic Notary Public to notify the Secretary within 45 days, in writing, after changing his or her Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider. Establishes that failure to provide timely written notification may subject to the Electronic Notary to removal of registration. Requires the new Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to submit an exemplary of the Electronic Notary’s new electronic signature and electronic notary seal to the Secretary.

Establishes that the electronic signature and electronic notary seal of an Electronic Notary Public shall be independently verifiable and unique to the Electronic Notary Public; and retained under the Electronic Notary’s sole control. Further provides that when used by the Electronic Notary Public to perform an electronic notarization, the Notary’s electronic signature and electronic seal 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 an Electronic Notary Public’s electronic signature and electronic notary seal to be attached to or logically associated with the document, and in such 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, and image of the Notary’s electronic notary seal, to appear on any visual or printed representation of an Electronic Notary Public’s certificate of notarial act, regardless of the technology being used to affix the Electronic Notary’s electronic signature and electronic notary seal.

Specifies that the perimeter of the electronic notary seal shall contain a border such that the electronic notary seal’s physical appearance replicates the appearance of an inked seal on paper. Further specifies that the electronic notary seal shall have, within its border, the Electronic Notary Public’s name exactly as commissioned, the words “Electronic Notary Public,” and “Nebraska,” and the Notary’s commission expiration date.

Establishes that neither an employer nor any of the employer’s employees or agents may use or permit the use of an electronic notary seal or signature by anyone other than the Authorized Electronic Notary Public to whom it is registered. Specifies modes of protection that must be used to protect access to electronic notary signatures and electronic notary seals.

Requires an Electronic Notary Public to report, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-310, the theft or vandalism of the Notary’s electronic signature or electronic notary seal or electronic record, including the backup record. Requires the Notary to do such reporting within 10 days after discovering the theft or vandalism, and establishes that the Notary’s failure to report such theft or vandalism may subject the Notary to removal of his or her registration as an Electronic Notary Public.

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 the principal and the Notary can carry out specified actions without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or facsimile machines.

Provides requirements for an electronic notary solution provider to apply to the Secretary of State for designation as an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider. Establishes that an electronic notary solution provider may appeal the Secretary’s denial of such a solution provider’s application. Specifies criteria each electronic notary solution provider must meet for approval and designation by the Secretary, including that the provider’s principals or employees take Nebraska’s mandatory Notary Public education course and pass the examination as necessary to ensure the provider possesses sufficient familiarity with Nebraska’s Electronic Notary Public laws and regulations.

Requires an electronic notary solution provider to notify the Secretary within 45 days after any changes, modifications or updates to information previously submitted to the Secretary have occurred.

Requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to notify the Secretary within 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 approved designation of an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider if such updates or changes do not meet the requirements of the Electronic Notary Public Act and administrative rules.

Requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to ensure Notaries Public present their Certificate of Registration to act as an Electronic Notary Public prior to the solution provider authorizing an electronic notary seal and electronic signature. Requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to verify the authorization of a Nebraska Notary Public to perform electronic notary acts by confirming the Notary’s status through the Secretary, or through the Secretary’s website should an online listing be made available. Further requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to submit, to the Secretary of State, an exemplary of each subscribing Electronic Notary Public’s electronic signature and electronic notary seal.

Requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to provide prorated fees for usage and cost of their electronic notarization system, so that usage and cost are aligned with the commission term limit of an Electronic Notary Public purchasing the electronic notary seal and electronic signature. Requires an Approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider to suspend the use of any electronic notarization system for any Electronic Notary Public with a revoked, suspended, or canceled commission.

Requires each electronic signature presented for notarization and attestation in the form of an acknowledgment to be individually affixed to the electronic document by the principal signer. Provides that such acknowledgment “should” be acknowledged separately by the principal signer; provides exceptions.

Requires an Electronic Notary Public to keep a journal of all electronic notarizations he or she performs, and to maintain the journal record and backup record for at least 10 years after the date of the notarial act. Requires an Electronic Notary to present the journal or any portion of it to the Secretary upon written request. Establishes that failure to maintain the record for the required period or to timely provide the record upon the Secretary’s request subjects the Electronic Notary to registration removal.

Provides that an Electronic Notary Public or his or her/their duly authorized representative must provide (in writing) the statutorily required certification that he or she/they have erased, deleted or destroyed the coding, disk , certificate, card, software, file, password or program enabling electronic affixation of the Electronic Notary’s electronic signature and electronic notary seal within three months after the Electronic Notary’s registration expires, is resigned, canceled, or revoked or upon the death of the Electronic Notary Public.

Establishes applications and other forms for registration as an Electronic Notary Public, available to all applicants on the Secretary’s website or upon request.

Chapter 8 Online Notaries Public
Defines, for purposes of this Chapter 8: “applicant,” “Approved Online Notary Solution Provider,” “biometric authentication,” “independently verifiable,” “Notary Public,” “online notarization system,” “password authentication,” “Secretary,” “token authentication,” “under his or her exclusive control,” and “under the Online Notary Public’s sole control.”

Establishes the qualifications for a registration as a Nebraska Online Notary Public: provide all information needed for registration pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-406; hold a valid Nebraska Notary Public commission; the applicant’s certification that he or she/they continue to meet the qualifications of a Notary Public; take the course of instruction and pass the examination; pay the registration fee; and provide any other information requested by the Secretary to prove the qualifications of the applicant.

Establishes that the fee for registering or renewing a registration as an Online Notary Public is $50.

Specifies that a Notary Public applying to renew his or her registration as an Online Notary Public shall so indicate on his or her Notary Public renewal application and pay the fee for registration as an Online Notary Public, in addition to the fee for renewal of his or her Notary Public commission. Establishes that failure to renew an Online Notary Public registration at the same time as the Notary Public commission is review will require the individual to submit a new application for Online Notary Public registration and meet all applicable requirements.

Establishes that the Secretary shall administer the required training course and testing for Online Notary Public registration applicants. Allows the Secretary to designate a third-party training course for applicants or appoint certified Notary Public instructors, upon the Secretary’s determination of need to do so.

Requires an applicant to achieve a passing score of 85% or better on the Online Notary Public examination. Establishes that applicants who fail the examination will be denied their application for registration as an Online Notary Public, but allow such applicants to reapply for registration after waiting 30 days. Establishes that an applicant who failed the exam three times will be considered incompetent to be registered as an Online Notary Public and will be not eligible to take the exam again.

Establishes that an Online Notary Public violating the Online Notary Public Act or this rule’s Chapter 8 is subject to having his or her registration removed.

Establishes that the electronic signature and electronic notary seal of an Online Notary Public shall be independently verifiable and unique to the Online Notary Public; and retained under the Online Notary’s sole control. Further provides that when used by the Online Notary Public to perform an electronic notarization, the Notary’s electronic signature and electronic seal shall be accessible by and attributable solely to the Online Notary Public to the exclusion of all other persons and entities for the entire time necessary to perform the electronic notarization.

Requires an Online Notary Public’s electronic signature and electronic notary seal to be attached to or logically associated with the document, and in such manner that any subsequent alterations to the underlying document or online notarial certificate are observable through visual examination.

Requires an image of the Online Notary Public’s handwritten signature, and image of the Notary’s electronic notary seal, to appear on any visual or printed representation of an Online Notary Public’s certificate of notarial act, regardless of the technology being used to affix the Online Notary’s electronic signature and electronic notary seal.

Specifies that the perimeter of the online notary seal shall contain a border such that the online notary seal’s physical appearance replicates the appearance of an inked seal on paper. Further specifies that the online notary seal shall have, within its border, the Online Notary Public’s name exactly as commissioned, identifying number,* the words “Online Notary Public,” and “Nebraska,” and the Online Notary’s commission expiration date.
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*NOTE: Be aware that this administrative rule does not require the seal of a “traditional” Notary or Electronic Notary Public to include an identifying number, but does require such for the seal of an Online Notary Public.

Establishes that a Nebraska Online Notary Public must be physically located in the State of Nebraska when performing an online notarial act.

Specifies application procedures, criteria and requirements for an online notary solution provider to obtain the Secretary of State’s approval to issue online notary seals or electronic signatures to Nebraska Online Notaries Public. Notably, requires the individual signing the approval application on behalf of an online notary solution provider to take the mandatory Notary Public education course and pass the examination. Provides that an online notary solution provider may appeal the Secretary’s denial of the provider’s application, under the Nebraska Administrative Procedures Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§84-901 through 84-920).

Provides minimum standards for the communication technology provided by an online notary solution provider.

Requires an Online Notary Public to notify the Secretary in writing within 45 days after changing his or her/their online notary system or Approved Online Notary Solution Provider. Requires the Online Notary’s new Approved Online Notary Solution Provider to submit an exemplary of the Online Notary’s new electronic signature and online notary seal to the Secretary. Establishes that failure to timely update this information may subject the Online Notary Public to having his or her/their registration removed.

Requires an online notary solution provider to notify the Secretary within 45 days of changes, modifications or updates to information previously submitted to the Secretary. Requires an Approved Online Notary Solution Provider to provide notice to the Secretary, pursuant to the Online Notary Public Act and this Chapter 8, of any updates or subsequent versions of the provider’s online notarization system and to provide such notice within 45 days before making any updates or subsequent versions of the provider’s online notarization system available to Nebraska Online Notaries.

Requires, for each principal’s signature presented for notarization and attestation in the form of an acknowledgment, to be individually affixed to the electronic document by the principal and acknowledged separately by the principal. Provides exceptions.

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

Specifies that an Online Notary Public’s report pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-410, of the theft or vandalism of his or her/their electronic signature, online notary or electronic record including backup record, shall be made in writing to the Secretary of State within j10 days after discovery of the theft or vandalism. Establishes that failure to report the theft or vandalism in accordance with Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-410 may subject the Online Notary Public to removal of his or her/their registration.

Establishes that an Online Notary Public’s secure electronic record of all online notarial acts and backup records maintained pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §64-409, or any portion of them, shall be available to the Secretary upon request. Provides that an Online Notary Public who fails to maintain the record or backup record for the retention period, or fails to timely provide the record upon request by the Secretary, will be subject to removal of his or her/their Online Notary Public registration.

Requires an Online Notary Public or his or her/their duly authorized representative to fulfill, within three months after the Online Notary Public’s registration expires, is resigned, canceled, or revoked or upon the death of the Online Notary Public, the requirement to provide (in writing) the statutorily prescribed certification that he or she/they have erased, deleted or destroyed the coding, disk, certificate, card, software, file, password or program enabling electronic affixation of the Online Notary’s electronic signature and online notary seal.

Establishes applications and other forms for registration as an Online Notary Public, available to all applicants on the Secretary’s website or upon request.
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NEBRASKA - LB 186
Signed 05.30.2019; Notary provisions effective 07.01.2020
View this bill

Enacts the Online Notary Public Act (“the Act”), providing for Nebraska Notaries Public to register as an Online Notary Public and then perform remote online notarial acts by means of communication technology, subject to requirements of the Act and administrative rules of the Nebraska Secretary of State. 

Definitions
1. “Communication technology” –an electronic device or process that allows an Online Notary Public and an individual not in the Online Notary Public ’s physical presence to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound.
2. “Credential analysis” – a process or service operating according to criteria approved by the Secretary of State through which a third person affirms the validity of a government-issued identification credential through review of public and proprietary data sources.
3. “Electronic” – relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.
4. “Electronic document” – information that is created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.
5. “Electronic signature” – an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with an electronic document and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the electronic document.
6. “Identity proofing” – a process or service operating according to criteria approved by the Secretary of State through which a third person affirms the identity of an individual through review of personal information from public or proprietary data sources.
7. “Online notarial act” – the performance by an Online Notary Public of a function authorized under section 8 of this act that is performed by means of communication technology that meets the standards developed under section 7 of this act.
8. “Online notarial certificate” – the portion of a notarized electronic document that is completed by an Online Notary Public and that contains the following: (a) the Online Notary Public 's electronic signature, Online Notary seal, title, and commission expiration date; (b) other required information concerning the date and place of the online notarial act; and (c) the completed wording of one of the following notarial certificates: (i) acknowledgment, (ii) jurat, (iii) verification of proof, or (iv) oath or affirmation.
9. “Online Notary Public” – a [commissioned Nebraska] Notary Public registered with the Secretary of State who has the authority to perform online notarial acts under the Online Notary Public Act.
10. “Online Notary seal” – information within a notarized electronic document that confirms the Online Notary Public 's name, jurisdiction, identifying number, and commission expiration date and generally corresponds to the data in notary seals used on paper documents.
11. “Online Notary solution provider” – a provider of any credential analysis, identity proofing, Online Notary seals, electronic signatures, or communication technology.
12. “Personal knowledge” or “personally known” – mean familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to dispel any reasonable uncertainty that the individual has the identity claimed.
13. “Principal” – an individual: (a) whose electronic signature is notarized in an online notarial act; or (b) taking an oath or affirmation from the Online Notary Public other than in the capacity of a witness for the online notarial act.
14. “Remote presentation” – transmission to the Online Notary Public through communication technology of an image of a government-issued identification credential that is of sufficient quality to enable the Online Notary Public to: (a) identify the individual seeking the Online Notary Public 's services; and (b) perform credential analysis.

Administrative Rules, Secretary of State
1. Requires the Secretary of State to adopt and promulgate rules that:
  (a) Create standards for online notarial acts in accordance with the Online Notary Public Act;
  (b) Ensure the integrity, security and authenticity of online notarial acts in accordance with the Act; and
(c) Include procedures for the Secretary of State to approve Online Notary Public solution providers.
2. Allows the Secretary of State to adopt and promulgate rules to facilitate utilization of online notarial acts.

Registration, Nebraska Online Notary Public
1. Provides eligibility requirements for a Nebraska Notary Public wishing to register as an Online Notary Public. The Notary Public must:
  (a) Hold a valid commission as a Notary Public in the State of Nebraska.
  (b) Satisfy the education requirement of the Act’s Section 4 of the Act; the course must be taken before submitting the Online Notary Public registration.
  (c) Pay the registration fee required under the Act’s Section 5, in the amount specified by administrative rule of the Secretary of State; the specified fee shall not exceed $50 and is in addition to the statutory fee for commissioning (NRS 33-104).
2. Establishes that a Nebraska Notary Public must first (successfully) register with the Secretary of State before performing an online notarial act, and that registration procedures shall be those prescribed by the Secretary of State. 
3. Sets forth the minimum information to be included in a registration, notably the technology the Notary intends to use to perform an online notarial act (the technology must be provided by a solution provider approved by the Secretary of State); a certification by the Notary that he or she will comply with standards established by rule of the Secretary of State; and the Notary’s email address. 
4. Establishes that the term of an Online Notary Public registration shall coincide with the Notary Public’s commission term.
5. Allows a registered Online Notary Public to renew his or her registration at the same time that the Notary renews his or her Notary Public commission.
6. Requires in addition to a course of instruction that a registrant for Online Notary Public must pass an examination approved by the Secretary of State. Both the course of instruction and the examination shall be approved by the Secretary of State by July 31, 2020.
7. Establishes the required subject matter (content) for the course of instruction and examination, which shall include notarial laws, procedures, technology and the ethics of performing online notarial acts.
8. Establishes that nothing in the Online Notary Public Act requires a Notary Public to register as an Online Notary Public if he or she does not perform online notarial acts.

Online Notary Public Recordkeeping Required
1. Requires an Online Notary Public to keep a secure electronic record of electronic records notarized.  Requires each such electronic record to contain:
  (a) The date and time of the online notarial act;
  (b) The type of online notarial act;
  (c) The type, title, or description of the electronic document or proceeding;
  (d) The printed name and address of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding;
  (e) Evidence of identity of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding in the form of:
    (i) A statement that the principal is personally known to the online notary public;
    (ii) A notation of the type of identification document provided to the online notary public;
    (iii) A record of the identity verification made under Section 11 the Act; or
    (iv) The following: (A) The printed name and address of each credible witness swearing to or affirming the principal's identity; and (B) For each credible witness not personally known to the online notary public, a description of the type of identification documents provided to the online notary public;
  (f) A recording of any video and audio conference of the performance of the online notarial act, which shall not contain images of the documents that were notarized; and
  (g) The fee, if any, charged for the online notarial act.
2. Requires an Online Notary Public to take reasonable steps to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of online notarial acts; maintain a backup for the secure electronic record required by the Act; and protect the secure electronic record and backup record from unauthorized use.
3. Requires that the electronic record and backup record shall be maintained for at least ten years after the date of the transaction or proceeding. Prohibits the Online Notary Public from surrendering or destroying the record except as required by a court order or as allowed under any rules or regulations of the Secretary of State.

Online Notary Public’s Electronic Signature
1. Establishes that an Online Notary Public’s electronic signature, in combination with his or her electronic seal, shall be used only for performing online notarial acts.
2. Requires an Online Notary Public to take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered device used to create an electronic signature is current and has not been revoked or terminated by the device's issuing or registering authority.

Security Requirements
1. Requires an Online Notary Public to keep secure, and under his/her exclusive control, the Online Notary Public's electronic signature; Online Notary seal; and the electronic record and backup record.
2. Prohibits the Online Notary Public from allowing another person to use the Online Notary’s electronic signature, Online Notary seal, or electronic record or backup record.
3. Requires an Online Notary Public to immediately notify an appropriate law enforcement agency and the Secretary of State of the theft or vandalism of the Online Notary’s electronic signature, Online Notary seal, or the electronic record or backup record.  Further requires an Online Notary Public to immediately notify the Secretary of State of the loss or use by another person of the Online Notary Public’s electronic signature, Online Notary seal, or the electronic record or backup record.
4. Specifies circumstances (registration expiration, resignation, cancellation, or revocation; or death of the Online Notary Public) under which the Online Notary or his/her authorized representative must erase, delete or destroy the coding, disk certificate, card, software, file, password or program that enables the electronic affixation of the Online Notary Public’s official electronic signature and Online Notary seal. Requires the Online Notary Public or his/her authorized representative to certify compliance with this requirement to the Secretary of State. Excuses a former Online Notary Public whose previous registration was not revoked, cancelled or denied by the Secretary of State from complying with this requirement if he or she is reregistered as an Online Notary Public using the same electronic signature within three months after the former registration expired.

Performing Online Notarial Acts
1. Establishes that an online notarial act performed under Nebraska’s Online Notary Public Act satisfies any requirement of Nebraska law that that a principal appear before, appear personally before, or be in the physical presence of a Notary Public at the time of the online notarial act except for requirements under:
  (a) A law governing the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts; or
  (b) The Uniform Commercial Code other than article 2 and article 2A.
2. Authorizes an Online Notary Public to perform these notarial acts – acknowledgments, jurats, verifications or proofs, and oaths or affirmations – as online notarial acts, in compliance with the Act and rules of the Secretary of State, regardless whether the principal is physically located in Nebraska at the time of the online notarial act.
3. Requires an Online Notary Public performing an online notarial act to verify the identity of the principal by:
  (a) personal knowledge;
  (b) all of the following: 
    (i) Remote presentation by the individual creating the electronic signature of a government-issued identification credential that is current and that bears the photographic image of the individual's face and signature and a physical description of the individual, except that a properly stamped passport without a physical description is satisfactory evidence;
    (ii) Credential analysis of such credential; and
    (iii) Identity proofing of the individual creating the electronic signature;
or
  (c) Oath or affirmation of a credible witness who is in the physical presence of either the Online Notary Public or the individual and who has personal knowledge of the individual if:
    (i) The credible witness is personally known to the Online Notary Public; or
    (ii) The Online Notary Public has verified the identity of the credible witness by remote presentation, credential analysis and identify proofing as prescribed in the Act.
4. Requires an Online Notary Public to take reasonable steps to ensure that the communication technology used in an online notarial act is secure from unauthorized interception.
5. Requires an Online Notary Public to attach his or her Online Notary electronic signature and Online Notary seal to the notarial certificate of an electronic document notarized online, to do so in a manner that is capable of independent verification, and that renders evident any subsequent change or modification to the electronic document.
6. Requires a notarial certificate for an online notarial act to include a notation that the notarial act is an online notarial act.

Notary Fees
1. In addition to the fees a Notary Public may charge for notarial acts and travel as prescribed in Nebraska law (NRS 33-133), an Online Notary Public or his/her employer may charge a fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars for each online notarial act performed.

Relationship to Other Laws and Conforming Amendments
1. Establishes that Sections 64-101 to 64-119, and 64-211 to 64-215 of Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 64, and the Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act (Sections 64-201 to 64-210), govern an Online Notary Public unless the provisions of such sections and Act conflict with the Online Notary Public Act.  In case of such conflict the Online Notary Public Act controls.
2. Establishes that Nebraska’s Electronic Notary Public Act (NRS 64-301 to 64-317) does not apply to online notarial acts or Online Notaries Public acting under the Online Notary Public Act.
3. Clarifies that NRS 64-105, dealing with a Nebraska Notary Public’s identification of principals, does not apply to online notarial acts under the Online Notary Public Act.
4. Amends Nebraska’s Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act to establish that appearance before the person taking an acknowledgment includes an appearance outside the presence of a Notary Public if such acknowledgment was completed in accordance with the Online Notary Public Act.

Other Provisions
1. Provides for issuance of electronic certificates of authority by the Secretary of State, to evidence the authenticity of the electronic signature and Online Notary seal of a Nebraska Online Notary Public on documents transmitted to another state or nation. Provides that such certificates of authority shall contain substantially the wording provided in the Act.  Authorizes the Secretary of charge a fee of twenty-five dollars for issuing an electronic certificate of authority.
2. Establishes that a person who without authorization knowingly obtains, conceals, damages, or destroys the coding, disk, certificate, card, software, file, password, program or hardware enabling an Online Notary Public to affix an official electronic signature or Online Notary seal is guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.
3. Requires the register of deeds or county clerk of each county to provide one or more electronic recording services for the purpose of accepting electronically submitted real estate documents for recording.
 
NEW YORK – SB 888
Signed March 12, 2021
Effective: “This act takes effect on the same date and in the same manner as a chapter of the laws of 2020 amending the general obligations law relating to reforming the statutory short form and other powers of attorney for purposes of financial and estate planning, as proposed in legislative bills numbers S.3923-a and A.5630-a, takes effect.” [Bill excerpt]
View this bill


Allows New York Notaries Public to serve as both Notary and a subscribing (signing) witness with regard to the statutory short form and other powers of attorney, for purposes of financial and estate planning, that are executed as prescribed in Section 3-2.1 of New York's Estate, Powers and Trusts law. Provides that such witnesses cannot be named in the instrument as agents or as permissible recipients of gifts.
 
OREGON—HB 4212
Signed June 30, 2020
Effective June 30, 2020 (provisions in italics font to be repealed on June 20, 2021)
View this bill (see Section 19, Notarial Acts)

Creates temporary statutory provisions allowing Oregon Notaries to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals using communication technology.

Defines key terms: “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” “remotely located individual.”

Establishes that, by appearing by means of communication technology, a remotely located individual may satisfy Oregon’s statutory requirement to personally appear before a Notary for performance of a notarial act.

Specifies requirements for an Oregon Notary public to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual using communication technology:
  • The Oregon Notary Public must be located in Oregon at the time of the notarial act.
  • The Notary Public must have personal knowledge (pursuant to relevant Oregon law) of the identity of the individual; have satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by a verification on oath or affirmation from a (physically or remotely present) credible witness appearing before, and identified by, the Notary Public; or must obtain satisfactory evidence of identity by using at least two different types of identity proofing.
  • The Notary Public must be able to reasonably confirm that a record before the Notary Public is the same record in which the remotely located individual made the statement; or on which the remotely located individual executed a signature.
  • The Notary Public, or a person acting on behalf of the notary public, must create an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act.

Specifies that if the remotely located individual is located outside the United States (all of the following apply):
  • The record must be destined 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 the record involves property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or involves a transaction substantially connected with the United States; and
  • The act of making the statement or signing the record must is not prohibited by the foreign state where the remotely located individual is located.

Provides that for notarial acts performed for a remotely located individual, the notarial certificate must indicate that the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology.

Establishes that a short-form notarial certificate provided in Oregon’s RULONA is sufficient for performance of a notarial act by means of communication technology, if either (1) the short form certificate is in the form provided in Section 194.285 of Oregon’s RULONA and contains a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology”; or (2) the certificate complies with rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

Requires a Notary Public; a guardian, a conservator, trustee or agent of a Notary Public; or a personal representative of a deceased Notary Public; to retain the required audio-visual recording of a notarial act performed using communication technology, or cause the recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the recording. Establishes that unless a different period is required by rule of the Department of State, the recording must be maintained for a period of at least 10 years after the recording is made.

Requires that, prior to performing his or her/their initial notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual, a Notary Public must notify the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing such acts and must identify the technology the Notary will use. Technology selected by the Notary must conform to any standards established by the Secretary of State.

Expands the Secretary of State’s rulemaking authority by allowing adoption of rules that may:
  • Prescribe the means of performing a notarial act involving a remotely located individual using communication technology;
  • Establish standards for communication technology and identity proofing;
  • Establish requirements or procedures to approve providers of communication technology and the process of identity proofing; and
  • Establish standards and a period for the retention of the required audiovisual recording of each notarial act performed for a remotely located individual using communication technology.

Requires the Secretary of State—before adopting, amending or repealing a rule governing performance of a notarial act regarding a remotely located individual—to consider:
  • The most recent standards regarding the performance of a notarial act with respect to a remotely located individual promulgated by national standard-setting organizations and the recommendations of the National Association of Secretaries of State;
  • Standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions that have laws substantially similar to this section; and
  • The views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.

Authorizes a Notary Public to charge a fee not to exceed $25 per notarial act performed by means of communication technology for a remotely located individual.

Establishes that a notarial officer (not only a Notary Public) may certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record. Provides that a county clerk 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 executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy if an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Provides that a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate, that is accepted for recording by a county clerk before the effective date of HB 4212, satisfies any requirement that the record be an original if the notarial officer executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Clarifies that the official stamp of a Notary Public is an official notarial seal for all purposes under the laws of Oregon.
 

PENNSYLVANIA – HB 2370
Signed October 29, 2020
Effective October 29, 2020
View the enacting bill


Amends Section 304 of Title 57, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, authorizing Pennsylvania Notaries immediately upon bill enactment to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals using communication technology, and subject to all requirements of Pennsylvania law and rules, if any, promulgated by the Department of State.

Defines key terms: “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “outside the United States,” “remotely located individual.”

Establishes that a notarial officer (not only a Notary Public) may certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is a true and correct copy of the electronic record.

Establishes that, by appearing by means of communication technology, a remotely located individual may satisfy Pennsylvania’s statutory requirement to personally appear before a Notary for performance of a notarial act.

Specifies requirements for use of communication technology by a Pennsylvania Notary Public located in the Commonwealth at the time of the notarial act.
• The Notary Public must have personal knowledge (pursuant to relevant Pennsylvania law) of the identity of the individual; have satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the notary public in accordance with Pennsylvania law; or be able to reasonably identify the individual by at least two different types of identity proofing processes or services.
• The Notary Public must be able to reasonably identify a record before the notary public as the same record in which the remotely located individual made the statement; or on which the remotely located individual executed the signature.
• The Notary Public, or a person acting on behalf of the notary public, must create an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act, including all interactions between the notary public and the remotely located individual.

Specifies that if the remotely located individual is located outside the United States, all of the following apply:
• The record must be destined to be filed with or relates to a matter before a court, governmental entity, public official or other entity under the jurisdiction of the United States; or the record 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 must not be prohibited by the foreign state where the remotely located individual is located.

Provides that for notarial acts performed for a remotely located individual, the notarial certificate must indicate that the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology.

Establishes that a short-form notarial certificate provided in Pennsylvania’s RULONA is sufficient for performance of a notarial act by means of communication technology, if either (1) the short form certificate is in the form provided by Section 316 of Pennsylvania’s RULONA and contains a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology”; or (2) the certificate complies with regulations promulgated by the Department of State.

Requires a Notary Public; a guardian, a conservator or an agent of a Notary Public; or a personal representative of a deceased Notary Public to retain the required audio-visual recording of a notarial act performed using communication technology, or cause the recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the Notary Public, for at least 10 years after the recording is created or as otherwise required by the regulations promulgated by the Department of State.

Requires that, prior to performing his or her/their initial notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual, a Notary Public must notify the Pennsylvania Department of State that the Notary will be performing such acts and must identify the technology the Notary will use. Technology selected by the Notary must conform to any standards established by the Department of State.

Requires the Department of State to promulgate regulations regarding performance of notarial acts for remotely located individuals. Specifies that the regulations shall do all of the following:
• Prescribe the means of performing a notarial act involving communication technology to communicate with a remotely located individual;
• Establish standards for communication technology and identity proofing, including the use of credential analysis, dynamic knowledge-based authentication, biometrics and other means of identification;
• Establish requirements or procedures to approve providers of communication technology and the process of identity proofing;
• Establish standards and periods for retention of the required audio-visual recording of every notarial act performed for a remotely located individual.
• To promote uniformity, requires the Department to consider—before promulgating, amending or repealing regulations about performance of a notarial act with respect to a remotely located individual—and if consistent with Pennsylvania’s RULONA, all of the following:
• The most recent standards regarding the performance of a notarial act with respect to remotely located individuals promulgated by a national standard-setting organization, including the National Association of Secretaries of State.
• Standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions that enact a statutory provision substantially similar to this section.
• The views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.

Allows a recorder of deeds to accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that the record be an original, if the notarial officer executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Provides that upon the effective date of HB 2370 the Department of State shall immediately authorize a Notary Public to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals as prescribed by Pennsylvania law (57 Pa.C.S. §306.1), if the Notary gives the statutorily required notice to the Department and uses a communication and identity proofing designated in the Department of State's March 25, 2020, notice of limited suspension of the requirements of 57 Pa.C.S. § 306, or that is designated in a list of additional acceptable technologies subsequently adopted by the Department of State.

Clarifies that a Notary Public may use any other technology within 30 days of giving notice of intent to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals, unless use of the technology is for good cause prohibited by the Department of State.

Establishes that these provisions (enumerated in Section 4 of HB 2370) shall expire upon the required adoption of regulations by the Department.

 
SOUTH DAKOTA – SB 193
Signed March 18, 2021
Effective July 1, 2021
View this bill

Amends South Dakota Notary law pertaining to remote notarizations*:

• Replaces prior law's definition of “communication technology” with a new definition for "video communication technology” (an electronic device or process that allows a notarial officer physically located in this state and a remotely located person not in the physical presence of the notarial officer to communicate in real-time with each other simultaneously by sight and sound and that, as necessary, makes reasonable accommodation for individuals with vision, hearing, or speech impairments).

• Defines “personal knowledge” (a notarial officer has personal knowledge of the identity of an individual appearing before the officer if either: (a) The individual is personally known to the officer through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed. The notarial officer must have known and had regular interactions with the individual for an extended period of time. A mere acquaintance does not amount to personal knowledge for purposes of this definition; or (b) the notarial officer represents the individual as their attorney, real estate agent, auctioneer, or public accountant, or any combination thereof.)

• Clarifies the provisions and requirements of law allowing a notarial officer of South Dakota, while located in South Dakota, to perform a notarial act executed on a tangible document by a person not in the physical presence of the notarial officer but observed by the notarial officer through means of video communication technology.

• Establishes the form of a certificate of acknowledgment for notarizations performed using video communication technology, and requires such certificates to be in substantially that form.

_______________
*NOTE: South Dakota authorizes remote notarizations with regard to tangible documents, only.
 
UTAH—HB 276
Signed March 16, 2021
Effective May 5, 2021
View this bill

Revises commission eligibility requirements by allowing non-residents employed in the state for at least 30 days immediately preceding application to apply for a Notary commission. Clarifies that ceasing to be employed in Utah compels a non-resident Notary to resign his or her/their commission. Makes conforming amendments.
 
VERMONT - HB 526
Most provisions effective 7-1-19; see effective date comments at end of bill summary
View this bill

Enacts Vermont’s Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (“the Act”; term used throughout this summary) by adding Chapter 103 to Title 26 of Vermont Statutes Annotated. Amends provisions of Vermont’s Property Code (Title 27), and repeals provisions in other Code Titles.

1. Creates the following definitions:
• “Acknowledgment” ― a declaration by an individual before a Notary Public that the individual has signed a record for the purpose stated in the record and, if the record is signed in a representative capacity, that the individual signed the record with proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or entity identified in the record.
• “Certificate” or “notarial certificate” ― the part of, or attachment to, a notarized document that is completed by a Notary Public, bears the required information set forth in Section 5367 of the Act, and states the facts attested to or certified by the Notary Public in a particular notarization.
• “Commission term” ― the two-year period commencing on February 1 and continuing through January 31 of the second year following the commencement of the term.
• “Electronic” ― relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.
• “Electronic signature” ― an electronic symbol, sound, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by an individual with the intent to sign the record.
• “In a representative capacity” ― acting as:
a. an authorized officer, agent, partner, trustee, or other representative for a person other than an individual;
b. a public officer, personal representative, guardian, administrator, executor, trustee, or other representative, in the capacity stated in a record;
c. an agent or attorney-in-fact for a principal; or
d. an authorized representative of another in any other capacity.
• “Notarial act” ― an act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or an electronic record, that a Notary Public may perform under the law of this State. The term includes taking an acknowledgment, administering an oath or affirmation, taking a verification on oath or affirmation, attesting a signature, and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument. “Notarial act” does not include a corporate officer attesting to another corporate officer’s signature in the ordinary course of the corporation’s business. (Nothing in the Act shall be construed to require the use of a Notary Public to witness a signature that is allowed by law to be witnessed by an individual who is not a Notary Public.)
• “Notarial officer” ― a Notary Public or other individual authorized to perform a notarial act.
• “Notary Public” ― an individual commissioned to perform a notarial act by the Office.
• “Office” ― the Office of Professional Regulation within the Office of the Secretary of State.
• “Official stamp” ― a physical image affixed to or embossed on a tangible record or an electronic process, seal, or image or electronic information attached to or logically associated with an electronic record.
• “Person” ― an individual, corporation, business trust, statutory trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.
• “Record” ― information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
• “Sign” ― means with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record:
a. to execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or
b. to attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.
• “Signature” ― a tangible symbol or an electronic signature that evidences the signing of a record.
• “Stamping device” ― a physical device capable of affixing to or embossing on a tangible record an official stamp; or an electronic device or process capable of attaching to or logically associating with an electronic record an official stamp.
• “State” ― a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
• “Verification on oath or affirmation” ― a declaration, made by an individual on oath or affirmation before a Notary Public, that a statement in a record is true.

2. Establishes provisions dealing with commissioning and related requirements.
• Provides qualifications for obtaining a Notary Public commission: 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 Vermont; not be disqualified to receive a commission under Section 5342 of the Act; pass a Secretary of State-approved basic examination based on the statutes, rules and ethics of Vermont notarial law.
• Requires applicants to comply with, and provide information required by, rules adopted by the Office (Professional Regulation within the Office of the Secretary of State), and pay the application fee.
• Requires an applicant to execute an oath of office and submit it to the Office before a Notary Public commission may be issued.
• Provides that the Office shall issue a Notary Public commission to applicants who have complied with commissioning requirements. Clarifies that the commission authorizes the Notary Public to perform notarial acts, and does not provide the Notary Public with any immunity or benefit conferred by Vermont law on public officials or employees.
• Sets a commission issuance fee of $15.
• Provides grounds for the Office to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a Notary Public’s commission. Also provides for the applicant’s or Notary Public’s entitlement to timely notice and hearing in accordance with Vermont law.
• Requires the Office to biennially provide a commission renewal notice to each Notary Public.
• Requires a Notary Public seeking commission renewal to complete, during the preceding two-year period, continuing education approved by the Office. Requires the Office, with the advice of advisor appointees, to establish by rule the guidelines and criteria for continuing education credit.

3. Provides requirements for an official stamp and the stamping device.
• Requires, for notarial acts regarding a tangible record, that a Notary Public use an official stamp affixed to or embossed on the notarial certificate; or alternately, the Notary Public shall clearly print or type his or her name and commission number on the certificate.
• For notarial acts regarding an electronic record, provides a Notary Public the option of using an official stamp attached to or logically associated with the certificate IF the certificate is signed and dated by the Notary Public; identifies the jurisdiction where the notarial act was performed; and contains the Notary Public’s title of office.
• Requires a Notary Public’s official stamp to include the Notary Public’s name, jurisdiction and other information required by the Office; and be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed to attached, or with which it is logically associated.
• Establishes a Notary Public’s responsibility for the security of his or her stamping device, and prohibits the Notary Public from allowing another individual to use the device to perform a notarial act.
• Requires a Notary Public or his/her personal representative or guardian to promptly notify the Office upon discovering that the Notary Public’s stamping device or lost or stolen.

4. Authorizes a Notary Public to perform notarial acts in Vermont, establishes authorized notarial acts regarding tangible and electronic records, and sets forth requirements and procedures for performing them.
• Authorizes a commissioned Notary Public of Vermont to perform, in Vermont, a notarial act authorized by the Act or other law of Vermont.
• Authorizes a Notary Public to perform notarial acts on tangible and electronic records.
• Establishes that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in Vermont are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title.
• Provides the requirements for performance of the following notarial acts: taking an acknowledgment; taking a verification of a statement on oath or affirmation; attesting a signature; making or noting a protest.
• 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 Notary Public.
• Provides that personal appearance is satisfied if the Notary Public and the person executing the signature are in the same physical place; or the Notary Public and the person are communicating through a secure communication link using protocols and standards prescribed in rules adopted by the Secretary of State pursuant to the rulemaking authority granted by the Act.
• Establishes that a Notary Public has personal knowledge of the identity of an individual appearing before the Notary if the individual is personally known to the Notary through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed.
• Establishes that a Notary Public has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual appearing before the Notary if the Notary can identify the individual (1) by means of a passport, driver’s license, or government issued non-driver identification card which is current or expired not more than three years before performance of the notarial act; or another form of government identification issued to an individual, which is current or expired not more than three years before performance of the notarial act, contains the signature or a photograph of the individual, and is satisfactory to the officer; or (2) by a verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the officer and known to the officer or whom the officer can identify on the basis of a passport, driver’s license, or government issued non-driver identification card, which is current or expired not more than three years before performance of the notarial act.
• Allows a Notary Public to require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the Notary of the individual’s identity.
• Authorizes an individual who is physically unable to sign a record to direct an individual other than the Notary Public to sign the individual’s name on the record, and requires the Notary Public to insert “Signature affixed by (name of other individual) at the direction of (name of individual)” or words of similar import.
• Requires a notarial act to be evidenced by a certificate, which must: (a) be executed contemporaneously with performance of the notarial act; (b) be signed and dated by the Notary Public who must sign in the same manner as on file with the Office; (c) identify the jurisdiction [venue] in which the notarial act is performed; (d) contain the title of office of the Notary Public; and (e) indicate the date of expiration of the Notary’s commission.
• Establishes that a notarial certificate is sufficient if it meets the requirements of the Act’s Section 5367, subsections (a) and (b) and: it is in a short form provided in Section 5368 of the Act; it is in a form otherwise permitted by Vermont law; it is in a form permitted by law applicable to the jurisdiction in which the notarial act was performed; or it sets forth the actions of the Notary Public and the actions are sufficient to meet the requirements of the notarial act as provided in Sections 5362-5364 of the Act, or other Vermont law.
• Prohibits a Notary Public from affixing to the certificate, or logically associating with the certificate, his or her signature until the notarial act has been performed.
• Requires, for notarial acts regarding a tangible record, that a Notary Public use an official stamp affixed to or embossed on the notarial certificate; or alternately, the Notary Public shall clearly print or type his or her name and commission number on the certificate.
• For notarial acts regarding an electronic record, provides a Notary Public the option of using an official stamp attached to or logically associated with the certificate IF the certificate is signed and dated by the Notary Public; identifies the jurisdiction where the notarial act was performed; and contains the Notary Public’s title of office.
• Requires a notarial certificate to be part of, or securely attached to, a tangible record. Requires a certificate to be affixed to, or logically associated with, an electronic record. Requires a Notary Public to conform to any standards established by the Office for attaching, affixing or logically associating the certificate with the record.
• Provides that by executing a notarial certificate, a Notary Public certifies that the Notary has complied with the requirements and made the determinations specified in the Act’s Section 5363-5365.
• Authorizes a Notary Public to refuse to perform a notarial act if he or she is not satisfied that: (a) the individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to execute the record; or (b) the individual’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made. Allows a Notary Public to refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by law other than the Act.

5. Authorizes the Office to adopt rules which may prescribe the manner of performing notarial acts regarding tangible and electronic records (electronic notarization and remote online notarization).
• Establishes that neither electronic notarization nor remote online notarization shall be allowed in Vermont until the Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards.
• Prohibits adopted rules regarding electronic notarization and remote online notarization from being technology-specific.
• Requires the Office, in adopting, amending or repealing such rules consistent with the Act, to consider the most recent standards promulgated by national bodies such as the National Association of Secretaries of State; standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions with substantially similar enactments; and the views of government officials and entities and other interested persons.

6. Specifies prohibited acts by a person and Notary Public, and sanctions.
• Prohibits a Notary Public from performing a notarial act regarding a record to which the Notary Public or the Notary Public’s spouse is a party, or in which either the Notary or spouse has a direct beneficial interest. Provides that a notarial act performed in violation of this prohibition is voidable.
• Prohibits a person from:
a. Performing or attempting to perform a notarial act, or holding him- or herself out as being able to do so in Vermont, without first being commissioned.
b. Using in connection with the person’s name any letters, words, or insignia indicating or implying that the person is a Notary Public unless commissioned in accordance with this chapter.
c. Performing or attempting to perform a notarial act while his or her commission has been revoked or suspended
d. Withholding access to or possession of an original record provided by a person seeking performance of a notarial act, except as otherwise allowed by law.
• Subjects persons who violate the prohibitions set forth in the Act’s Sec. 5345 to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
• Provides that prosecution may occur upon complaint of the Attorney General or a State’s Attorney and shall not act as a bar to civil or administrative proceedings involving the same conduct.
• Establishes that a Notary Public commission shall not authorize an individual to assist a person in drafting legal records, give legal advice, or otherwise practice law.

7. Addresses the validity of a notarial act.
• Establishes that, except as provided in the Act’s Section 5372(b), a Notary Public’s failure to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in the Act shall not impair the marketability of title or invalidate a notarial act or a certification evidencing the notarial act.
• Provides that an acknowledgment containing an inaccurate or expired Notary Public commission expiration date shall not be invalidated if it can be established that on the date the acknowledgment was taken, the Notary Public’s commission was active. Further provides that the validity of a notarial act performed under the Act shall not prevent an aggrieved person from pursuing invalidation of the record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act, or from seeking remedies based on either Vermont law other than the Act, or law of the United States.
• Allows a Notary Public whose original notarial act is defective to cure the act (“execute a writing correcting any defect”), under oath and before a different Notary Public. Upon its recording, the corrective document will correct any deficiency and ratify the original written evidence of acknowledgment as of the date the acknowledgment was originally taken.
• Provides for the recordability of a document conveying an interest in real property and, despite any provision of law to the contrary, establishes that such documents if recorded are sufficient for record notice to third parties, notwithstanding a Notary Public’s failure to perform any duty or meet any requirement specified in the Act.
• Clarifies that the Act’s provisions addressing the validity of a notarial act do not validate a purported notarial act performed by an individual who has no authority to perform notarial acts.

8. Authorizes electronic notarization in Vermont and requires a Notary Public to notify the Office of the intent to electronically notarize, but also establishes that neither electronic notarization nor remote online notarization shall be allowed in Vermont until the Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards. (Also see Item 5 above regarding rules adopted by the Office.)
• Allows a Notary Public (note this permission does not apply to notarial officers) to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records. A chosen technology must be approved by the Office pursuant to rules established by the Office.
• Prohibits a person from requiring a Notary Public to perform an electronic notarial act with a technology the Notary Public has not selected.
• Requires a Notary Public, before performing his or her initial notarial act on an electronic record (electronically notarize), to notify the Office that the Notary will be performing electronic notarizations. The Notary Public must also identify the technology he or she intends to use (from the Office’s list of approved technologies).
• Provides that if the Office has established, by rule, standards for approval of technology, the technology shall conform to the standards. If the technology conforms to the standards, the Office shall approve the use of the technology.

9. Establishes mandatory duties of the Secretary of State’s Office (“the Office”) and provides for other authorized activities
• Requires the Office to provide general information to Notary Public commission applicants; administer commission issuance fees; explain appeal procedures to Notaries Public and applicants; explain complaint procedures to the public; and receive applications for commissioning, review applications, and grant and renew commissions when appropriate under the Act.
• Requires the Secretary of State to appoint two Notaries Public to serve as advisors in matters relating to notarial acts. Stipulates that one advisor shall be a licensed attorney selected from a list of at least three provided by the Vermont Bar Association. Advisors serve at the pleasure of the Secretary.
• Provides that advisors shall be appointed for staggered five-year terms, and that one of the initial appointments shall be for less than a five-year term.
• Requires each advisor-appointee to have at least three year of experience as a Notary Public during the period immediately preceding appointment by the Secretary, and to be actively commissioned in Vermont and remain in good standing during incumbency.
• Requires the Office to seek the advice of advisor appointees in carrying out the provisions of the Act.
• Authorizes the Office, with the advice of advisor appointees, to adopt rules to implement the Act. Provides the scope of such rules, which includes (but is not limited to) the manner of performing notarial acts regarding tangible and electronic records; provisions to prevent fraud or mistake in the performance of notarial acts; and technology-neutral standards for remote online notarization.
• Requires the Office to maintain an electronic database of Notaries Public that a person may use to verify the authority of a Notary Public, and that indicates whether a Notary Public has notified the Office that he or she will be performing electronic notarizations.

10. Establishes those persons (individuals) who, when “acting within the scope of their official duties” (defined), are exempt from all the requirements of the Act except as follows:
• applying for a commission as set forth in Section 5341(a), (b)(1)-(3), (c), (d) and (e); and
• paying the commission issuance fee prescribed in Section 5324, unless specifically exempted from doing so by Section 5305, subsection (c).

11. Additional provisions:
• Addresses evidence of authenticity of notarial acts performed in Vermont (apostilles, certificates of authority).
• Provides extensive language affirming cross-jurisdictional recognition of notarial acts.
• Establishes the applicability of HB 526 to notarial acts performed on or after the Act’s effective date; and to Notaries Public performing notarial acts on and after the Act’s effective date. Provides that a Notary Public commission in effect on the Act’s effective shall continue until its expiration date. Requires a Notary Public who applies for a renewal commission on or after HB 526’s effective date to comply with the provisions of the Act.
• Affirms the validity or effect of a notarial act performed prior to the Act’s effective date.
• Repeals the following sections of Vermont statutes (Vermont Statutes Annotated): 24 V.S.A. Chapter 5, Subchapter 9 (Notaries Public); 27 V.S.A. Section 379 (conveyance of real estate; execution and acknowledgment; acknowledgment out of state); 32 V.S.A. §1403(b) (county clerk; Notaries Public without charge or fee); 32 V.S.A. §1436 (fee for certification of appointment as Notary Public); and 32 V.S.A. §1759 (Notaries Public fees).

12. Provides effective dates.
• The Act is effective on July 1, 2019, except that:
a. The bill section detailing effective dates took effect upon passage of HB 526;
b. The Office of Professional Regulation was authorized to adopt rules in advance of assuming the Notary application processing and commissioning duties from Vermont’s assistant judges and county clerks;
c. The examination requirement for new Notary Public applicants and the continuing education requirement for renewing Notary Public applicants (Sections 5341(b)(5) and 5343(b) of the Act) are effective February 1, 2021 and apply to applicants for the Notary Public commission terms that begin on that date.

 
VIRGINIA—HB 2064
Signed March 11, 2021
Effective March 11, 2021
View this bill

Provides that if a clerk has an eRecording System as defined in Va. Code Ann. §55.1-661, the clerk shall follow the provisions of the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. Further provides that if a clerk does not have an eRecording System, the clerk shall record a legible paper copy of an electronic document, provided that such copy otherwise meets the requirements for recordation and is certified to be a true and accurate (paper) copy of the electronic original by the party who submits the document for recordation.

Provides a form of affidavit for certifying that a legible paper copy of an electronic document being submitted for recording is true and correct.

Requires an electronic notarial certificate to: include the county or city in the Commonwealth where the Notary Public was physically located for performance of the notarial act; and indicate whether the notarization was done in person or by remote online notarization, newly defined as an electronic notarization where the signer is not in the physical presence of the notary.

Clarifies that an electronic Notary shall attach an electronic signature and electronic seal to an electronic notarial certificate of an electronically notarized document. Requires both the electronic signature and electronic seal of an electronic Notary to be attached to an electronic notarial certificate in a manner that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent changes or modifications to the electronic document evident. Requires that an electronic Notary's electronic signature and electronic seal conform to Virginia's standards for electronic notarization developed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth under Va. Code Ann. §47.1-6.1.

Provides new definitions: "credential analysis," "identity proofing," and "remote online notarization." (The new remote online notarization definition clarifies that remote online notarization means an electronic notarization where the signer is not in the physical presence of the Notary.)

Establishes that in the case of an electronic notarization, the forms of satisfactory evidence of identification are expanded [see underlined text] to include an oath or affirmation of a credible witness; or at least two of (1) credential analysis of an unexpired government-issued identification bearing a photograph of the principal's face and signature; (2) identity proofing by an antecedent in-person identity proofing process in accordance with the specifications of the Federal Bridge Certification Authority; (3) another identity proofing method authorized in guidance documents, regulations, or standards adopted pursuant to Va. Section 2.2-436 or (4) a valid digital certificate accessed by biometric data or by use of an interoperable Personal Identity Verification card that is designed, issued, and managed in accordance with the specifications published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201-1, "Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors," and supplements thereto or revisions thereof, including the specifications published by the Federal Chief Information Officers Council in "Personal Identity Verification Interoperability for Non-Federal Issuers."

Establishes that the clerk of the circuit court of any jurisdiction shall be immune from suit arising from any acts or omissions relating to recordation of paper copies of electronically notarized documents, unless the clerk was grossly negligent or engaged in willful misconduct.

Makes conforming amendments.
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VIRGINA – HB 1222
Signed April 9, 2020
Effective July 1, 2020
View the enacting bill

Amends Virginia’s statutory definition of satisfactory evidence of an individual appearing before a notary for performance of a notarial act. Provides that when the individual is one who resides in an assisted living facility as defined in Virginia law; or in a nursing home licensed by the State Department of Health pursuant to Virginia law; the Notary may accept as satisfactory evidence of identification:
  • an expired United States Passport Book;
  • an expired United States Passport Card;
  • an expired foreign passport; or
  • an expired state issued driver’s license or state issued identification card.

To be acceptable as satisfactory evidence of identity, the expiration of these documents must have occurred within five years of the date the individual presents the document to the Notary for identification purposes.

 

WASHINGTON – SB 5641
Signed April 26, 2019
Effective October 1, 2020
View this bill

Enacted remote online notarization in the Evergreen State. Authorized Washington State electronic records Notaries Public to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals.

Defined the following key terms: “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” “remotely located individual.”

Established that a remotely located individual satisfies Washington’s statutory requirement of personal appearance before a notarial officer by using communication technology to appear before an Electronic Records Notary Public.

Authorized an Electronic Records Notary Public located in Washington to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual subject to specified conditions and requirements:

• The Electronic Records Notary Public must have personal knowledge under RCW 42.45.050(1) of the remotely located individual’s identity; or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by a verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness appearing before and identified by the Electronic Records Notary Public under RCW 42.45.050(2); or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by use of at least two different types of identity proofing;
• The Electronic Records Notary Public must be reasonably able to confirm that a record before the Notary is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature;
• The Electronic Records Notary Public, or a person acting on behalf of the Notary, creates an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act; and
• If the remotely located individual is located outside the United States, the record must be destined to be filed with, or relate to, a matter before a public official or court, governmental entity, or other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; or
• the record involves property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or involves 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.

Required the notarial certificate for a notarial act performed for a remotely located individual to indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology. Established that a short-form certificate provided in RCW 41.45.140 is sufficient for a notarial act performed under RCW 42.45.280 if it complies with applicable rules adopted by the Director of Licensing, or is in the form provided by RCW 42.45.140 and contains a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

Required that, prior to performing his or her/their initial notarial act involving a remotely located individual, the Electronic Records Notary Public must notify the Director of Licensing that the Notary will be performing notarial acts and identify the technologies the Electronic Records Notary Public intends to use. Any communication technology and identify proofing technology used by an Electronic Records Notary Public must conform to standards, if any, established by the Director for approval of such technology.

Specified the scope of the Director’s rulemaking authority to establish standards for performance of notarial acts for a remotely located individual by means of communication technology. Requires the Director to consider, before adopting, amending or repealing a rule governing performance of a notarial act with respect to a remotely located individual: (1) the most recent standards adopted by national standard-setting organizations and the recommendations of the National Association of Secretaries of State; (2) standards, practices and customs of other jurisdictions that have laws substantially similar to Washington’s; and (3) the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.

Established that a notarial officer may certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record. Established that a person is guilty of false certification if, being a notarial officer making a certification authorized by RCW 42.45.020(3), he or she [they] knowingly certifies falsely that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Authorizes a recording officer defined in RCW 65.08.060(4) 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 under RCW 42.45.020(3).

Clarified that a tangible copy of an electronic record purporting to convey or encumber real estate or any interest therein, which has been recorded in the auditor’s office of the county in which the real estate is situated even though it may not have been certified as an accurate copy by a notarial officer, imparts the same notice to third persons from the date of recording as if the tangible copy had been so certified.

Required that if a notarial act is performed for a remotely located individual under Washington law, the certificate of notarial act must indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology.

Made various conforming amendments to existing law.
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WASHINGTON – Emergency Rules WSR 20-23-080
Filed November 17, 2020; Published December 2, 2020
Effective November 17, 2020
View these rules

NOTE: These Rules represent the latest version of administrative rules filed, withdrawn and updated throughout 2020. Provisions noted below will be designated as amendatory or new. Amendatory language is underlined for emphasis.

Establishes that words and terms in these rules have the same meaning as in the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Act and provides the current statutory cite, RCW 42.45.010. (Amendatory)

Amends the rule definition of “appear personally” to provide that for remote notarial acts, it means being in a different physical location from another individual but able to see, hear, and communication with that individual by means of communication technology. (Amendatory)

Clarifies that “commission” is equivalent to the term “licensee” as defined in RCW 18.235.010(6). (Amendatory)

Clarifies that “electronic notarial certificate” means the part of, or attachment to, and electronic record that is completed by the Notary Public, contains the information required under RCW 42.45.130. (Amendatory)

Defines “remote notarial act” to mean a notarization that is performed using audio-video technology that meets the requirements in WAC 308-30-310 that allows for direct interaction between the Notary and the individuals that are remotely located. (Amendatory)

Establishes that to apply for a Remote Notary Endorsement, an Electronic Records Notary Public shall submit a Remote Notary Endorsement application on forms provided by the department. Provides that an applicant may only apply for a Remote Notary Endorsement if:
  • They currently hold an active Notary Public commission with an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement;
  • They currently hold an active Notary Public commission and are applying for an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement and a Remote Notary Endorsement simultaneously; or
  • They are applying for a Notary Public commission, an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement and a Remote Notarial Acts Endorsement simultaneously.
(Amendatory)

Clarifies that a Notary Public may elect not to apply for an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement or a Remote Notary Endorsement. (Amendatory)

Clarifies that upon an applicant’s fulfillment of the requirements for a Notary Public commission and/or an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement, and/or a Remote Notary Endorsement, the Department shall approve the application and issue the Notary Public commission and/or any appropriate endorsements. (Amendatory)

Clarifies that an applicant may not perform any notarial acts on a tangible or electronic record before receiving a Notary Public commission and the appropriate endorsement from the Department. (Amendatory)

Clarifies that unless terminated pursuant to WAC 308-30-270, an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement and the Remote Notary Endorsement are valid from the date the endorsement is issued by the Department, and continues as long as the Notary Public’s current commission remains valid. (Amendatory)

Provides that the provisions of Rule WAC 308-30-150 regarding completion of a electronic notarial certificate apply to electronic notarial acts and remote notarial acts. Provides that such notarial certificates shall comply with the requirements of RCW 42.45.130 and 42.45.140. (Amendatory)

Clarifies that a tangible journal must have the capacity to record, for each notarial act, the information required by RCW 42.45.180(4). Further provides that a tangible journal entry must also allow for recording of the principal’s signature, or the signature of an authorized party signing pursuant to RCW 42.45.070; or for a notation in the journal entry that the notarial act was performed via remote notarization. (Amendatory)

Establishes that a Notary performing remote notarization must maintain a tangible Notary journal as required in RCW 42.45.180 and WAC 308-30-190, this section, and WAC 308-30-210. Clarifies that Notaries performing remote notarization are not required to collect and maintain the signatures of the signers when those notarizations were performed remotely. Requires Notaries to note in their tangible Notary log that a notarization was performed remotely. (Amendatory)

Establishes that notwithstanding the maximum fees set forth in WAC 308-30-220(1), and the administrative rule prohibition against a Notary charging a fee for receiving or noting a protest of a negotiable instrument, a Notary Public may charge a maximum fee of $25 to perform a remote notarial act. (Amendatory)

Amends WAC 308-30-270 to provide various statutory cites. Clarifies that the manner described in this rule for a Notary Public to terminate his or her/their Electronic Records Endorsement also applies to terminating a Remote Notary Endorsement, and that a Notary Public may terminate an Electronic Records Endorsement or a Remote Notary Endorsement and maintain the underlying Notary Public commission. (Amendatory)

NEW: Creates WAC 308-30-290, Authorized Remote Notarial Acts. Establishes that a Notary Public who has received both an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement and a Remote Notarial Acts Endorsement from the Department may perform the following remote notarial acts: taking an acknowledgment; taking a verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature; certifying or attesting a copy; certifying that an event has occurred or an act has been performed; and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument ONLY subject to conditions specified in the rule. Requires that in performing remote notarial acts, a Notary Public shall comply with all requirements for electronic notarial acts under this chapter.

NEW: Creates WAC 308-30-300, Standards for Identity Proofing. Requires a Notary Public performing a remote notarial act, who does not have satisfactory evidence of identity of the remotely located individual pursuant to subsection (4) of this rule section, to reasonably verify the individual’s identity through two different types of identity proofing consisting of a credential analysis procedure and a dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this rule section. Provides requirements for credential analysis. Provides requirements for dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment.

Establishes that a Notary Public has satisfactory evidence of the identity of a remotely located individual if the Notary has personal knowledge of the individual’s identity; or the individual is identified by oath or affirmation of a credible witness. Provides requirements for a credible witness, who must have personal knowledge of the remotely located individual; and be personally known by the Notary or identified by the Notary using two different types of identity proofing in accordance with sections (1), (2) and (3) of this rule section. Clarifies that a credible witness may be outside the physical presence of the Notary Public or remotely located individual if the Notary Public, credible witness and remotely located individual can communication using communication technology.

NEW: Creates WAC 308-30-310; Standards for Communication Technology. Requires communication technology for remote notarial acts to provide for synchronous audio-visual feeds of sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the Notary Public and remotely located individual to see and speak with each other. Further requires that the process provide a means for the Notary Public reasonably to confirm that an electronic 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.

Requires communication technology to provide reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to specified events and information. Requires a remotely located individual, should he or she/they need to exit the remote notarization workflow (i.e., an in-progress remote notarization), to restart from the beginning the identity verification process required under WAC 308-30-300.

NEW: Creates WAC 308-30-320, Certificate of Notarial Act for Remote Notarial Acts. Establishes that a notarial certificate form for a remote notarial act satisfies certain requirements of Washington’s RULONA if the certificate is in a form provided by applicable law and contains a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.” Provides certificate forms that satisfy requirements of the RULONA and administrative rules.

NEW: Creates WAC 308-30-330; Retention of Audio-Visual Recordings and Repositories. Requires a Notary Public to retain any audio-visual recording created under RCW 42-45-280(3)(c) in a computer or other electronic storage device that protects the recording against unauthorized access by password or other secure means of authentication. Requires the recording to be created in an industry-standard audio-visual file format. Prohibits the recording from including images of any electronic record that was the subject of the remote notarial act.

Requires an audio-visual recording to be retained for at least 10 years after the recording is made. Requires a Notary Public to take reasonable steps to ensure that a backup of the audio-visual recording exists and is secure from unauthorized use. Clarifies that the fact of a Notary Public’s employer, contractor or repository keeping or storing any audio-visual recordings shall not relieve the Notary of the duties required by these rules.

Establishes the duties of a Notary Public’s personal representative or guardian relative to disposition of the Notary’s audio-visual recordings, upon the Notary’s death or adjudication of incompetency. Requires the Notary Public, or the Notary’s personal representative or guardian, to provide—upon commission resignation, revocation or expiration without renewal, or upon the Notary’s death or adjudication of incompetency-- access instructions to the Department for any audio-visual recordings maintained or stored by the Notary. Allows a Notary Public or the Notary’s personal representative or guardian to engage, by written contract, a third party to act as repository to provide for audio-video recording storage. Clarifies that such a third party under contract is deemed a repository under RCW 42.45.280(6). Establishes certain requirements for such storage contracts.

Makes conforming amendments to update statutory cites appearing throughout affected administrative rules.
 
WEST VIRGINIA – SB 469
Signed March 30, 2021
Effective June 17, 2021
View this bill

General Provisions
Enacts remote online notarization in the Mountain State, by creating new sections of its Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.

Amends statutory personal appearance requirements by allowing the individual making a statement or executing a signature to appear personally before a notarial officer by communication technology as provided in new statutory sections (§39-4-37 or §39-4-38).

Provides for the validity of acknowledgments and notarizations performed by means of remote communication technology pursuant to Section 6 of the Governor’s Executive Order 11-20 (effective March 25, 2020). Cures these specific notarial acts from failure to comply with W. Va. Code §39-4-6, if they were performed in accordance with the Secretary’s emergency rules.

Defines “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” and “remotely located individual.”

Remote Online Notarial Acts
Establishes that a remotely located individual may comply with applicable provisions of law by using communication technology to appear before a Notary Public. Authorizes a Notary Public located in West Virginia to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual if specified requirements are met regarding identity of the individual; the Notary’s ability 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 individual executed a signature; and creation of an audio-visual recording of performance of the notarial act by the Notary Public or person acting on the Notary’s behalf.

Provides that only an Out-of-State Commissioner pursuant to W. Va. Code §39-4A-1 may perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual when such individual is located outside of the United States. Further requires that under this circumstance, the record must be destined 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 West Virginia; or involves property located in or a transaction substantially connected with West Virginia.

Requires that when a notarial act is performed using communication technology for a remotely located individual, the notarial certificate required by W. Va. Code §39-4-15 and the short-form certificate provided in W. Va. Code §39-4-16 must indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology. Establishes the sufficiency of such notarial certificates if they comply with legislative rules adopted by the Secretary of State or are in the statutory short form and contain a statement substantially like: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

Establishes that a Notary Public, guardian, conservator or agent of the Notary Public, or a personal representative of a decease Notary Public shall retain the required audio-visual recording of a notarial act performed using communication technology; or cause the recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the personal required to retain the recording. Establishes a minimum recording retention period of five years after the recording is made, unless a different period is required by a rule of the Secretary of State.

Requires that, before performing his or her/their initial notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual, a Notary Public must notify the Secretary of State of his or her/their intent to do this and must identify the technologies the Notary intends to use. Mandates that if the Secretary of State has established standards for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, any such technology chosen by the Notary must conform to the standards.

Remote Ink Notarial Acts
Establishes requirements for an ink-signed (paper) document to be notarized for a remotely located individual. Limits performance of these notarial acts to a West Virginia Out-of-State Commissioner appointed and governed subject to W. Va. Code §39-4A-1.

Establishes requirements for performance of a remote ink notarial act:
  • The individual and Out-of-State Commissioner must be able to communicate simultaneously, in real time, by sight and sound using communication technology as defined in W. Va. Code §39-4-37;
  • The Out-of-State Commissioner must reasonably identify the individual at the time of notarization by one or more of specified methods: personal knowledge of the individual; the individual’s presentation of a government-issued, unexpired identification document or record including the individual’s photograph, name and signature; at least two different types of processes or services by which a third person provides a means to verify the identity of the individual through a review of public or private data sources; or oath or affirmation of a credible witness physically present with the Out-of-State Commissioner or the individual or who can communicate by sight and sound in real time through an electronic device or process at the time of notarization, and who has been reasonably identified by the Out-of-State Commissioner using an identification method specified in W. Va. Code §39-4-38.
  • The Out-of-State Commissioner either directly or through an agent must satisfy specified requirements for generating and retaining a record of the remote ink notarization (such record must be retained for five years unless otherwise provided by law).
  • The ink-signed 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 West Virginia; involve property located in the territorial jurisdiction of West Virginia or a transaction substantially connected to the State of West Virginia; or otherwise not be prohibited by West Virginia law to be notarized outside the State of West Virginia.
  • The individual shall mail or otherwise cause delivery of the original ink-signed record to the Out-of-State Commissioner for completion of the notarial certificate… the date and time of the notarization shall be the date and time when the Out-of-State Commissioner witnessed the signature being performed via communication technology.

Clarifies that nothing in the Code section authorizing remote ink-signed notarial acts affects the authority of a Notary Public (Out-of-State Commissioner) to refuse to perform a notarial act, nor requires a Notary (Out-of-State Commissioner) to perform a notarization remotely with respect to an electronic record, or for an individual not physically present, or using a technology the Notary (Out-of-State Commissioner) has not selected.

Rules for Remote Online and Remote Ink Notarial Acts
Requires the Secretary of State to propose rules establishing specific requirements for the performance of a notarial act involving an individual appearing by means of communication technology (remote online notarial acts and remote ink notarial acts). Provides the range of issues such rules may address. Establishes that before adopting, amending or repealing a legislative rule governing performance these notarial acts, the Secretary shall consider standards, practices and views of a wide range of parties, jurisdictions, governmental officials and entities, and other interested persons. Further establishes that by allowing its communication technology or identity proofing to facilitate a notarial act for a remotely located individual or by providing storage of the required audio-visual recording, the Secretary of State shall be the provider of the communication technology, identity proofing or storage as the provider’s agency for service of process in any civil action in West Virginia related to.
 

WISCONSIN - AB 293
Effective May 1, 2020
View the enacting bill; view this law

Amends significant sections of Wisconsin’s Notary Public law.  Enacts the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts by creating new sections 140.01 through 140.34 of Chapter 140, Wisconsin Statutes, “Notaries Public; Notarial Acts.”  Repeals Wisconsin’s prior uniform notarial act law.  Establishes requirements for the performance of remote online notarizations by commissioned Online Notaries Public.

COMMISSIONING
Clarifies that the Department of Financial Institutions shall appoint Wisconsin’s Notaries Public and perform other commissioning office duties relative to Notaries Public and attorneys who are Notaries Public.  Further clarifies that Wisconsin attorneys shall make application for a Notary Public commission to, and be appointed by, the Department of Financial Institutions.  Also clarifies that the Department may certify to the official qualifications of any Notary Public, and to the genuineness of the notary’s signature and seal or rubber stamp.

NOTARY’S SIGNATURE, SEAL
Clarifies that every Notary Public shall provide (use) an engraved official seal or official rubber stamp, except as authorized in §137.19 (Chapter 137, Electronic Transactions and Records) and except as provided in §140.17 (Chapter 140 Notaries Public; Notarial Acts).

Clarifies that all certificates of acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances, or any written instrument required or authorized by law to be acknowledged or sworn to before a Wisconsin Notary Public, shall be attested by a clear impression of the official seal or imprint of the rubber stamp of the notary (including the notary’s commission expiration date or indication of a permanent commission)*, except as authorized in §137.19 (Chapter 137, Electronic Transactions and Records) and except when a Notary Public properly uses an official stamp under §140.17 (Chapter 140 Notaries Public; Notarial Acts).
__________
*NOTE:  Sections 140.02(3)(a) and §140.17(1), Wisconsin Statutes, conflict on requiring the notary’s commission expiration date to appear on the official seal or rubber stamp (the former statute expressly omits it, while the latter requires it).  As such, the Department will not require a notary’s seal or stamp to include the notary’s commission expiration date, but will allow the notary to choose including it or not.  American Society of Notaries recommends that a notary’s seal or stamp should include their commission expiration date in order to satisfy the requirement that this date be included in every notarial certificate completed by the notary.

Requires a Notary Public’s official stamp to include the Notary Public’s name, jurisdiction, commission expiration date if applicable, and other information required by the Department; and to be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated.

Makes a Notary Public responsible for security of the Notary Public’s stamping device, and prohibits the notary from allowing another individual to use the device to perform a notarial act.

Requires a Notary Public to disable or destroy a stamping device in the event of a Notary Public’s resignation, revocation or commission expiration; or expiration of the commission expiration date appearing on the stamping device, if applicable.  Requires these actions to be taken by a Notary Public’s personal representative or guardian, or any other person knowingly in possession of the stamping device, in the event of the Notary Public’s death or adjudication of incompetency.  Requires a Notary Public or the Notary Public’s personal representative or guardian to promptly notify the Department upon discovering that the stamping device is lost or stolen.

PERFORMING NOTARIAL ACTS
Specifies the persons (notarial officers) of Wisconsin, including a Notary Public, with authority to perform a notarial act in Wisconsin.  Establishes (1) that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in Wisconsin are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title; and (2) the signature and title of a Wisconsin notarial officer conclusively establish the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act.

Establishes that a Notary Public may charge the fees for notarial acts provided in §140.02(9), except when the department has established different fees by administrative rule(s).

Defines “acknowledgment,” “department,” “domestic partner,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “notary public,” “official stamp,” “person,” “record,” “sign,” “signature,” “stamping device,” “state,” “tamper-evident,” and “verification on oath or affirmation.”  Clarifies that the term “communication technology” as used in §140.02(5m)(a) has the meaning given in §140.145(1)(a).

Establishes that a notarial officer (defined as a Notary Public or other individual authorized to perform a notarial act) may perform a notarial act authorized by Chapter 140 or by other law of Wisconsin.

Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act when the officer or the officer’s spouse or domestic partner is a party to the record, or when either the notarial officer or any of these parties has a direct beneficial interest.  Establishes that a notarial act performed in violation of these prohibitions is voidable.

Authorizes a notarial officer to certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record.  (Also allows a register 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 or attests that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.)

Establishes the requirements for a notarial officer’s performance of specified notarial acts (acknowledgment, verification, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy of a record or copied item, making or noting a protest of a negotiable instrument) and the determinations made by the notarial officer in the performance of each act.  Requires the personal appearance before the notarial officer of the individual making a statement in or executing a signature on a record.

Prescribes the methods of identifying individuals appearing before a notarial officer for performance of a notarial act:  personal knowledge; or satisfactory evidence as follows: 
  1. A passport, vehicle operator's license, or government-issued identification card, which is current or expired not more than 3 years before performance of the notarial act.
  2. Another form of government identification issued to an individual, which is current or expired not more than 3 years before performance of the notarial act, contains the signature or a photograph of the individual, and is satisfactory to the officer.
  3. By a verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the officer and known to the officer or whom the officer can identify on the basis of a passport, vehicle operator's license, or government-issued identification card, which is current or expired not more than 3 years before performance of the notarial act.

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

Authorizes a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act if the officer is not satisfied that the individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to do so; or the individual’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made.  The notarial officer may not refuse if doing so is prohibited by law other than Chapter 140, Wisconsin Statutes.

Expressly authorizes an individual who is physically unable to sign a record to direct another individual who is not the notarial officer to sign the physically unable individual’s name on the record.  Directs the notarial officer to insert specified wording indicating this circumstance occurred.

Requires a notarial act to be evidenced by a certificate, which must be executed contemporaneously with performance of the notarial act.  Provides the requirements for completing a notarial certificate and required information elements.  Establishes requirements for the sufficiency of a notarial certificate. Prohibits a notarial officer from affixing the officer’s signature to, or logically associating it with, a certificate until the notarial act has been performed.  Requires a certificate to be part of, or securely attached to, a notarized tangible record; and to be affixed-to or logically associated with a notarized electronic record.

Provides certificate short forms for an acknowledgment in an individual capacity; acknowledgment in a representative capacity; verification on oath or affirmation; witnessing or attesting a signature; and certifying or attesting a copy.

Establishes Wisconsin’s recognition of notarial acts performed under authority of and in another state; under authority of a federally recognized Indian tribe; and under federal authority; if the notarial act is performed by specified individuals including a Notary Public of the other state, federally recognized Indian tribe or federally granted authority.  Also establishes Wisconsin’s recognition of a notarial act performed under authority of and in the jurisdiction of a foreign state.

REMOTE NOTARIZATION
Defines “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” and “remotely located individual.”

Authorizes a Wisconsin Notary Public’s performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual appearing by means of (audio-visual) communication technology [NOTE – other notarial officers are not authorized to perform remote notarizations].  Requires a Notary Public, before performing his or her initial notarial act for a remotely located individual, to notify the department of the intent to remotely notarize and identify the technologies the Notary Public intends to use.  If the Department has established standards for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, then the communication technology and identify proofing must conform to the standards.  Establishes that a remotely located individual may satisfy the requirement of personal appearance before a Notary Public by using communication technology (subject to requirements of Wisconsin statutes and any administrative rules).  Establishes that the jurisdiction in which a notarial act is performed for a remotely located individual is determined by the location of the Notary Public (who must be physically located in Wisconsin).

Specifies that, except for administration of an oath before a witness at a deposition, a Notary Public (subject to requirements of Wisconsin statutes and any administrative rules) may perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual if all of the following apply:
  • The Notary Public can identify the remotely individual by any of the means specified in §140.145(1m)(3)(a);
  • the Notary Public can reasonably confirm that a record before the notary is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature;
  • 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.

Provides additional requirements for performance of a notarial act using communication technology for an individual remotely located outside the United States.

Requires the notary’s certificate of notarial act for a remotely located individual to indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology.  Provides the criteria for sufficiency of a notarial certificate involving a notarial act for a remotely located individual.

Requires a Notary Public performing a notarial act for a remotely located individual to make a recording of the audio-visual communication session for the remote notarization, by mandating retention of the audio-visual recording by a Notary Public, guardian, conservator, or agent of a Notary Public; or a personal representative of a deceased notary; or cause the recording to be retained by a designated repository.  Requires a recording of a remote online notarization to be retained for at least seven years after the recording is made, unless a different period is established in any administrative rules of the Department.

Allows a Notary Public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts regarding electronic records.  Prohibits a person from requiring a Notary Public to perform a notarial act regarding an electronic record with a technology that the Notary Public has not selected.

Requires the department to promulgate administrative rules to implement the provisions of Chapter 140.  Prescribes the matters that must be addressed in rules, and establishes the scope of elective rulemaking authority.  Requires the department to consider (evaluate) certain specified standards before promulgating, amending or repealing a rule governing performance of a notarial act with respect to a remotely located individual.

Excludes certain types of transactions from performance of a notarial act for a remotely located individual.

Establishes a remote notary council attached to the Department of Financial Institutions; prescribes the council’s composition of members. Requires the council to adopt standards to implement the newly-adopted remote notarization statutes.  Requires the Department to promulgate by rule the standards that are adopted, amended, or repealed by the council.  Specifies the standards, information and practices the council must consider in adopting, amending, and repealing standards.  Requires the council to review Wisconsin’s remote notarization statutes and recommend to the legislature any statutory changes the council finds necessary or advisable.  Sets the length of council members’ initial terms.

OTHER PROVISIONS
Establishes that, except as otherwise provided in §140.04(2), Wisconsin Statutes, the failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in Chapter 140 does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the notarial officer; that provision does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act or seeking other remedies under Wisconsin or U.S. federal law.

Requires the Department to maintain an electronic database of Notaries Public enabling persons to use it to verify the authority of a Notary Public to perform notarial acts, and indicating whether a Notary Public has notified the department that the notary intends to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals under Wisconsin law.

Amends existing law on confidentiality of documents and information.  Requires a Notary Public or any provider of communication technology to keep confidential all documents and information provided to the Notary Public or provider of communication technology or contained in any documents reviewed by the notary or provider of communication technology while performing their duties.  Provides requirements for releasing such documents or information to a third person.  Clarifies that the prohibition(s) in this section do not apply when the Notary Public or provider of communication technology is complying with a request from a regulatory agency or supervisory agency or is responding to a lawful subpoena or court order.  Expressly allows a Notary Public or provider of communication technology to release deposition transcripts to all parties of record in an action, except that release of deposition transcripts that have not been made part of the public record require the written consent of all parties to the action and the deponent unless release is required by a regulatory agency or supervisory agency or in response to a lawful subpoena or court order.  Makes any Notary Public or provider of communication technology that violates these confidentiality provisions subject to the law’s penalties for misconduct or neglect of duty, and liable to the injured party for all damages sustained

Makes numerous technical and conforming amendments to relevant sections of Wisconsin law; renumbers numerous statutory sections.
 
To view the 2014 - 2020 Adopted/Enacted Legislation Archive—CLICK HERE

 

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