CO House Bill 1274 Notary Law Update: CO House Bill 1274State: ColoradoSummary: House Bill 1274 implements new requirements for Notary seals and journal entries, provides that the Secretary of State may require commission applications and renewals to be submitted electronically, clarifies the disciplinary actions the Secretary may take against Notaries and requires Notaries to notify the Secretary of a change of business or residential address. Signed: May 24, 2012Effective: August 08, 2012Chapter: NoneAffects:Amends Sections 12-55-102, 12-55-102.5, 12-55-104, 12-55-107, 12-55-108, 12-55-109, 12-55-111, 12-55-112, 12-55-114, 24-21-104 and 42-1-211 of the Colorado Revised Statutes Changes: Authorizes, at the Secretary of State’s discretion, electronic filing of commission applications and renewals, and authorizes the Secretary to publish rules for the electronic filing of applications. Provides a Notary may submit an application for reappointment before expiration of the Notary’s current appointment along with only the information and documentation necessary to reflect any changes to the information submitted in the Notary’s original application. Defines the term “facsimile” to mean any copy, photocopy, facsimile, replica, or other reproduction of a document. (Note: this definition applies to the certification of copies pursuant to CRS 12-55-120). Makes the previously permissive list of statutory journal entries a requirement for each entry in the Notary’s journal. Specifies the elements that must be included within the outline of the Notary’s official seal as: (1) the Notary’s printed legal name, (2) the Notary’s identification number, (3) the Notary’s commission expiration date, (4) the words, “State of Colorado”, and (5) the words, “Notary Public.” Stipulates that the official Notary seal must be rectangular in shape. Disallows use of a seal embosser as a Notary seal. Provides that a Notary who obtained an official seal before the effective date of the act may continue to use his or her seal until renewal of his or her commission. Provides that if a Notary attests to an instrument relating to real property by affixing a Notary seal that is not in compliance with the requirements for the seal, it does not render the instrument or the attestation invalid or ineffective, nor does it render a real property title unmarketable. Repeals the requirement that a Notary must write or stamp “my commission expires (commission expiration date)” on each notarial certificate. Clarifies that in addition to reporting a change of name, a Notary must notify the Secretary of State in the event of a change in the Notary’s business or residential address within 30 days. Clarifies that the Secretary of State may take disciplinary or nondisciplinary action against the commission of a Notary if the Notary fails to comply with any term of suspension or performs any notarial act when the Notary’s commission is suspended. Clarifies the disciplinary action the Secretary of State may take against the commission of a Notary as (1) revocation, and (2) suspension for a period of time or until the fulfillment of a condition, such as training, or both. Defines nondisciplinary action the Secretary of State may take against the commission of a Notary as a letter of admonition that is placed in the Notary’s file. Provides provisions related to the collection and disbursement of funds collected by the Secretary of State for the Notary program. Makes technical and conforming changes. Analysis:House Bill 1274 institutes a number of important changes to Colorado’s Notary statutes. First, it allows the Secretary of State to require Notary commission applications to be submitted electronically. Second, it revises the rules related to the Notary’s official seal. The seal may no longer be a seal embosser, but must be a rectangular rubber stamp. Furthermore, the elements within the seal have been expanded. The seal must now include the legal name of the Notary, the Notary’s identification number and commission expiration date in addition to the words, “State of Colorado” and “Notary Public.” Third, the statutory list of journal entries is no longer permissive. The specified entries are required for Notaries who must keep journals. (Note: under Colorado law, a Notary must keep a journal unless the Notary’s employer retains a copy of the notarized document as a record of the notarial act.) The new law allows current Notaries to continue to use their current official seals until their commissions are renewed, at which time the seal must conform to the new requirements. The new law also contains a curative provision stating that the failure of a Notary to use a seal that conforms to the new requirements will not render a real estate document invalid or ineffective, nor impair the marketability of a real property title. Fourth, the new law clarifies the disciplinary actions the Secretary may take against Notaries. Fifth, in addition to reporting a change of name, the new law requires Notaries to notify the Secretary whenever their business or residence address changes within 30 days of the change. Sixth, the bill defines the term “facsimile” which applies to the rules for certifying true copies of original documents. The bill makes other technical changes as well and provides for the collection and disbursement of funds by the Secretary of State. Read the bill text.