TN House Bill 2387 Notary Law Update: TN House Bill 2387State: TennesseeSummary: House Bill 2387 fixes a technical issue that prevented Tennessee legislators from holding a Notary commission, allows Notaries to charge a reasonable fee for their services and creates a journal requirement. Signed: April 25, 2014Effective: October 01, 2014Chapter: 805Affects:Amends Sections 8-16-102 and 8-21-1201, and repeals Sections 8-16-118, 8-16-119 of the Tennessee Code Annotated Changes: Clarifies that the Governor “approves” Notary commissions applicants, and further clarifies that “approve” means to accept or to sanction, and does not mean to appoint. Repeals the prior statutes prescribing the fees Notaries may charge. Authorizes a Notary to charge a reasonable fee for performing notarial acts. Requires a Notary to keep in a well-bound book all of the Notary's acts, attestations, protestations, and other instruments of publication. Analysis:House Bill 2387 makes several changes to Tennessee’s Notary statutes. First, it fixes an issue that prevented Tennessee House and Senate members from holding a Notary commission. Evidently, the Secretary of State interpreted TCA 8-16-102, which reads, “All notaries shall be commissioned by the governor,” to mean that legislators could not be appointed to hold a Notary commission. Other law provides that the Governor cannot grant legislators anything while the legislature is in session, presumably to maintain the separation of the Executive and Legislative branches of government. At any rate, the Secretary interpreted the word “commissioned” in the statute to mean “granted.” HB 2387 fixes TCA 8-16-102 by striking the word “commissioned” and adding the word “approved” so that it reads, “All notaries shall be approved by the governor.” The legislature then makes it very clear what “approved” means by adding the following sentence to TCA 8-16-102: “For purposes of this section, ‘approved’ means to accept or to sanction, and does not mean to appoint.” Second, HB 2387 repeals the statute relating to the fees Notaries may charge and replaces it with a provision that says a Notary may charge a “reasonable fee” for Notary services. Under current law, the fees Notaries may charge are very low and outdated. Finally, whether intentionally or unintentionally, HB 2387 creates a journal requirement. It adds the following provision to the fee statute: “The notaries public shall keep a record in a well-bound book of each of the notaries public’s acts, attestations, protestations, and other instruments of publication.” This sentence replaces a provision in the fee statute which says, “For recording in a well-bound book, to be kept by the notary for that purpose, each attestation, protestation and other instrument of publication…$1.00.” So, under existing law, a Notary may charge $1.00 for recording an entry in the journal. However, the wording of the new journal provision appears to create a broader duty to record the Notary’s acts in a well-bound book. Read the bill text.