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Notary Bulletin

North Dakota Enacts Extensive Revision Of Notary Laws

In a bold move that will strengthen Notary procedures and consumer protection in North Dakota, the state has enacted a significant revamp of its Notary statutes based on the recommendations of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) — including new provisions for both traditional and electronic notarization.

House Bill 1136 was based on the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) developed by NCCUSL, making North Dakota the first state to incorporate RULONA in its Notary statutes. HB 1136, which was strongly supported by the NNA, includes several new rules for Notaries that take effect in August 2011, including prohibitions against Notaries engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. It also clearly states Notaries may refuse to perform a notarial act if the Notary is not satisfied the signer is competent enough or willing to sign; and provides guidelines for notarizing for signers with physical limitations.

Additional provisions of HB 1136 that take effect in 2013 will require North Dakota Notaries performing eNotarizations to use “tamper-evident” technology that visibly shows if the document is altered after the Notary’s signature has been affixed, and will require the Secretary of State to create and maintain a database of Notaries, including those capable of performing eNotarizations.

RULONA was developed by a committee headed by nationally renowned legal educator Patricia B. Fry, who is honored with the NNA’s 2011 March Fong Eu Achievement Awardfor her efforts.

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