California’s Governor Brown signed three new bills into law affecting Notaries this month — two related to immigration matters and one involving the theft of cattle and farm animals.
Assembly Bill 1159 makes it a misdemeanor for nonattorneys — including nonattorney Notaries — to translate the term “Notary” or “Notary Public” into other languages on advertising, business cards, or other comparable documents. Violating this law is punishable by up to one year in jail or a maximum fine of $1,000. The law also doubles the amount of the surety bond immigration consultants will have to post to $100,000, effective July 1, 2014.
Assembly Bill 35 prohibits immigration consultants, attorneys, Notaries or organizations accredited by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals from “price gouging” — pressuring clients to purchase services based on the fear of higher prices later — for services related to immigration relief under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows qualifying immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to request a reprieve from deportation proceedings for two years and to seek eligibility for employment. Any California Notary who attempts to price gouge immigrants for services related to this program may have his or her commission denied, suspended or revoked and be subject to civil penalties.
The last of the three new bills, Assembly Bill 924, authorizes the Secretary of State to deny, suspend or revoke the commission of any Notary involved in the theft of cattle, horse or other farm animal carcasses — a response to the growing problem of cattle theft in the state, with farmers reporting more than $1 million in losses last year.