AL Senate Bill 54 | NNA
Law

AL Senate Bill 54

Notary Law Update: AL Senate Bill 54

State: Alabama

Summary:

Senate Bill 54 raises the fees a Notary may charge to $5, the amount of the bond to $25,000 and the commissioning fee to $10, and eliminates the outdated commission for county-appointed Notaries with countywide jurisdiction. Most important, however, is that SB 54 repeals the “fair register” or journal provisions in Alabama.

Signed:  May 31, 2011

Effective:  January 01, 2012

Chapter: Act No. 2011-295

Affects:

Creates Sections Section 36-20-70 to 36-20-75 and repeals Sections 36-20-1 to 36-20-11 and 36-30-30 to 36-30-32 of the Alabama Code

Changes:
  1. Eliminates the distinction between county and state-at-large Notaries while preserving the functions, powers, and commissions of existing state-at-large Notaries.
  2. Clarifies that all existing Notaries commissioned before the effective date of the act shall continue to function under the statutory rules in effect at the time of commissioning until the end of their terms.
  3. Raises the commissioning fee from $1 to $10.
  4. Raises the bond from $10,000 to $25,000 but clarifies that all existing Notaries shall continue to function under their current bonds for the remainder of their commission terms.
  5. Repeals the following existing provisions related to journal-keeping by Notaries: (a) That Notaries keep a fair register of each notarial act; (b) That Notaries must make certified copies of entries in the register for the public; (c) That Notaries deposit the register with the county probate judge upon resignation, removal or expiration of the term of commission or upon death; (d) That probate judges may deliver a Notary’s deposited register to any other Notary of the county in order for the Notary to make certified copies of entries for the public; (e) That probate judges make certified copies of entries in deposited registers; and (f) That Notaries who fail to deposit their registers with the county probate judge must pay a fine of at least $100.
  6. Raises the fee for a notarial act that Notaries may charge from as little as 50 cents to $5.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 54 is a mixed bag of changes to Alabama statute. We want to like this bill for the fact that it raises the fees Notaries may charge from a paltry 50 cents to $5 and raises the amount of the bond to $25,000, the highest in the nation. We also support SB 54 for eliminating the two types of Notaries commissioned in Alabama: Notaries who are appointed for a particular county who have county-wide jurisdiction, and state-at-large Notaries with statewide jurisdiction. However, we cannot support SB 54 for repealing the requirement that Notaries keep a “fair register” or journal of notarial acts. The bill was authored by the Alabama Law Institute, a volunteer legislative agency whose purpose is to clarify and simplify the laws of Alabama, to revise laws that are out-of-date and to fill in gaps in the law where there exists legal confusion. We commend Secretary of State Beth Chapman for urging the Governor to veto the bill.

Read the bill text.

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