AZ House Bill 2037 | NNA
Law

AZ House Bill 2037

Notary Law Update: AZ House Bill 2037

State: Arizona

Summary:

House Bill 2037 permits the Secretary of State to require that all applicants for a regular Notary commission take an educational course. The bill specifies 4 types of written identification document a Notary and Electronic Notary may accept as satisfactory evidence of identity for notarial acts in general and 2 additional types they may accept for real property conveyances and finance transactions in particular. HB 2037 also repeals provisions requiring Notaries to affix their commission expiration dates on each notarial certificate and permitting Electronic Notaries to issue a “Notary service electronic certificate” to a signer for the purpose of performing electronic notarial acts in the Electronic Notary’s name without the Electronic Notary present. The bill also requires an Electronic Notary to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

Signed:  May 11, 2010

Effective:  July 29, 2010

Chapter: 313

Affects:

Amends ARS 41-311, 312, 313, 330, 351, 353, adds ARS 41-332 and repeals ARS 31-356

Changes:
  1. Permits the Secretary of State to require all first-time applicants for a Notary commission to take a training course before receiving their commissions and renewing applicants to take the course within 90 days before renewing their commissions.
  2. Authorizes the Secretary to assess a fee to administer Notary training courses and requires the Secretary to deposit the fee in the Notary Education Training Fund.
  3. Establishes a Notary Education Training Fund that is subject to legislative appropriation.
  4. Adds U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence status as a qualification for an Electronic Notary commission.
  5. Authorizes Notaries and Electronic Notaries to accept three specific types of written identification as “satisfactory evidence of identity”: (a) an unexpired driver’s license issued by a state or territory of the U.S.; (b) an unexpired U.S. passport; and (c) an unexpired identification card issued by any branch of the U.S. armed forces. Or, the following is also acceptable: an unexpired identification card issued by the U.S. government, or a state or tribal government that contains the individual’s photograph, signature and physical description consisting of the individual’s height, weight, color of hair and color of eyes.      
  6. Clarifies that for the purposes of a real estate conveyance or finance transaction, a Notary or Electronic Notary may accept a valid unexpired passport issued by a national government other than the U.S. if it contains a valid unexpired visa issued by the U.S. government.
  7. Authorizes Notaries and Electronic Notaries also to accept as “satisfactory evidence of identity” for a real estate conveyance or finance transaction any other valid unexpired identification that is acceptable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to establish an individual’s legal presence in the U.S. and that is accompanied with supporting documents as required by the Department of Homeland Security.
  8. No longer requires Notaries to affix the commission expiration date on every notarial certificate.
  9. Repeals ARS 412-356, a provision allowing a Notary to issue a “Notary service electronic certificate” to a document signer for the purpose of performing electronic notarizations without the presence of the Electronic Notary.
  10. Makes minor technical changes
Analysis:

House Bill 2037 is a significant change to Arizona’s Notary laws. It permits, but does not obligate, the Secretary of State to require new and renewing Notaries to take a mandatory education course and authorizes the Secretary to charge a fee for the training course. In speaking with the Secretary’s office, the NNA learned that it appears the legislative intent was that the Secretary would be the sole provider of this training. It should be noted that the training would apply to applicants for a regular Notary commission only. It does not apply to applicants for an Electronic Notary commission, which must be applied for separately. A second important change brought about under HB 2037 is that an unexpired driver’s license, U.S. passport and identification card issued by the U.S. armed forces are specifically listed as written identification a Notary and Electronic Notary may accept as satisfactory evidence of identity. Prior law permitted a Notary to accept at least one current form of identification issued by the U.S. government or a state or tribal government with the individual’s photograph, signature and physical description that consisted of at a minimum a description of the individual’s height, weight, color of hair and color of eyes. The 3 new IDs now listed in the statute technically do not have to bear a signature, photograph and physical description as the other types of written identification presented to a Notary or electronic Notary. This clarification was needed because many state driver’s licenses do not contain the minimum physical description required of all other IDs (for example, a Tennessee driver’s license does not contain the person’s weight and color of hair) and a U.S. passport does not contain a physical description at all. However, any other U.S., state or tribal government ID other than a driver’s license, U.S. passport or military ID still must contain a full physical description. In real property conveyance and finance transactions, a Notary and Electronic Notary may now accept any of the IDs described above; or a properly stamped, current and valid foreign passport; or any other valid unexpired identification that is acceptable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to establish an individual’s legal presence in the U.S. and that is accompanied with supporting documents as required by the Department of Homeland Security. The “Green Card” is one such identification document that could be presented to a Notary or Electronic Notary, but undoubtedly there are others (for example, the so-called “Border Crossing” and “Employment Verification” cards). A small but important addition to the identification provision in the new law is that Notaries may accept a driver’s license from a U.S. territory. Notaries ask the NNA frequently whether they can accept driver’s licenses from any U.S. territory. The repeal of the provision requiring a Notary to affix his or her commission expiration date on a notarial certificate makes sense given that one of the stipulated elements in the required Arizona Notary seal is the commission expiration date. Finally, HB 2037 repealed the ill-conceived electronic notarization provision which allowed an Electronic Notary to issue a “Notary service electronic certificate” to a document signer for the express purpose of allowing the signer to perform legally-binding electronic notarial acts in the Electronic Notary’s name without the Electronic Notary being present. The NNA has repeatedly criticized and called for this statute to be repealed. In its ten-year history, this provision was never implemented. Look for “clean up” legislation in the future to repeal ARS 41-355(A)(4), (5) and (6), provisions which pertain to Notary service electronic certificates as well as the administrative rule issued by the Secretary of State to implement them.

Read the bill text.

Knowledge Center