AZ House Bill 2150 | NNA
Law

AZ House Bill 2150

Notary Law Update: AZ House Bill 2150

State: Arizona

Summary:

House Bill 2150 initiates amendments to Arizona's electronic notarization chapter that brings it more into line with the paper-based notarization chapter.

Signed:  April 18, 2005

Effective:  July 30, 2005

Chapter: 124

Affects:

Amends Arizona Revised Statutes 41-353, 41-355, 41-364, 41-365, and 41-368; and adds a new Section 41-370

Changes:
  1. Stipulates that an electronic Notary’s commission may be suspended for 30-180 days by the Secretary of State as well as revoked. (Note: in Arizona, separate commissions are issued to traditional and electronic Notaries.)
  2. Requires an electronic Notary to keep a manual approved by the Secretary of State that describes the duties, authority, and ethical responsibilities of electronic Notaries.
  3. Requires an electronic Notary to respond to requests for information or comply with an investigation initiated by the Secretary of State or Attorney General.
  4. Defines the following offenses as constituting a “failure to fully and faithfully perform the duties of an electronic notary” for which the Secretary of State may impose a civil fine: (a) failure to notify the Secretary of State in writing of a change of address within 30 days of the change; (b) failure to notify the Secretary of State in writing of the loss or theft of the electronic Notary’s journal or any materials or processes used in creating an electronic Notary token or registering “Notary service electronic certificate applicants” within 10 days and to inform law enforcement of the loss or theft; (c) failure to notify the Secretary of State of a change in name within 30 days of the change; and (d) failure to respond to an investigation of any complaint brought by the public into the electronic Notary’s conduct.
  5. Provides that the Secretary of State may refuse to grant a subsequent appointment to an applicant whose previous electronic Notary commission was revoked for 4 years from the time the previous commission was revoked.
  6. Adds to the list of grounds in ARS 41-368 for which the Secretary of State may suspend or revoke an electronic Notary’s commission the notarizing of an electronic document without completing a notarial certificate.
  7. Provides the opportunity for notice, hearing, and process to electronic Notaries whose commissions have been suspended.
  8. Allows any person to lodge a complaint into the conduct of an electronic Notary. The Secretary of State will then notify the Attorney General, who will investigate.
  9. Makes other clarifying and stylistic changes.
Analysis:

House Bill 2150 initiates amendments to Arizona's electronic notarization chapter that brings it more into line with the paper-based notarization chapter. Arizona is the only state to date that has a separate office for electronic Notaries. The commissioning process, qualifications, duties, and ethical responsibilities of electronic Notaries are contained in a separate Article 3 in the Arizona Revised Statutes Title 41, Chapter 2, distinct from the laws governing traditional Notaries found in Article 2. To minimize the potential confusion that could arise from having two separate commissions, the Arizona legislature has constructed the laws for both commissions to parallel each other whenever possible. HB 2150 initiates reforms to bring Article 3 more in line with Article 2. Foreseeing the potential for confusion that could arise from a dual-commission approach, the Model Notary Act of 2002 prescribes registration of a Notary’s capability to perform electronic acts but does not require a separate electronic Notary commission. The new law requiring electronic Notaries to notify the Secretary of State and law enforcement when the materials and processes used to issue “Notary service electronic certificates” are lost or stolen is very important. A person who is issued a Notary service electronic certificate can essentially perform electronic notarizations without the direct involvement of the electronic Notary. If the means by which an electronic Notary could issue these certificates were lost or stolen, significant harm could befall the public.

Read the bill text.

Knowledge Center