AZ Senate Bill 1230 | NNA
Law

AZ Senate Bill 1230

Notary Law Update: AZ Senate Bill 1230

State: Arizona

Summary:

Senate Bill 1230 implements a number of ethical standards which generally strengthen the integrity of notarial acts, both paper-based and electronic and protect the public. The most interesting – and novel – change is that any attached “loose” certificate used by a Notary must contain additional information besides the wording for the acknowledgment or jurat designed to protect the certificate from being used with another document.

Signed:  April 29, 2011

Effective:  July 20, 2011

Chapter: 343

Affects:

Amends Sections 41-311, 41-312, 41-313, 41-316, 41-323, 41-328, 41-332, 41-351, 41-353, 41-355, 41-358, 41-364, 41-366 of the Arizona Revised Statutes

Changes:
  1. Defines “venue” as the state and county where the notarial act occurs, and includes it in the notarial certificate containing the signature, seal and other pertinent information.
  2. Requires each Notary or Electronic Notary to read and write English.
  3. Permits the Secretary of State to require proof of training prior to a Notary's or Electronic Notary’s initial application, renewal of a commission or reinstatement of a suspended commission.
  4. Conforms the Electronic Notary statutes with the Notary statutes by requiring a Notary training course within 90 days of commission renewal. Authorizes a fee and deposits the fee into the Notary Education Fund.
  5. Prohibits a Notary or Electronic Notary from advertising a fee except as authorized by rule.
  6. Authorizes the Notary or Electronic Notary to perform the prescribed notarial acts only if the signer is present at the time of notarization, signs and communicates in a language the Notary understands. Further, the notarial certificate must be completed in a language the Notary or Electronic Notary reads, writes and understands.
  7. Allows a notarial act to be performed on a document that is a translation of a document, if the translator affirms the translation by signing an affidavit of accuracy and completeness. The notarized translation and affidavit must be attached to the document.
  8. Permits the Notary or Electronic Notary to communicate indirectly through a translator who is physically present at the time of the notarization and communicates in a language both the Notary and the signer understand.
  9. Requires a Notary or Electronic Notary to report to the Secretary of State within 30 days a change of business address in addition to a change of mailing or residential address.
  10. Prohibits a Notary or Electronic Notary from notarizing a document if the Notary is an officer of any named party, a party to the document, or will receive any direct benefit from the transaction that will exceed the fees prescribed by law.
  11. Prescribes requirements for a separately attached (“loose”) notarial certificate for a paper or electronic notarization, including a description of the document, title, type, number of pages, date, additional signers.
  12. Repeals prior statute permitting an Electronic Notary to perform the authorized act of educating Notary service electronic signature certificate applicants about the responsibilities and consequences of the use of the certificate, administering an oath or affirmation that the Notary service electronic signature certificate applicant understands the responsibilities and consequences of using a Notary service electronic signature certificate to sign a Notary service electronic document and that the electronic signature certificate has the same legal force and effect as any notarial act made before a Notary Public; and registering the Notary service electronic signature certificate applicant for the issuance of a notary service electronic signature certificate that has a maximum useful life of two years. (Note: This repealer “cleans up” after last year’s legislation repealing the provision allowing a person to use a Notary service electronic signature certificate without the Electronic Notary present.)
  13. Makes clarifying amendments.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 1230 brings some interesting and novel changes to Arizona’s Notary laws. First, Arizona becomes the first state to require that any notarial certificate attached to a document by a Notary or Electronic Notary must contain additional information designed to protect the certificate from unauthorized attachment to another document. The additional information required includes the title or type of document, the document date and number of pages, and any additional signers whose signatures are notarized other than those named in the notarial certificate (and who, presumably, are not present before the Notary or Electronic Notary). This provision implements the NNA’s longstanding best practice that has been incorporated into all of the “loose” certificates offered to members. Second, the new law permits the use of a translator or interpreter in situations in which the Notary and document signer do not speak the same language. Third, the new law authorizes Notaries and Electronic Notaries to notarize so-called “translators’ declarations,” an affidavit in which a translator certifies to the accuracy and completeness of a translation. Fourth, SB 1230 authorizes a Notary and Electronic Notary to notarize only when the signer is in the presence of the Notary or Electronic Notary, the signer signs and communicates in a language the Notary understands (or, as stated earlier, indirectly through an interpreter) and the notarial certificate is worded and completed using only letters, characters and a language that the Notary uses. Fifth, existing law permits a Notary to charge only a fee that is specifically authorized by administrative rule; the new law adds that a Notary may not advertise a fee that is not specifically authorized by rule. Finally, SB 1230 “cleans up” after last year’s legislation to repeal the power of an Electronic Notary to issue a “Notary service electronic signature certificate” to any document signer who then could perform electronic notarial acts in the Electronic Notary’s name without the Notary being present. There was a hold-over provision in the statute missed in last year’s legislation, which has been removed.

Read the bill text.

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