CA Los Angeles Co. Ordinance 2011-025


State: California
Signed: May 24, 2011

Effective: June 23, 2011
Chapter: N/A


A local ordinance adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directs the County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk to charge $10 for surrendering Notary journals and $40 for a duplicate copy of the Notary “manual,” the manual issued to Notaries who issue confidential marriage licenses.


L.A. County Code Section 2.32.202 and the application of California Government Code Sections 26850, 26854, and 54985.

  1. Authorizes the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk/ to charge $10 for the surrendering of Notary journals.
  2. Authorizes the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk to charge $40 for a replacement Notary “manual.”

It is seldom, if ever, that we report on a local county ordinance that affects Notaries of a county. A notification impacting all California Notaries who have filed their commissions in Los Angeles County was sent from the office of Dean Logan, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk, dated June 1, 2011, providing notice that effective July 1, 2011, the Registrar-Recorder/Clerk will begin collecting a $10 Notary journal surrender fee.  Government Code Section 8209 requires a Notary who resigns, is disqualified, removed from office, or allows his or her appointment to expire without obtaining reappointment within 30 days, to file all notarial records with the clerk of the county in which the Notary’s current official oath of office is on file within 30 days (that is, 30 days following the 30th day the Notary allows his or her appointment to expire without obtaining reappointment). Up until now, the NNA has not heard of county clerks charging a fee to receive a surrendered Notary journal. However, the Government Code has provisions allowing a county clerk to charge set amounts for various filings which are enumerated in the Code, and Government Code Section 26850 specifically allows the clerk to charge up to $2.25 to file and index all papers for which a charge is not elsewhere provided. Government Code Section 54985 authorizes a county board of supervisors to decrease or increase the fee in an amount reasonably necessary to recover costs of providing a service or enforcing a regulation for which the fee or charge is levied. In other words, a board of supervisors may pass a local ordinance raising certain fees provided in the Government Code. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors did just that at its May 24, 2011, meeting. It adopted an ordinance raising the fee for surrendered Notary journals to $10, basing the Board’s authority to collect a fee for a surrendered journal on Government Code Section 26850. The wording of the ordinance reads as follows: “The Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk shall charge a fee of $10.00 for processing surrendered notary journals.” It is unclear whether the fee of $10 is per journal or a flat fee of $10 for all journals surrendered at one time. If the former, then resigning as a Notary could become unduly expensive for some Notaries who over the course of their careers have archived dozens of journals, and potentially discourage former Notaries from depositing the journals with the county clerk. This could mean that the valuable information recorded in journals would not be available for search and inspection by the public and law enforcement. We have contacted the county counsel’s office for an interpretation on whether the $10 fee applies to each or all journals submitted to the clerk.

The ordinance also established a $40 charge for replacing a “Notary manual,” which refers to the workbook binder the county clerk provides to those Notaries authorized to issue confidential marriage licenses. Evidently, many Notaries have misplaced or lost their manuals, resulting in a large expenditure expended to replace the manuals.

Read the L.A. County Board of Supervisor's May 24, 2011 Meeting Statement of Proceedings.