CO Administrative Rule (Mandatory Education) | NNA
Rule

CO Administrative Rule (Mandatory Education)

Notary Law Update: CO Administrative Rule (Mandatory Education)

State: Colorado

Summary:

The new administrative rules promulgated by the Secretary of State effective May 1, 2010, require all first-time applicants for a Notary commission and all former Notaries whose previous commissions have lapsed by more than 31 days to complete a mandatory educational course taught by an approved vendor or course provider, and take an open-book examination administered by the Secretary of State.

Signed:  March 10, 2010

Effective:  May 01, 2010

Chapter: N/A/

Affects:

Creates new Rule 7 in 8 CCR (Colorado Code of Regulations) 1505-11

Changes:
  1. Defines (a) “Approved Course of Instruction” as a live classroom or Webcast course that is approved by the Secretary of State; (b) “Approved Vendor” as a vendor approved by the Secretary of State who provides an approved course of instruction to Notaries and prospective Notaries for a fee; (c) “Course Provider” as a corporation, company, commercial enterprise, association, or educational institution that provides a course of instruction for its employees or members, usually free of charge, by using a curriculum provided by the Secretary of State; and (d) “Best Practices” as practices that are not necessarily codified in statute or rule that encourage compliance with the Notary law and promote proper notarization.
  2. Requires new applicants for a Notary commission and formerly commissioned Notaries whose commissions have expired by 31 days or more to complete an approved course of instruction within 6 months preceding application and pass an open-book examination administered by the Secretary of State.
  3. Authorizes the Secretary of State to require any Notary to complete an approved course as remediation for committing an act of misconduct.
  4. Prescribes that the content of an approved educational course shall be based upon the Colorado Notaries Public Act and widely-held Notary best practices.
  5. Requires a course offered by a vendor to be approved by the Secretary of State before being offered to the public. 
  6. Sets the following requirements for approval of a course of instruction: (a) a description of the curriculum in sufficient detail to enable the Secretary of State to evaluate whether the curriculum satisfies the requirements of Rule 7.2.2; (b) procedures to establish the identity of a person attending a live course and ensure that the person is present for the required time;      (c) procedures to ensure that the person to whom a certificate of completion is issued is the same person who completed the course of instruction; (d) copies of handouts, workbooks or tests used during the course; and (e) an application fee of no more than $250.
  7. Provides procedures for the Secretary of State to issue a deficiency notice for a course that does not meet the requirements for approval and the means for a vendor to cure the deficiency, including the right to a hearing for a rejected curriculum.
  8. Authorizes the Secretary of State to issue a seal of accreditation for vendors who meet the curriculum criteria within 60 days of receipt of an application and requires vendors to prominently and conspicuously display the seal on any materials provided by the vendor to a person taking the approved course.
  9. Sets the validity period of an approved course of instruction as four years from the date the seal of accreditation has been granted for the course.
  10. Prohibits the seal of accreditation from being transferred to another vendor or curriculum without approval of the Secretary of State.
  11. Requires vendors to notify the Secretary of State within 30 days of substantial changes to information contained in an approved course in a letter detailing the changes and to revise an approved course as necessary to ensure that the information provided in the course reflects current Colorado law.
  12. Prescribes the following rules for the certificate of completion given to an applicant who successfully completes an approved course of instruction: (a) the format and contents of the certificate; (b) the validity period of the certificate (6 months from the date of issuance); and (c) submission of the certificate with the application for a commission submitted by the applicant.
  13. Requires vendors to maintain and provide to the Secretary of State a list of attendees for each course taught within 10 days after completion of the course on a form provided by the Secretary.
  14. Clarifies that a vendor shall permit the Secretary of State or designee to attend an approved course for the purpose of monitoring, auditing or investigating the course.
  15. Sets grounds for termination of accreditation:  (a) violation of any of the education rules; (b) misrepresentation of Colorado’s Notary laws; (c) deviation from the lesson plan of an approved course of instruction; (d) representations that any product, goods or services offered by the vendor are endorsed, recommended or required by the Secretary of State; and (e) failure to timely respond to a request for communication from the Secretary.
  16. Outlines a process for appealing a termination of accreditation.
  17. Authorizes a course provider who teaches a curriculum developed by the Secretary of State to be approved to teach an approved course, outlines the approval process for course providers, requires that course providers attend a “train the trainer” course taught by the Secretary and stipulates that course providers provide each attendee with a certificate of completion as required of approved vendors.
  18. Provides rules for the mandatory open-book examination administered by the Secretary of State.
Analysis:

Last year, Colorado enacted a new law giving the Secretary of State authority to promulgate rules requiring Notary commission applicants to take a mandatory educational course. The Secretary of State sought rulemaking authority for mandatory education because in 2004 the Governor vetoed a bill passed by the General Assembly which would have required all applicants to take an educational course. Colorado wisely has taken the approach to allow vendors of educational courses, such as the NNA, and “course providers” – an organization that does not develop its own curriculum but teaches a curriculum developed by the Secretary of State – to teach live classroom or “webcast” courses. Online, text-based and correspondence-type courses are not approved as delivery modes for approved courses. All new commission applicants and former Notaries whose commissions have expired by 31 days or more must take the mandatory course. Renewing Notaries who reapply for a commission within 30 days of expiration of the current term are exempt from the educational requirement. In addition, applicants taking the mandatory course must also pass an examination administered by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State may require a Notary who has committed official misconduct to take an approved course and pass an examination for disposition of the case. The NNA was consulted and offered many recommendations for the education rules during the rulemaking process and has already had its courses approved by the Secretary of State in advance of the May 1, 2010, effective date.

Read the rule text.

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