GA House Bill 1055 (2010) | NNA
Law

GA House Bill 1055 (2010)

Notary Law Update: GA House Bill 1055 (2010)

State: Georgia

Summary:

House Bill 1055 raises the commissioning fee that clerks of the Superior Court may charge Notary applicants by $7 to $37. The bill also institutes a $125 civil filing fee that at least 3 counties believe must be passed on to Notary commission applicants, raising the commissioning fee to $162 for a 4-year commission. The new $125 civil filing fee is the subject of a formal attorney general opinion that was issued on July 27, 2010 stating that this fee does apply to Notary commission applicants.

Signed:  May 12, 2010

Effective:  May 12, 2010

Chapter: Act No. 360

Affects:

Amends Section 15-6-77 and 15-21A-6 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated

Changes:
  1. Raises the fee that a Superior Court clerk must charge for issuing a certificate of appointment and reappointment to Notaries Public from $13 to $20 (the total commission application fee is thus raised from $30 to $37).
  2. Establishes a $125 civil filing fee a Superior Court clerk must charge for the filing of each civil action or case or all proceedings of a civil nature. 
Analysis:

House Bill 1055 effectively raises the commission fee for Georgia Notaries from $30 to $37. In Georgia, the county Superior Court clerks are responsible for qualifying and issuing Notary commissions. The new law also establishes a controversial $125 civil filing fee that is applicable to any proceeding of a civil nature filed with the Superior Court. At least 3 counties are saying that this $125 fee applies to the issuance of Notary commissions, raising the total commissioning fee in these counties to $162 for a 4-year commission. Statistics collected by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority show that total Notary commissions issued in these 3 counties since the effective date of the new law have decreased by 30 to 50 per cent. The new civil filing fee is the subject of a formal request by the GSCCCA for an attorney general opinion, which it hopes will clarify that the $125 fee does not apply to Notary commissions. Proponents of the view that the $125 fee does apply to Notary commissions counter by saying that had the legislature wanted to exempt Notary commissions from the filing fee, it could have done so.

The GSCCCA then filed a formal request for an official opinion from the Attorney General on whether the judicial fund operations fee applied to Notary commission applications. The Attorney General’s official opinion, dated July 27, 2010, clarifies that the fee applies to Notary commission applications. The basis for the opinion hinges on two main arguments. First, that the provision in HB 1055 for the judicial fund operations fee mirrors a similar provision in OCGA Section 15-21A-6(a) calling for an additional $15 filing fee and clerks of the superior court uniformly followed an interpretation of this law that applied this fee to Notary commission applications. Second, the Attorney General argues that had the legislature wanted to specifically exempt persons submitting Notary commission applications from paying the $125 fee, it easily could have done so and that by enacting the bill as it was written the legislature fully intended the fee to apply to Notary commission applications. 

Read the bill text.

Read the Attorney General opinion.

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