GA House Bill 274 | NNA
Law

GA House Bill 274

Notary Law Update: GA House Bill 274

State: Georgia

Summary:

House Bill 274 institutes changes in the application procedures for Georgia Notary commission applicants and establishes new criminal penalties for Notary misconduct. 

Signed:  May 18, 2007

Effective:  July 01, 2007

Chapter: Act No. 127

Affects:

Amends the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Sections 45-17-2, 45-17-2.1, 45-17-13 and 45-17-20

Changes:
  1. Clarifies that an applicant for a Notary commission must: (a) be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S (previously, an applicant must have only been a resident of the state); (b) be a legal resident of the county from which the applicant is appointed; and (c) have and provide an operating telephone number.
  2. Requires an applicant for a resident Notary commission to present one of the following to the clerk of superior court as proof that he or she resides in the county of application: (a) Valid GA driver’s license; (b) Valid U.S. passport; (c) Valid voter ID card; or (d) Valid ID issued by a local, state or the U.S. government.
  3. Stipulates that an applicant for a resident Notary commission must use the applicant’s residence address — and not a business address — on the application.
  4. Requires applicants to obtain two endorsements for the initial commission application only and requires the endorsers to attest that they have known the applicant for at least one month.
  5. Requires a Notary to report a change in the Notary’s telephone number to the clerk of superior court and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority.
  6. Classifies a Notary’s first or second conviction for not complying with any provision of Title 45, Chapter 17, Article 1 of the Georgia Code Annotated when providing Notary services as a misdemeanor and a third or subsequent conviction a felony, punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Analysis:

This new law institutes changes in the application procedures for Georgia Notary commission applicants. The requirement to present proof of legal residence in the county of appointment for resident Notary applicants is noteworthy, as is the provision only requiring the two endorsements for the first-time Notary commission application, and not for subsequent appointments. However, this new law also establishes new criminal penalties for Notary misconduct. The penalties encompass a conviction for violating any provision of Article 1, which would include notarizing without an official seal (45-17-6), notarizing with a conflict of interest (45-17-8), executing a notarial certificate with intent to deceive or defraud (45-17-8), misrepresentation (45-17-8.2), as well as other offenses. Previous law only gave the clerk of superior court authority to recommend to the appropriate prosecuting officers that criminal proceedings be pursued against a Notary who was in violation of Article 1.

Read the bill text.

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