IL Senate Bill 3443 | NNA
Law

IL Senate Bill 3443

Notary Law Update: IL Senate Bill 3443

State: Illinois

Summary:

Senate Bill 3443 prescribes rules related to investigations and revocations of Notary commissions.

Signed:  August 10, 2018

Effective:  January 01, 2019

Chapter: Public Act 100-0809

Affects:

Amends 5 ILCS 312/ Sections 2-102, 4-101, 6-104, 7-101, and 7-108.

Changes:
  1. Requires applicants for a Notary commission to provide a business address on the application if it is different than the applicant's residence address and the applicant will be performing notarial acts as any part of the applicant's job duties.
  2. Allows the Secretary of State to conduct a criminal background check on an applicant for a Notary commission, if necessary.
  3. Provides that a Notary's commission ceases to be in effect if the Notary changes his or her business address without first notifying the Secretary of State in writing within 30 days of the change.
  4. Requires a Notary to return the Notary's seal to the Secretary of State and to destroy the Notary’s commission certificate when changes to the commission cause the commission to no longer be in effect.
  5. Prohibits a Notary from performing a notarial act when his or commission is suspended or revoked.
  6. Requires a Notary to comply with any term of suspension imposed for a violation.
  7. Requires the surety of the Notary's bond, upon the filing of a claim against the Notary, to notify the Secretary of State of the circumstances which led to the claim and whether payment was made.
  8. Allows the Secretary of State to revoke the Notary's commission if the Notary commits any misdemeanor.
  9. Clarifies that misdemeanor violations defined in 720 ILCS 5/Articles 16, 17, 18, 19 and 21 (related to theft, deception, robbery, burglary and damage and trespass to property) and Articles 31, 32 and 33 (related to interference with public officers and judicial procedure and official misconduct) are grounds for which the Secretary of State may revoke a Notary’s commission.
  10. Allows the Secretary of State to investigate a violation whenever the Secretary of State believes that a violation of Article VII of the Notary Public Act has occurred.
  11. Allows the Secretary of State to investigate possible violations of Article VII of the Notary Public Act submitted by a signed written complaint on a form designated by the Secretary.
  12. Provides that a Notary's failure to cooperate or respond to an investigation by the Secretary of State is a failure by the Notary to fully and faithfully discharge the responsibilities and duties of a Notary and shall result in suspension or revocation of the Notary's commission.
  13. Requires the Secretary of State to investigate all written complaints which on their face appear to establish facts that, if proven true, would constitute an act of misrepresentation or fraud in notarization or on the part of the Notary to determine whether cause exists to reprimand, suspend, or revoke the commission of the Notary.
  14. Permits the Secretary of State to deliver a written official warning and reprimand to a Notary or to revoke or suspend a Notary’s commission for: (a) the Notary’s official misconduct; (b) any ground for which an application for appointment may be denied for failure to complete the application requirements under 5 ILCS 312/2-102; (c) a prohibited act under 5 ILCS 312/6-104; or (d) a violation of any provision of the general statutes.
  15. Requires the Secretary of State, upon performance of one or more prohibited acts in the notarization of a document, to order one or more of the following courses of action after investigation and a determination by the Secretary, including a consideration of the extent of the prohibited act and the degree of culpability of the Notary: (a) a letter of warning to the Notary, including the Secretary's findings; (b) suspension of the commission of the Notary for a period of time designated by the Secretary; (c) revocation of the commission of a Notary; (d) referral of the allegations to the appropriate State's Attorney's Office or the Attorney General for criminal investigation; or (e) referral of the allegations to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for disciplinary proceedings.
  16. Requires a Notary who receives notice from the Secretary of State that his or her commission has been revoked to immediately deliver his or her seal to the Secretary.
  17. Provides that a Notary whose commission has been revoked for a violation of the Notary Public Act is not eligible for a new commission for at least 5 years from the date of the final revocation.
  18. Provides that a Notary may voluntarily resign his or her commission and upon doing so, the Notary must return his or her seal to the Secretary of State.
  19. Clarifies that a Notary’s voluntary resignation shall not stop or preclude any investigation into the Notary’s conduct or prevent further suspension or revocation by the Secretary; and further clarifies that the Secretary may pursue any such investigation to a conclusion and issue any finding.
  20. Clarifies that upon a determination by a sworn law enforcement officer that allegations raised in a complaint against a Notary are founded and the Notary has received notice of suspension or revocation of the commission, the Notary is entitled to an administrative hearing.
  21. Requires the Secretary of State to adopt administrative hearing rules.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 3443 adds provisions related to the Secretary of State investigating and taking actions against the commissions of Notaries for allegations of official misconduct. The legislation adds that a Notary commission may be revoked if the Notary committed any misdemeanor, and specifically includes those offenses related to theft, deception, robbery, burglary, damage and trespass to property, interference with public officers and judicial procedure, and official misconduct. The Secretary may investigate allegations of wrongdoing directly and must investigate written and signed complaints submitted to the Secretary by the public. The bill also imposes new requirements on Notaries who are the subjects of investigations and actions by the Secretary. It prohibits Notaries from performing notarizations while their commissions are suspended or revoked and requires them to comply with any term of suspension imposed for a violation. The bill also requires Notaries with revoked commissions to submit their Notary seals to the Secretary. The surety of a Notary also must inform the Secretary when a claim has been filed against the bond of a Notary, and whether any payment was made to a claimant. In all, Senate Bill 3443 will help the Secretary of State regulate Notaries more effectively.

Read the bill text.

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