LA House Bill 781 | NNA
Law

LA House Bill 781

Notary Law Update: LA House Bill 781

State: Louisiana

Summary:

House Bill 781 primarily defines prohibited acts related to the unlawful exercise of notarial powers and provides penalties, outlines the complaint process and clarifies that licensed attorneys who are Notaries are still subject to oversight by the state Supreme Court.

Signed:  July 10, 2008

Effective:  July 10, 2008

Chapter: Act 904

Affects:

Enacts Sections 35:601-35:604 and amends Sections 35:191(P)(1) and 35:407(B) of the Louisiana Revised Statutes

Changes:
  1. Clarifies that subject to the duties required of a Notary as a result of a change of residence, a Notary who is also licensed to practice law in Louisiana may notarize in every parish of the state.
  2. Clarifies that subject to any other law to the contrary, a Notary appointed for any parish who has taken the examination on or after June 13, 2005, may notarize in every parish of the state.
  3. Prohibits any person who has not been authorized to exercise notarial powers or any Notary whose powers have been judicially revoked from: (a) Exercising or purporting to exercise notarial functions; (b) Holding oneself out the public as being entitled to perform notarizations; (c) Rendering notarial services;  (d) taking acknowledgments, administer oaths or executing any instrument as a Notary or person with authority to exercise notarial powers; (e) Assuming to be a Notary or be authorized to exercise notarial functions; and (f) Assuming, using, or advertising using the title Notary Public or ex-officio Notary or equivalent terms in any language or any other term meant to convey the impression that one is permitted to notarize.
  4. Stipulates that a violation of unlawful exercise of notarial powers (item #3 above) shall result in a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both, and a requirement to make full restitution for all costs incurred as a result of the improper act.
  5. Prohibits a Notary who has been authorized to exercise notarial functions to perform notarial services during any period when: (a) the Notary’s commission is statutorily or judicially suspended, statutorily or administratively revoked; (b) the Notary is no longer commissioned as a Notary; (c) the Notary has placed the Notary’s commission in retirement statutes under R.S. 35:202(G); (d) the person no longer holds the office or position from which authority to notarize was derived; (e) the Notary has been convicted of a felony; and (f) the Notary is not authorized by law to perform a particular notarial function.
  6. Stipulates that any of the violations listed above in #5 shall result in: (1) in a fine of up to $1,000; (2) a requirement to make full restitution for all costs incurred as a result of the improper act; and (3) being subjected to suspension or revocation of the commission and permanently enjoined from exercising notarial powers in any capacity.
  7. Institutes the process for handling complaints against a Notary by the Secretary of State: (1) If a Notary has active status, the Secretary shall notify the Notary and complainant of the findings; and (2) If the Notary does not have a valid active status, the Secretary shall send a notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, informing the Notary of the impediment to the Notary’s authority and allow the Notary to remedy the impediment within 10 days of receiving the notice. Upon failure to remedy the impediment by the Notary on inactive status, the Secretary shall forward a copy of the sworn complaint to appropriate law enforcement or a prosecutor for further investigation or prosecution.
  8. Recognizes that the Louisiana Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in regulating the conduct of any attorney licensed to practice law supersedes the enforcement of provisions related to the unlawful exercise of notarial powers.
  9. Permits ex-officio Notaries appointed to act on behalf of a municipal police department to notarize an affidavit required for the enforcement of R.S. 32:661-32:669.
Analysis:

House Bill 781 primarily defines prohibited acts related to the unlawful exercise of notarial powers and provides penalties, outlines the complaint process and clarifies that licensed attorneys who are Notaries are still subject to oversight by the state Supreme Court. Incidentally, the bill also clarifies the duties of ex-officio Notaries appointed to serve municipal police departments and the circumstances under which attorney and nonattorney Notaries may notarize in every parish.

Read the bill text.

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