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Law

MD Senate Bill 132

Notary Law Update: MD Senate Bill 132

State: Maryland

Summary:
Senate Bill 132 protects the privacy of Maryland Notaries by no longer making public a Notary's home address or phone number if the Notary has a business address and phone number.

Signed:  April 13, 2021

Effective:  October 01, 2021

Chapter: 125

Affects:
Amends Annotated Code of Maryland, General Provisions Section 4-332.

Changes:
  1. Provides that a custodian of public records shall allow inspection of the part of a public record that gives the Notary's business address if provided; otherwise, the Notary's home address will be provided.
  2. Provides that a custodian of public records shall allow inspection of the part of a public record that gives the Notary's business phone number if provided; otherwise, the Notary's home phone number will be provided.
Analysis:
In most states, much of the information in a Notary Public application for a commission is public information. There is a legitimate policy concern for providing information that allows the public to contact a Notary concerning a notarial act they performed, if necessary. That contact might be to request a copy of a journal entry of a transaction, or it might be to serve the Notary with a lawsuit over a notarial act that harmed a member of the public. The other side of this issue, however, is whether a Notary's home address or phone number should be protected for the Notary's sake. In Maryland, the Notary's home address and phone number is public information, but Senate Bill 132 dials that back provided the Notary has a business address and phone number in their record with the Secretary of State. The business address and phone number will be given out to the public if it exists; otherwise, the home address and phone number will be provided. The lesson here for Notaries is to provide the Secretary of State with a business address and phone number.

Read the bill text.

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