ME House Bill 286 | NNA
Law

ME House Bill 286

Notary Law Update: ME House Bill 286

State: Maine

Summary:

HB 286 clarifies that Notaries must take the oath of office before a dedimus justice and provides the form for the official oath. The new law also requires Notaries to sign all official acts by hand in the official commission name. Finally, HB 286 no longer requires the Secretary of State to investigate complaints concerning improper notarizations by Notaries or cause complaints to be investigated. Instead, it transfers this responsibility to the Notary Public Review Board established in 2007.

Signed:  May 04, 2009

Effective:  September 16, 2009

Chapter: Public Law No. 74

Affects:

Amends 4 MRSA Section 951-A and 5 MRSA Sections 5, 82 and 82B

Changes:
  1. Requires a Notary to sign notarial acts by producing the Notary’s official signature by hand in the same form as on the official commission (that is, the signature appearing on the Notary’s most recent oath of office or application form).
  2. Requires a Notary who changes his or her signature during the term of the Notary’s commission to submit a new signature sample with the Secretary of State.
  3. Clarifies that a newly appointed notary public must take the oath or affirmation of office before a dedimus justice and prescribes the wording for the oath of office. (Note: In Maine, a dedimus justice is an oath-administering official.)
  4. Repeals the previous provision requiring the Secretary of State to investigate or cause to be investigated all complaints concerning improper or illegal notarial acts performed by Notaries made on the Secretary of State’s own motion or on written complaint filed with the Secretary of State.
  5.  Repeals the previous provision created in 2007 stating that the Chair of the Notary Review Board has the responsibility of making preliminary rulings on discovery and other questions.
  6. Clarifies that the Notary Public Review Board created in 2007 shall review all complaints filed against Notaries pursuant to 4 MRSA 955-C and make recommendations to the Secretary of State for the disposition of complaints.
Analysis:

HB 286 creates a new provision requiring Notary to sign the Notary’s official commission name by hand when performing a notarial act. The “official commission name” is the name that appears on the Notary’s current oath of office or application for a commission. The new law also clarifies that the oath of office for a Notary must be administered by a dedimus justice, an officer in Maine who has the responsibility of administering oaths of office, and prescribes the form for the Notary’s official oath.

In legislation that was enacted in 2007, the state of Maine created a “Notary Public Review Board.” The Board was created to review violations of law by notaries public and complaints concerning notaries public. House Bill 286 removes a previous provision requiring the Secretary of State to investigate complaints and violations of the law by Notaries and puts this responsibility squarely in the lap of the Notary Public Review Board. The Board now must make recommendations to the Secretary of State for the disposition of particular complaints.

Read the bill text.

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