MI House Bill 4528 | NNA
Law

MI House Bill 4528

Notary Law Update: MI House Bill 4528

State: Michigan

Summary:

House Bill 4528 repeals the registration, bonding and listing requirements of the 2004 Michigan Immigration Clerical Assistants Act, while keeping in force the performance standards and penalties enacted as part of the 2004 Act. The bill also allows a person injured by an immigration clerical assistant to bring an action for equitable relief or damages, or both, and, in an action for damages, the court would have to award a prevailing plaintiff the amount of actual damages or, if the court found that the violation was willful, 3 times the plaintiff's actual damages.

Signed:  June 17, 2014

Effective:  June 17, 2014

Chapter: Public Act No. 174

Affects:

Amends Sections 338.3453, 338.3463, 338.3467, and 338.3471, and repeals Sections 338.3454, 338.3457, 338.3459, and 338.3465 of the Michigan Compiled Laws

Changes:
  1. Repeals the following sections of the Michigan Immigration Clerical Assistant Act: (a) Section 4, which prohibits an individual from providing services or offering to provide services, or acting as an immigration clerical assistant unless he or she is on a list established under the Act or is exempt from placement on he list; (b) Section 7, which requires an immigration clerical assistant to apply to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) for placement on the list and pay the appropriate fee; (c) Section 9, which created the immigration clerical assistant list and requires LARA to impose certain application and renewal fees for placement on the list; and (d) Section 15, which requires an immigration clerical assistant to file and maintain in force a corporate surety or cash bond in the amount of $50,000 conditioned upon the faithful and competent provision of services.
  2. Allows a person injured by an immigration clerical assistant to bring an action for equitable relief or damages, or both. The bill specifies that, in an action for damages, the court would have to award a prevailing plaintiff the amount of actual damages or, if the court found that the violation was willful, three times the plaintiff's actual damages.
  3. Repeals provisions related to actions the Department of Economic Growth could take against an immigration clerical assistant related to the list of immigration clerical assistants and surety or cash bond.
  4. Makes non-substantive changes.
Analysis:

Certain states have statutes regulating the conduct of immigration consultants – non-attorneys who provide non-legal immigration-related services to individuals for a fee. Michigan created its statute in 2004. Notaries with an immigration background usually apply to become immigration consultants as a means to supplement the services they offer to the public. In the legislative analysis of HB 4528, it was noted that as of fiscal year 2012, there were 7 individuals listed as immigration clerical assistants. The fiscal analysis to the legislation noted that from 2007-2012, total expenditures to administer the program substantially exceeded the nominal revenues collected from immigration clerical assistants ($625,061 of total expenditures vs. $1,740 in revenue). Thus, it appears that few individuals took the steps to be registered and officially listed on the immigration clerical assistants list the statute created. However, it is also likely that there are many more immigration clerical assistants who were operating “under the radar” without taking the steps to be registered, bonded and listed. While scaling back the registration and bond provisions, the legislature left intact the performance standards and penalties the Act had established in 2004. The bill also allows a person injured by an immigration clerical assistant to bring an action for equitable relief or damages, or both, and, in an action for damages, the court would have to award a prevailing plaintiff the amount of actual damages or, if the court found that the violation was willful, 3 times the plaintiff's actual damages.

Read the bill text.

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