MI House Bill 4938


State: Michigan
Signed: December 30, 2003

Effective: April 01, 2004
Chapter: Public Act No. 238


House Bill 4938 comprehensively modernizes Michigan’s Notary laws.


Repeals Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 55, Sections 103, 107-117, 221, 251, and Chapter 600, Section 2564 and adds Chapter 55, Sections 261-315.


Notary Commission

  1. Increases commission term to 6-7 years.
  2. Requires the oath of office and bond to be filed with county clerk 90 days prior to applying and further requires an applicant to include copy of oath and bond with application.
  3. Raise the application and filing fee to $10 each.
  4. Provides that a bad check may cause cancellation of commission.
  5. Eliminates the requirement to obtain an endorsement of an application by a judge or member of the legislature.
  6. Provides that the commission is mailed directly to Notary.
  7. Specifies various elements of the application form.
  8. Authorizes the Secretary of State to use criminal background information to approve or deny an application.
  9. Requires an applicant to read laws prior to performing notarial acts.
  10. Provides that application for new commission may not be made more than 60 days prior to expiration of current term.

Status Changes

  1. Requires all name and address changes must be immediately reported to the Secretary of State
  2. Requires that a lost or damaged commission paper must be reported to the Secretary. 
  3. Requires errors, changes in data on the application form to be immediately reported to the Secretary.

Notarial and Prohibited Acts

  1. Defines new terms, including use of the term “record” (as defined under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act).
  2. Requires a Notary to identify document signers for signature witnessings and verifications
  3. Removes protests from the list of authorized notarial acts.
  4. Raises the fee for notarizations to $10.
  5. Requires a Notary to print, type, stamp or imprint mechanically or electronically additional Notary information on each certificate completed.
  6. Disallows a Notary to perform a copy certification.
  7. Prohibits a Notary from notarizing a record with blank spaces.


  1. Includes new sections containing prohibited and criminal offenses relating to impartiality, improper advertising and immigration advertising.
  2. Defines Notary and employer liability.
  3. Prescribes penalties for misconduct.
  4. Outlines the complaint, investigative and adjudicative process.

House Bill 4938 comprehensively modernizes Michigan’s Notary laws. By using the term “record” whenever the word “document” would be expected throughout the Act, the legislature gives tacit authorization for Notaries to perform electronic notarizations. In defining any violation of the Act as a misdemeanor, including provisions for Notary and employer liability, adding new penalties and outlining a thorough adjudicative process, Michigan’s Notary laws are now among the toughest in the nation.

Read House Bill 4938.