Missouri Senate Bill 932 | NNA
Law

Missouri Senate Bill 932

Notary Law Update: Missouri Senate Bill 932

State: Missouri

Summary:

Senate Bill 932 enacts tougher seal purchasing and manufacturing rules, reaffirms that Notaries may use electronic signatures to perform a notarial act as allowed under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, and requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules to address Notaries’ use of electronic signatures.

Signed:  July 01, 2016

Effective:  August 28, 2016

Chapter: TBD

Affects:

Amends RSMo 486.245, 486.275, 486.285 and 486.375.

Changes:

Database

  1. Requires the Secretary of State to maintain a database that includes information that is contained on each Notary's seal or any lost or misplaced seal of a Notary Public.
  2. Permits the Secretary of State to post notice on the Secretary’s website notifying the general public that the lost or misplaced seal and commission number of such Notary is invalid.
  3. Permits the Secretary to post notice on the Secretary’s website notifying the general public that the Notary who has submitted a letter of resignation is no longer a commissioned Notary.

Notary Seal Manufacturer Rules

  1. Requires a manufacturer of Notary seals to register with the Secretary of State.
  2. Requires a manufacturer of Notary seals to communicate with the Secretary when the manufacturer issues a seal to a Notary in Missouri, and further provides that a failure to do so will result in a fine of $1,000 for each violation.
  3. Provides that the Secretary of State shall approve any seal issued by the manufacturer and reported to the Secretary within 10 days.
  4. Requires a seal manufacturer to maintain a copy of the commission of a Notary for whom it produces a seal.

Reporting Seal and Status Changes

  1. Requires a Notary to immediately notify the Secretary in writing if the Notary's seal is lost or misplaced, and requires the Secretary to issue the Notary a new commission number in order that the Notary may purchase a new seal.
  2. Requires a Notary to immediately notify the Secretary of State in writing if the Notary’s seal is destroyed, broken, damaged or otherwise rendered inoperable.
  3. Requires a Notary who submits a written letter resigning the Notary commission to send the Notary's seal with the letter.
  4. Provides that if a Notary seeks to amend his or her commission, the Notary shall immediately mail or deliver the official seal to the Secretary of State, unless a person, business, or manufacturer alters the seal in compliance with RSMo 486.285(4).

Electronic Signatures

  1. Provides that a signature or record will be deemed notarized if the electronic signature of the Notary is attached with the signature or record.
  2. Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations to address the use of electronic signatures by Notaries.

Other Changes

  1. Classifies impersonation of a Notary as a Class D felony when the act is fraudulent and involves property.
  2. Makes technical, non-substantive changes.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 932 addresses growing real property-related frauds involving Notaries and Notary seals. The central thrust of the bill is to require manufacturers of Notary seals to register with the Secretary of State and notify and have approved by the Secretary, each seal the manufacturer sells to a Notary. They must keep a copy of the commission of each Notary to whom it sells a seal. Violations of the new requirements will incur a $1,000 penalty for each violation.

The bill also requires Notaries to notify the Secretary of State in writing if a seal is lost, misplaced, destroyed, broken, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable. It also requires Notaries to return their seals to the Secretary when submitting a letter of resignation or when they amend their commissions (for example, by changing their name).

Behind the heightened seal provisions is a requirement for the Secretary of State to create and maintain a publicly-accessible database on all Missouri Notaries and to post to the database when a Notary’s seal or commission becomes invalid.

Senate Bill 932 also reaffirms the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act provision on notarization, authorizing Notaries to use electronic signatures to perform notarial acts. The bill also requires the Secretary of State to publish rules to implement the electronic signature provision of the bill.

Read the bill text.

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