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Law

MO House Bill 1655

Notary Law Update: MO House Bill 1655

State: Missouri

Summary:

House Bill 1655 enacts sweeping changes to Missouri's Notary statutes, and adds remote online notarization provisions.

Signed:  July 06, 2020

Effective:  August 28, 2020

Chapter: TBD

Affects:

Repeals RSMo 486.200, 486.205, 486.210, 486.215, 486.220, 486.225, 486.230, 486.235, 486.240, 486.245, 486.250, 486.255, 486.260, 486.265, 486.270, 486.275, 486.280, 486.285, 486.290, 486.295, 486.300, 486.305, 486.310, 486.315, 486.320, 486.325, 486.330, 486.335, 486.340, 486.345, 486.350, 486.355, 486.360, 486.365, 486.370, 486.375, 486.380, 486.385, 486.390, 486.395, 486.396, and 486.405.

Enacts in lieu of these sections RSMo 59.568, 59.569, 442.145, 486.600, 486.605, 486.610, 486.615, 486.620, 486.625, 486.630, 486.635, 486.640, 486.645, 486.650, 486.655, 486.660, 486.665, 486.670, 486.675, 486.680, 486.685, 486.690, 486.695, 486.700, 486.705, 486.710, 486.715, 486.725, 486.730, 486.735, 486.740, 486.745, 486.750, 486.755, 486.760, 486.765, 486.770, 486.775, 486.780, 486.785, 486.790, 486.795, 486.800, 486.805, 486.810, 486.815, 486.820, 486.825, 486.830, 486.900, 486.902, 486.905, 486.910, 486.915, 486.920, 486.925, 486.930, 486.935, 486.940, 486.945, 486.947, 486.950, 486.955, 486.960, 486.965, 486.970, 486.975, 486.980, 486.985, 486.990, 486.995, 486.1000, 486.1005, 486.1010, 486.1100, 486.1105, 486.1110, 486.1115, 486.1120, 486.1125, 486.1130, 486.1135, 486.1140, 486.1145, 486.1150, 486.1155, 486.1160, 486.1165, 486.1170, 486.1175, 486.1180, 486.1185, 486.1190, 486.1195, 486.1200, 486.1205, and 578.700.

Changes:

Note: The changes enacted by House Bill 1655 are extensive. We have organized the changes under three sections, "Notary Public; Notarial Acts", "Electronic Notary Public; Electronic Notarial Acts", and "Remote Online Notary Public; Remote Online Notarial Acts". In addition, we have attempted, where possible, to organize the changes under similar subheadings.

Notary Public; Notarial Acts

Definitions

  1. Defines “acknowledgment”, “affirmation”, “commission”, “copy certification”, “county”, “county clerk”, “credible witness”, “journal of notarial acts” and “journal”, “jurat”, “notarial act” and “notarization”, “notarial certificate” and “certificate”, “notary public”, “Notary”, “oath”, “official misconduct”, “official seal”, “official signature”, “personal knowledge of identity” and “personally knows”, “principal”, “regular place of work or business”, “requester of fact”, “satisfactory evidence”, “Secretary” and “signature witnessing”.

Notary Commission

  1. No longer requires an applicant for a Notary commission to be a registered voter in the county of commission and not to have had a commission revoked in the past 10 years.
  2. Provides that non-resident applicants may qualify for a Notary commission if the applicant works in Missouri and if they meet all other qualifications.
  3. Provides that the application for a Notary commission must be in a paper or electronic format as established by the Secretary of State and contain the minimum information, as specified.
  4. Requires a current or former Notary applying for a new commission to qualify for and submit a new application following the rules for the issuance of a Notary commission.
  5. Requires every applicant for a Notary commission in addition to (a) attest to having read the Missouri Notary Public Handbook or having received training in a manner prescribed by the Secretary of State; and (b) receive a score of 80% or better on an examination administered by the Secretary prior to being issued a commission.
  6. Clarifies that the content of the Notary training and the basis for the written examination is based on notarial laws, procedures, and ethics.
  7. Provides the grounds for which the Secretary of State may deny an application for a Notary commission, as specified.
  8. Authorizes an applicant for a Notary commission to appeal the denial of an application by filing the form required by the Secretary of State within 30 days after denial.
  9. Clarifies that an applicant for a Notary commission whose commission has been denied may not appeal if the Secretary, within 5 years prior to the application, has (a) denied or revoked for disciplinary reasons any previous application, commission, or license of the applicant; or (b) made a finding pursuant to RSMo 486.810 that grounds for revocation of the applicant's commission existed.
  10. Provides that the existing bond, seal, length of commission and liability of Notaries commissioned before August 28, 2020, are not invalidated, modified, or terminated by the new laws.
  11. Clarifies that all Notaries must comply with the new laws from August 28, 2020, in performing notarizations and applying for new commissions.
  12. Requires the surety for a Notary’s $10,000 bond to report all claims against the bond to the Secretary of State.
  13. Requires the Secretary of State to suspend the commission of a Notary holding a bond that has been exhausted by claims paid out by the surety until the Notary obtains a new bond, and the Secretary determines the Notary’s fitness to serve the remainder of the commission.
  14. Reduces the time for a Notary filing the Notary’s bond and oath of office with the county clerk or their designee from 90 days to 60 days from the commission issue date.
  15. No longer requires the county clerk to forward the Notary’s bond, oath of office and signature specimen to the Secretary of State, but instead requires the Notary to mail the bond and oath of office to the Secretary with a postmarked date not exceeding 7 days from the date of the oath.
  16. Clarifies that upon receipt and acceptance of the bond and oath of office from the Notary, the Secretary of State shall update the Notary’s commission status.
  17. Provides that the issued commission of a Notary who fails to qualify within 60 days (formerly 90 days) shall be marked as not qualified by the county clerk and the county clerk must return the commission to the Secretary of State within 15 days (formerly 30 days).
  18. Provides that any Notary who fails to qualify within 60 days may be required to reapply for the commission.
  19. Provides that records pertaining to a Notary’s application for a commission may only to be used by the Secretary of State or Secretary’s designated employees for the purpose of the commission, and shall not be disclosed to anyone other than a government agency authorized to obtain such information, a person authorized by court order, or the applicant or applicant’s authorized agent.
  20. Provides that the Secretary of State may revoke a Notary commission for any ground on which an application for a commission may be denied pursuant to subsection 3 of RSMo 486.605.
  21. Requires the Secretary of State to revoke the commission of a Notary who fails to maintain (a) a residence or a regular place of work or business in Missouri; and (b) status as a legal resident of the U.S.
  22. Clarifies that prior to revocation of a Notary commission, the Secretary of State must inform the Notary of the basis for the revocation and that the revocation takes effect on a particular date unless a proper appeal is filed with the Secretary before that date.
  23. Clarifies that resignation or expiration of a Notary commission does not terminate or preclude an investigation into the Notary's conduct by the Secretary, who may pursue the investigation to a conclusion, whereupon it shall be made a matter of public record regardless of whether the finding would have been grounds for revocation.
  24. Authorizes the Secretary of State to immediately suspend a Notary commission upon written notice sent by certified mail if the situation is deemed to have a serious unlawful effect on the public, provided that the Notary shall be entitled to hearing and adjudication as soon thereafter as is practicable.
  25. Provides that the sections on revocation of a commission (RSMo 486.810) and suspension of a commission (RSMo 486.815) apply to electronic Notaries and remote online Notaries.
  26. Authorizes the Secretary of State to regularly publish a list of persons whose Notary commissions have been suspended or revoked, including electronic and remote online Notaries.
  27. Clarifies that the sanctions of RSMo 486 do not preclude any other sanctions or remedies provided by law.

Status Changes

  1. Requires a Notary within 10 days of a change of the Notary’s residence, business or mailing address to send the Secretary of State by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, a signed notice of the change, giving both old and new addresses, and including a $5 fee.
  2. Requires a Notary changing the address of the regular place of work or business to suspend performing notarial acts until (a) notifying the Secretary of State as required in RSMo 486.780, subsection 1, (b) receiving confirmation of the name or address change from the Secretary, and (c) notifying the surety of the change in writing.
  3. Requires a Notary within 10 days of a change of name by court order or marriage to send the Secretary of State by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, a signed notice of the change, giving both old and new name and a copy of any official authorization for the name change, and including a $5 fee.
  4. Requires a Notary with a new name to use their former name in performing notarial acts until (a) notifying the Secretary of State as required in RSMo 486.785, subsection 1, (b) receiving confirmation of the name or address change from the Secretary, (c) obtaining a seal with the new name, and (d) notifying the surety of the change in writing.
  5. Requires a Notary who resigns the Notary commission to send the Secretary of State by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, a signed notice of the resignation indicating the effective date of the resignation.
  6. Requires a Notary who ceases to reside in or to maintain a regular place of work or business in Missouri, or who becomes permanently unable to perform their notarial duties, to resign their commission.
  7. Requires a Notary whose commission expires without renewal, is resigned, or is revoked to (a) as soon as reasonably practicable, destroy or deface all of the Notary’s officials seals so that they may not be misused; and (2) within 30 days after the effective date of resignation, revocation, or expiration of the commission, dispose of the journal and notarial records in accordance with subsection 4 of RSMo 486.715.
  8. Provides that a Notary whose commission has expired is not required to dispose of the Notary’s journal in accordance with subsection 4 of RSMo 486.715 if the Notary is recommissioned within 3 months of the expiration of the Notary’s current commission.
  9. Requires a Notary whose commission has been revoked to forward their seal to the Secretary of State for disposal and provides that a fine of $500 may be assessed at the discretion of the Secretary for the failure to do so.
  10. Provides that if a Notary dies during the term of commission or before fulfilling the requirements of RSMo 486.800, the Notary's personal representative must (a) notify the Secretary of State of the death in writing; (b) as soon as reasonably practicable, forward all Notary seals to the Secretary; and (c) within 30 days after death, forward the journal and notarial records in accordance with subsection 4 of RSMo 486.715.
  11. Provides that upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of a Notary commission, or death of the electronic Notary: (a) the journal and notarial records must be delivered to the Secretary in accordance with RSMo 486.795 to 486.800 by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, allowing that an electronic journal may be delivered on disk, printed on paper, or transmitted electronically, in accordance with the requirements of the Secretary; and (b) in the case of an electronic journal and backup copy where disks or other physical storage media are not required to be surrendered, no further entries shall be made in the journal and backup and the journal and backup shall be safeguarded until both are erased or expunged after 10 years from the date of the last entry by the Notary or the Notary's personal representative.

Notarial Acts

  1. Authorizes Notaries to perform signature witnessings.
  2. Authorizes Notaries to perform a paper-based copy certification of an electronic document bearing an electronic signature of the notarial officer who performed the electronic notarial act.
  3. Requires a Notary making a paper-based copy certification of an electronic record bearing the electronic signature of the notarial officer who performed the electronic notarial act to (a) confirm that the electronic document contains an electronic signature that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent changes or modifications to the electronic document evident; (b) personally print or supervise the printing of the electronic document onto paper; and (c) not make any changes or modifications to the electronic document other than the adding the certificate for the copy certification.
  4. Clarifies that a Notary cannot perform a paper-based copy certification of an electronic record bearing the electronic signature of the notarial officer who performed the electronic notarization on a plat, map, or survey of real property if under another Missouri law or under a rule, regulation, or ordinance applicable to a clerk or recorder (a) there are requirements of format or medium for the execution, creation, or recording of such plat, map, or survey beyond the requirements applicable to a deed to real property; or (b) such plat, map, or survey shall be recorded in a different location than a deed to real property.
  5. Provides that a paper-based copy certification authorized under RSMo 59 only applies to documents presented to a recorder of deeds for recordings pursuant to RSMo 442 or 443.
  6. Requires a Notary to perform a notarial act only if the principal: (a) is in the presence of the Notary at the time of the notarization, (b) is personally known or identified through satisfactory evidence, (c) appears to understand the nature of the transaction and be acting on his or her own free will, (d) signs in a language understood by the Notary, (e) and communicates directly with the Notary in a language understood by both.
  7. Defines satisfactory evidence as evidence of identification of an individual based on (a) at least one current document issued by a federal, state, or tribal government in a language understood by the Notary and bearing the photographic image of the individual's face and signature and a physical description of the individual, or a properly stamped passport without a physical description; or (b) the oath or affirmation of one credible witness disinterested in the document or transaction who is personally known to the Notary and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses disinterested in the document or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the Notary documentary identification as described in (a) above.
  8. Authorizes a Notary to perform a signature by mark by following certain rules, as specified.

Standards of Practice

  1. Prohibits the Notary from making any changes or modifications to the electronic document other than the certification itself.
  2. Provides that Notary is disqualified from performing a notarial act if the Notary (a) is a party to or named in the document, (b) will receive directly or indirectly any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property or other consideration exceeding the allowable fees for notarial acts, (c) is a spouse, domestic partner, ancestor, descendant or sibling of the principal, including in-law, step and half relatives.
  3. Prohibits a Notary from refusing to perform a notarization based on characteristics protected from employment discrimination pursuant to RSMo 213.055.
  4. Requires a Notary to perform any notarial act described in RSMo 486.640 for any person requesting such a notarial act who tenders the appropriate fee specified in RSMo 486.685, unless (a) the Notary knows or has a reasonable belief that the notarial act or the associated transaction is unlawful; (b) the notarial act is prohibited in RSMo 486.645 or subsection 1 of RSMo 486.650; (c) the number or timing of the requested notarial act or acts practicably precludes completion at the time of the request, in which case the Notary shall arrange for later completion of the requested act or acts without unreasonable delay; or (d) in the case of a request to perform an electronic notarial act, the Notary is not registered to notarize electronically in accordance with RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010.
  5. Prohibits a Notary from influencing a person to enter into or avoid a transaction involving a notarial act by the Notary.
  6. Provides that a Notary commission does not authorize a Notary to investigate, ascertain, or attest to the lawfulness, propriety, accuracy, or truthfulness of a document or transaction involving a notarial act.
  7. Prohibits a Notary from (a) executing a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the Notary to be false, (b) affixing official seal or signature on a notarial certificate other than at the time of the notarization and in the presence of the principal, (c) providing or sending an incomplete, but signed or sealed notarial certificate to be completed later outside the Notary’s presence, (d) notarizing a signature if the document is blank or incomplete, (e) notarizing a signature on a document that does not have notarial certificate wording, (f) certifying or authenticating a photograph; (g) performing any notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud, and (h) using the official Notary title or seal to endorse, promote, denounce, or oppose any product, service, contest, candidate for political office, ballot measure for any election, or other offering.
  8. Prohibits non-attorney Notaries from assisting others in drafting, completing, selecting or understanding a document or transaction requiring a notarial act.
  9. Provides that a Notary who is duly qualified, trained, licensed, or experienced in a particular industry or professional field is not precluded from selecting, drafting, completing, or advising on a document or certificate related to a matter within that industry or field.
  10. Prohibits a Notary from claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that are not provided in RSMo 486, including the power to counsel on immigration issues.
  11. Requires a non-attorney Notary who advertises in a foreign language to include in the advertisement, notice, letterhead or sign the statement, “I am not an attorney and have no authority to give advice on immigration or other legal matters: and the fees for notarial acts that the Notary may charge.
  12. Prohibits a Notary from using the term “notario publico” or any equivalent non-English term in any business card, advertisement, notice or sign.
  13. Prohibits a MO Notary from performing a notarial act outside MO without meeting the legal requirements of the jurisdiction where the notarial act was performed.

Notary Fees

  1. Provides that a Notary may collect a non-notarial fee for services as a signing agent if payment of the fee is not contingent upon the signing, initialing or notarization of any document.
  2. Raises the fees Notaries may charge from $2 to $5 per signature for acknowledgments, jurats, signature witnessing.
  3. Authorizes Notaries to charge a minimum fee of $3 to certify a copy but reduces the fee from $2 to $1 per page copy certified.
  4. Provides that a Notary may charge the maximum allowable fees, a lower fee or waive the fee.
  5. Authorizes a Notary to charge a travel fee following the same procedure as current law, but repeals the prior provisions linking the travel fee to the approved federal mileage rate and the expedited convenience service fee of not more than $25 when traveling to perform a notarial act.
  6. Prohibits a Notary from discrimination in charging fees but authorizes a Notary to waive or reduce fees for humanitarian or charitable reasons.
  7. Requires a Notary who charges fees to conspicuously display in their regular place of work or business, or present to each principal outside their regular place of work or business, an English-language fee schedule in at least 12-point type.
  8. Authorizes a Notary to require payment prior to performing the notarial act.
  9. Provides that notarial fees are nonrefundable if the notarial act is completed, or in the case of travel fees, if the notarial act was not completed after the Notary traveled to the principal because it was prohibited for any of the grounds in RSMo 486.645 or because the Notary knew or had a reasonable belief that the notarial act or associated transaction was unlawful.
  10. Authorizes an employer to prohibit a Notary-employee from charging for notarial acts performed on company time.
  11. Prohibits an employer from discrimination in charging of fees based on characteristics of the principal.
  12. Prohibits a private employer from requiring a Notary-employee to surrender or share fees charged for any notarial acts.
  13. Requires a governmental employer who has paid for the Notary’s commission and supplies to waive or surrender the notarial fees as revenue of the employing government agency.

Notarial Certificate, Seal and Signature

  1. Provides that in notarizing a paper document, a Notary must affix an official signature and an official seal on the notarial certificate at the time the notarial act is performed.
  2. Provides that for every notarial act involving a document, a Notary shall properly complete a notarial certificate that contains or states (a) the official signature of the Notary, in accordance with RSMo 486.725; (b) an impression of the Notary’s official seal, in accordance with RSMo 486.725; (c) the venue of the notarial act where the Notary is located, including the name of the state of Missouri and of the pertinent county; (d) the date of the notarial act; and (e) the facts and particulars attested by the Notary in performing the respective notarial act.
  3. Provides that a notarial certificate is sufficient for a particular notarial act only if it meets the requirements of subsection 1 of RSMO 486.740 and is in a form that (a) is set forth for that act in RSMo 486; (b) is otherwise prescribed for that act by the laws of Missouri; (c) is prescribed for that act by a law, regulation, or custom of another jurisdiction, provided it does not require actions by the Notary that are unauthorized by the laws of Missouri; or (d) describes the actions of the Notary in such a manner as to meet the requirements of the particular notarial act.
  4. Requires a notarial certificate to be worded and completed using only letters, characters, and a language that are read, written, and understood by the Notary.
  5. Provides statutory notarial certificate forms for (a) an acknowledgment on an individual’s own behalf or in any representative capacity; (b) a signature or mark on an affidavit or other sworn or affirmed written declaration: (c) a signature or mark without the administration of an oath or affirmation; and (d) a certified copy (note: there is no statutory notarial certificate form for a signature witnessing).
  6. Requires a clerk or recorder to record a paper copy of an electronic document if the paper copy has been certified to be a true and correct copy of the electronic original by a Notary as evidenced by a certificate that (a) is signed and dated by the Notary in the same manner as on file with the Secretary of State; (b) identifies the jurisdiction in which the copy certification is performed; (c) contains the title of the Notary; (d) indicates the date of expiration, if any, of the Notary’s commission; and (e) includes an official seal or stamp of the Notary affixed to or embossed on the certificate.
  7. Requires a paper notarial certificate form that is attached to a document during the notarization of the signature of a principal to (a) be attached by staple or other method that leaves evidence of any subsequent detachment; (b) be attached, signed, and sealed only by the Notary and only at the time of notarization and in the presence of the principal; (c) be attached immediately following the signature page if the certificate is the same size as that page, or to the front of the signature page if the certificate is smaller; and (d) contain all of the elements described in RSMo 486.740 on the same sheet of paper.
  8. Provides a statutory form for a paper-based copy certification of an electronic record bearing the electronic signature of the notarial officer who perform the electronic notarial act.
  9. Authorizes a Notary to correct an error or omission made by that Notary in a notarial certificate if (a) the original certificate and document are returned to the Notary; (b) the Notary verifies the error by reference to the pertinent journal entry, the document itself, or to other determinative written evidence; (c) the Notary legibly corrects the certificate and initials and dates the correction in ink, or replaces the original certificate with a correct certificate; and (d) the Notary appends to the pertinent journal entry a notation regarding the nature and date of the correction.
  10. Prohibits the official seal from being used for any purpose other than performing notarial acts.
  11. Clarifies that the official seal is (a) the exclusive property of the Notary, (b) not to be used by any other person, (c) to kept secure and accessible only to the Notary, (d) and not surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment.
  12. Requires a Notary within 10 days after the Notary’s seal is discovered to be stolen, lost, damaged or otherwise rendered incapable of affixing a legible image to notify law enforcement in the case of theft or vandalism, and to notify the Secretary by any means providing tangible receipt, and provide a copy or number of any pertinent police report.
  13. Requires the Secretary of State upon receipt of a notice of a stolen, lost or damage Notary seal to issue the Notary a new commission for presentation to the seal vendor to make a new seal.
  14. Requires that as soon as practicable after resignation, expiration of commission, or death of the Notary, the seal shall be destroyed or defaced.
  15. Leaves unchanged the information elements that must appear in the Notary’s seal with the exception that “St. Louis City” for a Notary who is commissioned in the city is no longer required.
  16. Requires the information in a Notary seal to be surrounded by a border in a rectangular or circular shape that is no larger than 1/16 of an inch.
  17. Authorizes illegible information within a seal impression to be typed or printed legibly by the Notary adjacent to but not within the impression or Authorizes the Notary to affix another legible impression nearby.
  18. Authorizes an embossed seal impression that is not photographically reproducible to be used in addition to, but not in place of the official seal.
  19. Prohibits the seal from being affixed over printed or written matter.
  20. Requires the Secretary of State to maintain an internet site for the purpose of allowing vendors and manufacturers to confirm the current standing of any Missouri Notary.
  21. Prohibits a vendor or manufacturer from providing a Notary seal to a purchaser claiming to be a Notary unless the purchaser presents a commission issued by the Secretary of State and unless (a) for a purchaser appearing in person, the vendor identifies the individual as the person named in the commission through personal knowledge, satisfactory evidence of identity, or (b) for a purchaser ordering a seal by mail or delivery service, by confirming the Notary’s standing on the Secretary of State website.
  22. Prohibits a manufacturer from making or selling more than one seal to a Notary, and if requested, only one embossing seal.
  23. Requires a manufacturer to affix an image of all seals on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State and send the completed form to the Secretary of State within 7 business days, and retain a copy of the form and the commission for 5 years.
  24. Authorizes the Secretary of State to revoke a vendor’s permission to manufacture seals for repeat violations.
  25. Clarifies that the violations of a seal vendor or manufacturer do not preclude the civil liability of the vendor to parties injured by the vendor’s failure to comply with RSMo 486.735.

Notary Journal

  1. Requires Notaries to maintain only one active permanently bound journal at the same time for recording paper notarial acts.
  2. Requires a Notary to keep the journal for not less than 10 years from the date of the last entry.
  3. Requires a Notary to record in the journal the following new entries in addition to those already required by law: (a) the time of notarization; (b) in recording an identification document, the IDs issuing agency, serial or identification number, and date of issuance or expiration; (c) the handwritten signature and the name and address of each credible witness, if any, and for credible witnesses who are not personally known to the Notary, a description of the identification document relied on by the Notary to establish the witness’s identity; (d) The address where the notarial act was performed, if not the address of the Notary’s regular place of work or business.
  4. Prohibits a Notary from recording a Social Security or credit card number in the journal.
  5. Authorizes a Notary to record in the journal the circumstances for not performing or completing any requested notarial act.
  6. Requires a Notary to append to the pertinent entry in the journal a notation of the nature and date of the Notary's correction of a completed notarial certificate corresponding to the entry.
  7. Provides that the journal may be examined and copied without restriction by a law enforcement officer in the course of an official investigation, subpoenaed by court order, pursuant to subpoena power as authorized by law, or surrendered at the direction of the Secretary of State.
  8. Authorizes a Notary to seek appropriate judicial protective orders when the journal is requested for examination by law enforcement, subpoenaed by court order, or directed by the Secretary of State to be surrendered.
  9. Provides that a Notary shall charge not more than $1 per copy for copies provided to law enforcement or a court, but the Notary shall not charge the Secretary of State for copies the Secretary requests.
  10. Requires a Notary to safeguard the journal and all other notarial records and surrender or destroy them only by court order or at the direction of the Secretary of State.
  11. Requires the Notary to keep the journal in a secure area under the exclusive control of the Notary when not in use and not allow it to be used by any other Notary, nor surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment.
  12. Provides that within 10 days after a Notary's journal is discovered to be stolen, lost, destroyed, damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable or unreadable, the Notary, after informing the appropriate law enforcement agency in the case of theft or vandalism, must notify the Secretary of State by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, and also provide a copy or identification number of any pertinent police report.
  13. Requires the Notary’s journal and notarial records to be delivered to the Secretary of State in accordance with RSMo 486.795 or 486.800 by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of a Notary commission.

Notary and Employer Liability

  1. Provides that a Notary is liable to any person for all damages proximately caused by the Notary’s negligence and intentional violation of law in addition to official misconduct as under current law.
  2. Provides that the Notary’s surety is liable for damages caused by the Notary’s negligence and intentional violation of law in addition to official misconduct as under current law, up to the dollar amount of the bond or of bond funds that have not been disbursed to other claimants, and limits the surety’s aggregate liability to the dollar amount of the bond.
  3. Provides that the Notary’s employer is liable for damages caused by the Notary’s negligence and intentional violation of law in addition to official misconduct as under current law, in performing a notarization during the course of employment if the employer directed, expected, encouraged, approved, or tolerated the negligence, violation of law or official misconduct, either in the particular transaction or impliedly by the employers previous action in at least one similar transaction involving any Notary employed by the employer.
  4. Provides that a Notary’s employer is liable to the Notary for all damages recovered from the Notary as a result of any violation of law by the Notary that was coerced by threat of the employer, if the threat, such as of demotion or dismissal, was made in reference to the particular notarization, or impliedly, by the employer’s previous action in at least one similar transaction involving any Notary employed by the employer.
  5. Provides that the Notary’s employer is liable to the Notary for damages caused by demotion, dismissal, or other action resulting from the Notary’s refusal to engage in a violation of law or misconduct.
  6. Clarifies that “negligence” in terms of liability does not include any good-faith determination made by the Notary pursuant to the obligations imposed by subdivision (3) of subsection 1 of RSMo 486.645 (the principal appears to understand the nature of the transaction requiring a notarial act) or subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of RSMo 486.645 (the principal appears to be acting of their own free will).
  7. Requires that to recover damages against a Notary, surety or employer, the Notary’s negligence, violation of law, or official misconduct must be the proximate, but not the sole cause of the damages.
  8. Provides that the liability provisions also apply to electronic Notaries performing electronic notarial acts, and remote Notaries performing remote online notarial acts.

Other Notarial Acts Provisions

  1. Provides rules for authenticating the seal and signature of a Notary in the form of a certificate of authority or Apostille in conformance with the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of October 5, 1961.
  2. Provides rules for a certificate of authority.
  3. Provides a form for a certificate of authority.
  4. Authorizes the Secretary of State to charge a fee as set forth in RSMo 28.160 for an Apostille or certificate of authority.
  5. Provides that notarial acts may be performed in Missouri by other individuals than a Notary, as specified.
  6. Provides for the recognition of notarial acts performed by notarial officers of other U.S. jurisdictions in Missouri.
  7. Provides for the recognition of notarial acts performed by notarial officers under U.S. law in Missouri.
  8. Provides for the recognition of notarial acts performed by notarial officers under foreign law in Missouri.
  9. Provides that a Notary is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both, for knowingly: (a) failing to require the presence of a principal at the time of a notarial act; (b) failing to identify a principal through personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence; or (c) executing a false notarial certificate under subsection 1 of RSMo 486.660.
  10. Provides that a Notary who knowingly performs any other act prohibited by RSMo 486 or fails to perform any other act required by RSMo 486 is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
  11. Provides that a person who is not a Notary and who knowingly acts as or otherwise impersonates a Notary is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
  12. Provides that any person who knowingly obtains, conceals, defaces, or destroys the seal, journal, or official records of a Notary is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500.
  13. Provides that any person who knowingly solicits, coerces, or in any way influences a Notary to commit official misconduct is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500.
  14. Provides that a person who knowingly obtains, conceals, damages, or destroys the coding, disk, certificate, card, token, program, software, or hardware that is intended exclusively to enable an electronic Notary to produce a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or single element combining the required features of an electronic signature and Notary seal, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.

Rules

  1. Authorizes the Secretary of State to promulgate rules that are reasonable and necessary to accomplish the duties specifically delegated to the Secretary in RSMo 486.
  2. Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate rules providing for appeals from denials of applications.
  3. Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate rules providing for appeals for revocation.
  4. Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate rules for hearings and appeals on suspension.

Electronic Notary Public; Electronic Notarial Acts

Definitions

  1. Defines “capable of independent verification”, “electronic”, “electronic document”, “electronic journal of notarial acts” and “electronic journal”, “electronic notarial act” and “electronic notarization”, electronic notarial certificate”, “electronic Notary public”, “electronic Notary seal”, “electronic signature”, “registered electronic Notary seal”, “registered electronic signature”, and “security procedure”.

Electronic Notarization Registration

  1. Requires a person to be a commissioned Missouri Notary prior to performing electronic notarial acts.
  2. Requires a Notary to register with the Secretary of State to perform electronic notarial acts before performing electronic notarizations.
  3. Requires a Notary to re-register when renewing the Notary commission.
  4. Authorizes a person to apply or reapply for a Notary commission and register or reregister to perform electronic notarizations at the same time.
  5. Requires a Notary to complete a course on laws, procedures, and ethics pertaining to electronic notarization approved by the Secretary of State and pass an exam.
  6. Provides that the content of the electronic notarization course shall be notarial laws, procedures, and ethics pertaining to electronic notarization.
  7. Provides that the term of registration of an electronic Notary begins on the registration starting date set by the Secretary of State, and continues until the Notary’s commission remains in effect, unless terminated.
  8. Provides the information and declarations required to be in the application form for registering to perform electronic notarial acts, as specified.
  9. Authorizes a Notary to register at the same or different times one or more respective means for producing electronic signatures and electronic Notary seals.
  10. Requires the Secretary of State to deny registration to any applicant submitting an electronic registration form that contains a material misstatement or omission of fact.
  11. Provides that records pertaining to a Notary’s application for registration as an electronic Notary may only to be used by the Secretary of State or Secretary’s designated employees for the purpose of the commission, and shall not be disclosed to anyone other than a government agency authorized to obtain such information, a person authorized by court order, or the applicant or applicant’s authorized agent.
  12. Provides that the liability, sanctions, and remedies for the improper performance of electronic notarial acts by an electronic Notary are the same as described and provided in RSMo 486.805 for the improper performance of nonelectronic notarial acts.
  13. Requires the Secretary of State to terminate an electronic Notary's registration for any of the following reasons (a) submission of an electronic registration form containing a material misstatement or omission of fact; (b) failure to maintain the capability to perform electronic notarial acts, except as allowed in RSMo 486. 985, subsection 1, subdivision (3); or (c) the electronic Notary's performance of official misconduct.
  14. Provides that prior to terminating an electronic Notary's registration, the Secretary of State must inform the Notary of the basis for the termination and that the termination shall take place on a particular date unless a proper appeal is filed with the Secretary before that date.
  15. Provides that neither resignation nor expiration of a Notary commission or of an electronic Notary registration precludes or terminates an investigation by the Secretary of State into the electronic Notary's conduct, and further provides that the investigation may be pursued to a conclusion, whereupon it shall be made a matter of public record regardless of whether the finding would have been grounds for termination of the commission or registration of the electronic Notary.

Electronic Notary Status Changes

  1. Requires an electronic Notary within 5 business days after the change of an electronic Notary's e-mail address, to electronically transmit to the Secretary of State a notice of the change secured by a registered electronic signature of the Notary.
  2. Provides that any change or addition to the data on the electronic registration form described in RSMo 486.920, including any change to an electronic journal's access instructions, must be reported within 10 days to the Secretary of State.
  3. Provides that upon becoming aware that the status, functionality, or validity of the means for producing a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or single element combining the signature and seal, has changed, expired, terminated, or become compromised, the Notary must (a) immediately notify the Secretary of State; (b) cease producing seals or signatures in electronic notarizations using that means; (c) perform electronic notarizations only with a currently registered means or another means that has been registered within thirty days; and (d) dispose of any software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that has been rendered defunct, in the manner described in subsection 1 of RSMo 486.995.
  4. Provides that the Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the electronic status of a Notary who has no other currently registered means for producing electronic signatures or Notary seals, and, if such means is not registered within 30 days, electronic status shall be terminated.
  5. Provides that any revocation, resignation, expiration, or other termination of the commission of a Notary immediately terminates any existing registration as an electronic Notary.
  6. Provides that a Notary's decision to terminate registration as an electronic Notary does not automatically terminate the underlying commission of the Notary.
  7. Provides that a Notary who terminates registration as an electronic Notary shall notify the Secretary of State in writing and dispose of any pertinent software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program as described in subsection 1 of RSMo 486.995.
  8. Provides that if the commission of an electronic Notary expires or is resigned or revoked, if registration as an electronic Notary terminates, or if an electronic Notary dies, the Notary or the Notary's duly authorized representative shall, within 30 business days, permanently erase or expunge the software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that is intended exclusively to produce registered electronic Notary seals, registered single elements combining the required features of an electronic signature and Notary seal, or registered electronic signatures that indicate status as a Notary.
  9. Provides that a former electronic Notary whose previous commission expired is not subject to the requirements of RSMo 486.995, subsection 1, if the electronic Notary, within 3 months after expiration, is recommissioned and reregistered as an electronic Notary using the same registered means for producing electronic Notary seals and signatures.

Electronic Notarial Acts

  1. Authorizes the following notarial acts to be performed electronically: (a) acknowledgments; (b) jurats; (c) signature witnessings; and (d) copy certifications.
  2. Requires a Notary to perform an electronic notarial act only if the principal: (a) is in the presence of the Notary at the time of the notarization, (b) is personally known or identified through satisfactory evidence, (c) appears to understand the nature of the transaction, (d) is acting on his or her own free will, (e) communicates directly in a language understood by the Notary, and (f) reasonably establishes the electronic signature as his or her own.

Standards of Practice for Electronic Notarization

  1. Clarifies that RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010 supplement the provisions of RSMo 486.600 to 486.825 for in person electronic notarial acts, and further clarifies that to the extent RSMo 486.600 to 486.825 are inconsistent with RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010, the provisions of RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010 control regarding the performance of in person electronic notarial acts.
  2. Requires that in performing electronic notarial acts, an electronic Notary must adhere to all applicable laws governing notarial acts provided in RSMo 486.

Electronic Notary Fees

  1. Provides that the maximum fees, travel fee provisions, prohibition against discrimination in charging fees, provisions related to employee Notaries in RSMo 486.695, and provisions for displaying or presenting a schedule of fees, authorization for advance payment of fees and nonrefundable fees are the same for electronic notarial acts as they are for notarial acts.

Electronic Notarial Certificate, Seal and Signature

  1. Provides that in performing an electronic notarial act, the electronic Notary must properly complete an electronic notarial certificate.
  2. Requires an electronic notarial certificate to contain: (a) completed wording appropriate to the particular electronic notarial act, as prescribed in subsection 3 of RSMo 486.935; (b) a registered electronic signature; and (c) a registered electronic Notary seal.
  3. Requires a registered electronic Notary seal to include: (a) the name of the electronic Notary fully and exactly as it is spelled on the Notary's commissioning document; (b) the jurisdiction that commissioned and registered the electronic Notary; (c) the title "Electronic Notary Public"; (d) the commission or registration number of the electronic Notary; and (e) The commission expiration date of the electronic Notary.
  4. Requires the wording of an electronic notarial certificate to be in a form that: (a) is set forth in RSMo 486.740 to 486.750; (b) is otherwise prescribed by the law of this state; (c) Is prescribed by a law, regulation, or custom of another jurisdiction, provided it does not require actions by the electronic Notary that are unauthorized by this state; or (d) describes the actions of the electronic Notary in such a manner as to meet the requirements of the particular notarial act, as defined in RSMo 486.600 or 486.900.
  5. Requires an electronic notarial certificate to be worded and completed using only letters, characters, and a language that are read, written, and understood by the electronic Notary.
  6. Provides that in notarizing an electronic document, the Notary shall attach to, or logically associate with, the electronic notarial certificate a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal, or a registered single element containing both a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal in such a manner that the signature and the seal, or the single element, are attributed to the electronic Notary as named on the commission.
  7. Provides that for documents presented to a recorder of deeds for recording, a physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal is not required if the Notary has attached an electronic notarial certificate that meets the requirements of RSMo 59.
  8. Requires a registered electronic signature to be: (a) unique to the electronic Notary; (b) capable of independent verification; (c) attached to or logically associated with an electronic notarial certificate in such a manner that any subsequent alteration of the certificate or underlying electronic document prominently displays evidence of the alteration; and (d) attached or logically associated by a means under the electronic Notary's sole control.
  9. Prohibits an employer of an electronic Notary from using or controlling the means for producing registered electronic signatures and Notary seals, or registered single elements combining the required features of both.
  10. Prohibits an employer of an electronic Notary from retaining any software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that is intended exclusively to produce a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or combined single element, regardless of whether the employer financially supported the employee's activities as a Notary upon termination of a Notary's employment.
  11. Clarifies that a registered electronic signature may be used by the electronic Notary for lawful purposes other than performing electronic notarizations, provided that neither the title "Notary" nor any other indication of status as a notarial officer is part of the signature.
  12. Prohibits a registered electronic Notary seal or a combined single element containing the seal from being used by the electronic Notary for any purpose other than performing lawful electronic notarizations.
  13. Provides that at all times the means for producing registered electronic Notary seals, or registered single elements, must be kept under the sole control of the electronic Notary.

Journal of Electronic Notarizations

  1. Requires an electronic Notary to keep, maintain, protect, and provide for lawful inspection a chronological journal of notarial acts that is permanently bound with numbered pages and an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts.
  2. Requires an electronic Notary to keep a record of electronic notarial acts in the permanently bound journal.
  3. Provides that a Notary must maintain only one active permanently bound journal at the same time, except that a backup of each active and inactive electronic journal must be retained by the Notary in accordance with subdivision (3) of subsection 1 of RSMo 486.950 if each respective original electronic journal is retained.
  4. Specifies the entries that must be recorded in the electronic Notary’s electronic journal, which are the same entries as for a permanently bound journal of notarial acts, and in addition allows the electronic journal to contain a recognized biometric identifier in accordance with subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of RSMo 486.950 as evidence of a principal’s identity and requires the electronic journal to contain the name of any authority issuing or registering the means used to create the electronic signature that was notarized, the source of this authority's license, if any, and the expiration date of the electronic process.
  5. Provides that the same rules that prohibit recording a Social Security or credit card number, recording the circumstances for not performing or completing any requested electronic notarial act and amending the journal entry of an electronic notarization that the Notary corrects are the same as the corresponding rules for paper-based journals.
  6. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to allow journal entries to be made, viewed, printed, and copied only after access is obtained by a procedure that uses two factors of authentication.
  7. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to not allow a journal entry to be deleted or altered in content or sequence by the electronic Notary or any other person after a record of the electronic notarization is entered and stored, except that an entry may be deleted if the retention period set forth in subsection 4 of RSMo 486.950 has passed.
  8. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to have a backup system in place to provide a duplicate record of electronic notarial acts as a precaution in the event of loss of the original record.
  9. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to be capable of capturing and storing the image of a handwritten or electronic signature and the data related to one other type of recognized biometric identifier.
  10. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to be capable of printing and providing electronic copies of any entry, including images of handwritten signatures and the data related to the other selected type of recognized biometric identifier.
  11. Provides that in maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts, an electronic Notary public must comply with the applicable prescriptions and prohibitions regarding the copying, security, surrender, and disposition of a journal as set forth in RSMo 486.710 to 486.715 and RSMo 486.795 to 486.800.
  12. Requires every electronic Notary maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts pursuant to RSMo 486.945 to: (a) Provide to the Secretary of State authorization on the registration form described in RSMo 486.920 and the access instructions that allow journal entries to be viewed, printed, and copied in read-only access; and (b) notify the Secretary of any subsequent change to the access instructions.
  13. Provides that an electronic Notary maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts must keep the entry for a period of no less than 10 years from the date of the entry and must also keep a record of electronic notarial acts in a permanently bound journal as set forth in RSMo 486.700 and 486.705.

Other Electronic Notarization Provisions

  1. Provides rules for authenticating the seal and registered electronic signature of an electronic Notary in conformance with any current and pertinent international treaties, agreements, and conventions subscribed by the government of the United States.
  2. Provides rules for an electronic certificate of authority.
  3. Provides a form for an electronic certificate of authority.
  4. Authorizes the Secretary of State to charge a maximum fee of $10 for an electronic Apostille or certificate of authority.
  5. Clarifies that the criminal penalties for impersonating an electronic Notary and for soliciting, coercing, or improperly influencing an electronic Notary to commit official misconduct in performing notarial acts are the same penalties described in subsection 6 of RSMo 578.700 in regard to performing nonelectronic notarial acts.

Remote Online Notary Public; Remote Online Notarial Acts

Definitions

  1. Defines “appears in person before the Notary” or “personally appear before the Notary” or “in the presence of the Notary”, “communication technology”, “credential analysis”, “electronic”, “electronic Notary seal” and “electronic seal”, “electronic signature”, “identity proofing”, “outside the United States”, “remote online notarization”, “remote online notary public”, “remote presentation” and “remotely located individual”.

Remote Online Notarization Software Approval

  1. Requires the Secretary of State to approve the software to be used in remote online notarial acts.
  2. Provides that the Secretary of State may only approve remote online notarization software that, at a minimum: (a) records and archives the remote online session; (2) provides sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the remote online Notary and the principal to see and communicate to each other simultaneously through live, real time transmission; (c) provides reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the live transmission of the audio-video communication, a recording of the audio-video communication, the verification methods and credentials used to verify the identity of the principal, the electronic documents presented for electronic notarization; (d) utilizes video technology to be used in a remote electronic notarization session that provides sufficient high-definition for the Notary to reasonably assess the principal's comprehension and volition; (e) permits the remote online Notary to identify the principal to the remote online Notary's satisfaction through a form of authentication that complies with RSMo 486.1145; (f) permits the principal to identify the remote online Notary to his or her satisfaction; and (g) presents the document being notarized as an electronic document.
  3. Requires the Secretary of State to test and certify remote online notarization software before being used by a remote online Notary and clarifies that the expenses of any such testing must be paid by the vendor of the software.

Remote Online Notarization Registration

  1. Provides that prior to performing remote online notarial acts, a person shall apply to be a commissioned Missouri Notary.
  2. Requires a remote online Notary to register the capability to perform remote online notarial acts with the Secretary of State before performing remote online notarial acts.
  3. Provides that upon recommissioning, a Notary shall again register with the Secretary of State before performing remote online notarizations.
  4. Provides that a person may apply or reapply for a Notary commission and register or reregister to perform remote online notarial acts at the same time.
  5. Provides that before initially registering the capability to perform remote online notarial acts, a Notary shall complete a course of instruction as approved by the Secretary of State, in addition to the course required for commissioning as a Notary, and pass an examination based on the course.
  6. Provides that the content of the remote online notarization course shall be notarial laws, procedures, and ethics pertaining to remote online notarization.
  7. Requires a Notary who registers to perform remote online notarizations to electronically sign and submit to the Secretary of State an electronic form prescribed by the Secretary that includes: (a) the information required in subsection 1 of RSMo 486.920;  (b) the technology that the remote online Notary will use; and (c) any other information, evidence, or declaration required by the Secretary.
  8. Requires the Secretary of State to deny registration to any applicant submitting an electronic registration form that contains a material misstatement or omission of fact.
  9. Clarifies that information in the registration form of an electronic Notary shall be used by the Secretary and designated state employees only for the purpose of performing official duties, shall be a closed record as described in chapter 610, and shall not be disclosed to any person other than: (a) a government agent acting in an official capacity and duly authorized to obtain such information; (b) a person authorized by court order; or (c) the registrant or the registrant's duly authorized agent.
  10. Provides that the term of registration of an electronic Notary shall begin on the registration starting date set by the Secretary of State and continues as long as the Notary's commission remains in effect or until registration is terminated.

Remote Online Notary Status Changes

  1. Provides that upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of a Notary commission, or death of the remote online Notary: (a) the journal and notarial records shall be delivered to the Secretary of State in accordance with RSMo 486.795 or 486.800 by any means providing a tangible receipt, including certified mail and electronic transmission, allowing that an electronic journal may be delivered on disk, printed on paper, or transmitted electronically, in accordance with the requirements of the Secretary; and (b) in the case of an electronic journal and its backup copy whose disks or other physical storage media are not required to be surrendered, no further entries shall be made in the journal and its backup, both of which shall be safeguarded until both shall be erased or expunged after ten years from the date of the last entry by the Notary or the Notary's personal representative.

Remote Online Notarial Acts

  1. Provides that only acknowledgments and jurats may be performed as remote online notarizations.

Standards of Practice for Remote Online Notarizations

  1. Provides that RSMo 486.1100 to 486.1205 supplement the provisions of RSMo 486.600 to 486.820 and RSMo 486.900 to 486.1010 for remote online notarial acts.
  2. Provides that to the extent RSMo 486.600 to 486.820 and 486.900 to 486.1010 are inconsistent with RSMo 486.1100 to 486.1205, the provisions of 486.1100 to 486.1205 control regarding remote online notarial acts.
  3. Provides that a remote online Notary has satisfactory evidence of identity of an individual requesting a remote online notarization if the remote online Notary confirms the identity of the person by: (a) personal knowledge of the identity; (b) each of the following, if approved by rules adopted by the Secretary of State: remote presentation by the person of an identification credential, including a passport or driver's license, that contains a photograph and the signature of the person, credential analysis, and identity proofing of the person described in paragraph (a) of this subdivision; (c) any other method that complies with any rules adopted by the Secretary of state; or (d) A valid certificate that complies with any rules adopted by the Secretary of State.
  4. Provides that a remote online Notary shall perform a remote online notarization only if the principal: (a) is in the presence of the Notary utilizing live audio-video conferencing technology at the time of notarization; (b) Is personally known to the Notary or identified by the Notary through satisfactory evidence as set forth in RSMo 486.1145; (c) appears to understand the nature of the transaction; (4) appears to be acting of his or her own free will; (5) communicates directly with the Notary in a language both understand; and (6) reasonably establishes the electronic signature as his or her own.
  5. Provides that a remote online Notary may perform a remote online notarization authorized in RSMo 486.1100 to 486.1205 only when physically located within Missouri.
  6. Provides that a remote online Notary may perform a remote online notarization for a remotely located individual who is physically located: (a) in Missouri; (2) outside Missouri but within the United States; or (3) outside the United States if the electronic notarization is not prohibited in the jurisdiction in which the principal is physically located at the time of the remote online notarial act.
  7. Provides that the validity of a remote online notarization performed by a remote online Notary in accordance with RSMo 486.1100 to 486.1205 shall be governed by the laws of Missouri.

Remote Online Notarization Fees

  1. Provides that in addition to the other fees allowed by RSMo 486.960, a remote online Notary may charge a remote online Notary transaction fee if the Notary and the principal agree upon the fee in advance of the notarial act being performed and the Notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the remote online transaction fee is separate from the notarial fee prescribed in subsection 2 of RSMo 486.960 and is not mandated by law.

Remote Online Notarial Certificate

  1. Provides that in performing a remote online notarial act, the remote online Notary must properly complete a remote online notarial certificate.
  2. Provides that a proper remote online notarial certificate must contain: (a) completed wording appropriate to the particular remote online notarial act, as prescribed in subsection 3 of this RSMo 486.1165; (b) a registered electronic signature; and (c) a registered electronic Notary seal.
  3. Provides that the wording of a remote online notarial certificate shall be in a form that: (a) is set forth in RSMo 486.1175; (b) is otherwise prescribed by the law of Missouri; (c) is prescribed by a law, regulation, or custom of another jurisdiction, provided it does not require actions by the remote online Notary that are unauthorized by this state; or (d) describes the actions of the remote online Notary in such a manner as to meet the requirements of the particular notarial act, as defined in RSMo 486.600, 486.900 or 486.1100.
  4. Requires an officer taking an acknowledgment to designate in the acknowledgment form, as provided in RSMo 442.210, whether the principal personally appeared before the officer physically pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection 1 RSMo 442.145 or by interacting with the officer by means of communication technology pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of RSMo 442.145.
  5. Clarifies that when personal appearance is by communication technology, it shall be deemed in compliance with RSMo 442.150 to 442.360 if the notarial officer amends the acknowledgment form to read "before me personally appears by means of communication of technology".
  6. Prescribes a statutory jurat certificate for a remote notarization of a signature or mark on an affidavit or other sworn or affirmed written declaration.
  7. Prescribes a statutory acknowledgment certificate for a remote notarization of a signature or mark of any person acknowledging on the person’s own behalf or in any representative capacity.
  8. Requires a remote online notarial certificate to be worded and completed using only letters, characters, and a language that are read, written, and understood by the remote online Notary.
  9. Provides that in notarizing an electronic document, the remote Notary shall attach to, or logically associate with, the electronic notarial certificate a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal, or a registered single element containing both a registered electronic signature and a registered electronic Notary seal in such a manner that the signature and the seal, or the single element, are attributed to the electronic Notary as named on the commission.
  10. Requires a registered electronic signature to be: (a) unique to the electronic Notary; (b) capable of independent verification; (c) attached to or logically associated with an electronic notarial certificate in such a manner that any subsequent alteration of the certificate or underlying electronic document prominently displays evidence of the alteration; and (d) attached or logically associated by a means under the electronic Notary's sole control.
  11. Prohibits an employer of an electronic Notary from using or controlling the means for producing registered electronic signatures and Notary seals, or registered single elements combining the required features of both.
  12. Prohibits an employer of an electronic Notary from retaining any software, coding, disk, certificate, card, token, or program that is intended exclusively to produce a registered electronic signature, Notary seal, or combined single element, regardless of whether the employer financially supported the employee's activities as a Notary upon termination of a Notary's employment.
  13. Clarifies that a registered electronic signature may be used by the electronic Notary for lawful purposes other than performing electronic notarizations, provided that neither the title "Notary" nor any other indication of status as a notarial officer is part of the signature.
  14. Prohibits a registered electronic Notary seal or a combined single element containing the seal from being used by the electronic Notary for any purpose other than performing lawful electronic notarizations.
  15. Provides that at all times the means for producing registered electronic Notary seals, or registered single elements, must be kept under the sole control of the electronic Notary.
  16. Requires a registered electronic Notary seal to include: (a) the name of the remote online Notary fully and exactly as it is spelled on the Notary's commissioning document; (b) the jurisdiction that commissioned and registered the remote online Notary; (c) the title "Electronic Notary Public"; (d) the commission or registration number of the remote online Notary; and (e) The commission expiration date of the remote online Notary.
  17. Requires a remote online Notary to keep the remote online Notary's electronic document, electronic signature, and electronic seal secure and under the remote online Notary's exclusive control, which requirement may be satisfied by password controlled access.
  18. Prohibits a remote online Notary from allowing another person to use the remote online Notary's electronic document, electronic signature, or electronic seal.
  19. Requires a remote online Notary to attach the remote online Notary's electronic signature and seal to the electronic notarial certificate of an electronic document in a manner that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic document evident.

Journal of Remote Online Notarizations

  1. Requires a Notary who is registered as a remote online Notary (a) to keep an electronic journal of remote online notarial acts as described in RSMo 486.1190; and (b) also keep a record of remote online notarial acts in the permanently bound journal.
  2. Provides that a Notary must maintain only one active permanently bound journal at the same time, except that a backup of each active and inactive electronic journal shall be retained by the Notary in accordance with subdivision (3) of subsection 1 of RSMo 486.1190 as long as each respective original electronic journal is retained.
  3. Requires a Notary to keep the permanently bound journal for a period of no less than 10 years from the date of the last entry.
  4. Specifies the entries that must be recorded in the electronic Notary’s electronic journal, which are the same entries as for a permanently bound journal of notarial acts, and in addition allows the electronic journal to contain a recognized biometric identifier in accordance with subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of RSMo 486.1190 as evidence of a principal’s identity and requires the electronic journal to contain the name of any authority issuing or registering the means used to create the electronic signature that was notarized, the source of this authority's license, if any, and the expiration date of the electronic process.
  5. Provides that the same rules that prohibit recording a Social Security or credit card number, recording the circumstances for not performing or completing any requested electronic notarial act and amending the journal entry of an electronic notarization that the Notary corrects are the same as the corresponding rules for paper-based journals.
  6. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to allow journal entries to be made, viewed, printed, and copied only after access is obtained by a procedure that uses two factors of authentication.
  7. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to not allow a journal entry to be deleted or altered in content or sequence by the electronic Notary or any other person after a record of the electronic notarization is entered and stored, except that an entry may be deleted if the retention period set forth in subsection 4 of RSMo 486.1190 has passed.
  8. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to have a backup system in place to provide a duplicate record of electronic notarial acts as a precaution in the event of loss of the original record.
  9. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to be capable of capturing and storing the image of a handwritten or electronic signature and the data related to one other type of recognized biometric identifier.
  10. Requires an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts to be capable of printing and providing electronic copies of any entry, including images of handwritten signatures and the data related to the other selected type of recognized biometric identifier.
  11. Provides that in maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts, an electronic Notary must comply with the applicable prescriptions and prohibitions regarding the copying, security, surrender, and disposition of a journal as set forth in RSMo 486.710 to 486.715 and RSMo 486.795 to 486.800.
  12. Requires every electronic Notary maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts pursuant to RSMo 486.945 to: (a) provide to the Secretary of State authorization on the registration form described in RSMo 486.920 and the access instructions that allow journal entries to be viewed, printed, and copied in read-only access; and (b) notify the Secretary of any subsequent change to the access instructions.
  13. Provides that an electronic Notary maintaining an electronic journal of electronic notarial acts must keep the entry for a period of no less than 10 years from the date of the entry and must also keep a record of electronic notarial acts in a permanently bound journal as set forth in RSMo 486.700 and 486.705.

Recording of Remote Online Notarization

  1. Requires a remote online Notary to create an audio and video recording of the performance of the notarial act.
  2. Requires the recording of a remote online notarization to be maintained for at least 10 years after the date of the transaction or proceeding.
  3. Authorizes a remote online Notary to designate as custodian of the recording and the electronic journal: (a) the employer of the remote online Notary if evidenced by a record signed by the remote online Notary and the employer; or (b) a repository meeting the standards established by the Secretary of State.
  4. Requires an employer or other repository acting as the custodian of a recording or an electronic journal to comply with all statutory requirements regarding retention and disclosure of recordings and electronic journals applicable to Notaries.

Rules

  1. Authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt rules necessary to implement RSMo 486.1100 to 486.1205, including rules to facilitate remote online notarizations, subject to the limitations in RSMo 486.830.
  2. Requires the Secretary of State by rule to develop and maintain standards for remote online notarization in accordance with RSMo 486.1100 to 486.1205, including, but not limited to, standards for credential analysis and identity proofing, and further provides that such rules shall be subject to the limitations in RSMo 486.830.
  3. Requires the Secretary of State to promulgate rules establishing standards for the retention of a video and audio recording of the performance of the notarial act that are subject to the limitations in RSMo 486.830.
Analysis:

House Bill 1655 wins the distinction of being the most comprehensive -- and massive -- Notary reform legislation in recent decades. At a time when most states are enacting large remote online notarization bills, Missouri chose to overhaul its paper notarization statutes, amend its electronic notarization laws and add remote onine notarization provisions all in one bill. A delayed effective date for House Bill 1655 would have been warranted -- and understandable -- but the General Assembly determined instead that the bill will take effect on August 28, 2020, less than two months after the Governor approved the bill.

Read the bill text.

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