ND Senate Bill 2196 | NNA
Law

ND Senate Bill 2196

Notary Law Update: ND Senate Bill 2196

State: North Dakota

Summary:

Senate Bill 2196 institutes tougher performance standards for Notaries.

Signed:  April 04, 2007

Effective:  August 01, 2007

Chapter: 389

Affects:

Amends Section 44-06-02, 44-06-12, 44-06-31.1 and 44-06-13.2 of the North Dakota Century Code

Changes:
  1. Provides that a Notary commission must be issued to an applicant in the applicant’s legal name and authorizes the Secretary of State to obtain proof of the legal name.
  2. Provides wording for a statutory jurat certificate and requires Notaries to use this or a substantially similar form.
  3. Makes the following prohibited acts punishable as an infraction under North Dakota law: (a) notarizing a signature on a blank or incomplete document; (b) notarizing a foreign-language document without an accompanying English-language translation; (c) notarizing a copy or certified copy of any vital record entitled by law to be filed; (d) notarizing a copy or a certified copy of an instrument entitled by law to be recorded; (e) notarizing a copy or certified copy of a public record containing an official seal; and  (f) making or purporting to make any certified copy of a vital record, a recordable instrument or a public record containing an official seal. 
  4. Authorizes the Secretary of State to deny, suspend or revoke a commission upon any of the following grounds: (a) Conviction of an offense related to a Notary’s or Notary applicant’s honesty, integrity or trustworthiness which the Secretary determines would render the Notary or applicant unfit to serve the public; (b) Committing fraud, misrepresentation or making a false statement in obtaining or renewing a commission; (c) Failure to report in writing to the Secretary the Notary’s conviction by a court of a felony within 90 days of the date of the conviction; and (d) performing a prohibited act contained in Section 44-06-13.1.​
  5. Authorizes the Secretary of State to impose a lesser sanction, including a civil penalty not to exceed $500 or a letter of reprimand, for any of the grounds for which the Secretary may deny, suspend or revoke a commission.
  6. Authorizes any member of the public to submit a complaint seeking denial, suspension or revocation of a Notary’s commission under oath on a form provided by the Secretary of State, and provides for an administrative hearing, adjudication and reinstatement process.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 2196 institutes welcomed tougher performance standards for Notaries. In particular, making it a prohibited act to notarize any blank or incomplete document is an important fraud-deterrent protection long espoused by the NNA. In addition, formalizing the grounds upon which the Secretary of State can impose sanctions on a Notary will help elevate the integrity and stature of the North Dakota Notary Public office. The addition of wording for a jurat certificate to the law helps remedy the prior lack of a statutory certificate.

Read the bill text.

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