ND Senate Bill 2196

Law

State: North Dakota
Signed: April 04, 2007

Effective: August 01, 2007
Chapter: 389

Summary

Senate Bill 2196 institutes tougher performance standards for Notaries.

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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