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Rule

NE Administrative Rules (2020)

Notary Law Update: NE Administrative Rules (2020)

State: Nebraska

Summary:

The Nebraska Secretary of State has adopted revised rules for Notary commissions, electronic Notary registration and electronic notarial acts, and online notarizations.

Signed:  June 10, 2020

Effective:  July 01, 2020

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

Amends Chapters 6 and 7 of and adds new Chapter 8 to Title 433 of the Nebraska Administrative Code.

Changes:

Notary Commission

  1. Clarifies that malfeasance in office occurs when a Notary fails to respond to written communications or requests from the Secretary of State.
  2. Clarifies that all forms related to a Notary Public commission shall be made available to all applicants on the Secretary of State’s website or upon request.
  3. Clarifies that a Notary appointment will not be made if the applicant has been convicted of a felony unless a full pardon has been granted by the Nebraska Board of Pardons.
  4. Clarifies that a Notary who has changed their name may apply for a new commission in the new name.
  5. Clarifies that if a change of name occurs within 30 days prior to the expiration of the Notary’s commission, the Notary does not need to submit the “Change of Signature or Name Application for a Notary Public” form but should instead include the name or signature change on the Notary’s renewal application.
  6. Clarifies that a “Change of Signature or Name Application for a Notary Public” form application will be considered a new application and the Notary must meet all requirements and qualifications for a Notary commission, except taking the written examination.
  7. Requires a Notary who is convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud or dishonesty during the Notary’s commission to notify the Secretary of State of the conviction in writing within 45 days after the conviction occurs.
  8. Clarifies that if an applicant does not pass the Notary examination, the applicant may be required to wait 30 days before retaking the examination and no longer requires an applicant who fails the second examination to wait at least 30 days before retaking the examination.
  9. Clarifies that the potential list of acts of malfeasance that will likely result in temporary or total revocation of the Notary’s commission or an official warning is a nonexclusive list.
  10. Provides that a failure to respond to written communications or requests from the Secretary of State within 30 days from the date the written communication or request was sent will likely result in a total revocation of the Notary’s commission.

Electronic Notary Registration

  1. Clarifies that if an electronic notary fails to renew their registration at the same time the Notary Public commission is renewed, the Notary must submit a new application for registration and meet all of the requirements of Title 433, Chapter 7, Section 003 of the rules to be registered as an electronic notary.
  2. Clarifies that the Secretary of State may designate a third-party training course for electronic Notary registration applicants if the Secretary determines there is a need for additional instructors and no longer requires a certified Notary Public instructor trained by the Secretary to be registered as an electronic Notary.
  3. Clarifies that an electronic Notary registrant must achieve a score of at least 85% to pass the electronic Notary examination.
  4. Provides that if an applicant fails the electronic Notary examination, the application for registration will be denied.
  5. Provides that an applicant who fails the electronic Notary examination may reapply for registration after waiting 30 days, including submitting a new application, paying the registration fee, taking the course of instruction, and passing the exam.
  6. Clarifies that an electronic Notary registrant who fails the examination 3 times will be considered incompetent to be registered as an electronic notary public and will not be eligible to take the exam again.

Electronic Notarization System Providers

  1. Clarifies that an electronic notarization system provider must verify the authorization of a Nebraska Notary Public to perform electronic notarial acts by confirming through the Secretary of State or the Secretary’s website should an online listing be made available.
  2. Requires an electronic notary solution provider to notify the Secretary of State within 45 days of changes, modifications, or updates to information previously submitted to the Secretary.
  3. Requires an approved electronic Notary solution provider to provide notice to the Secretary pursuant to the Electronic Notary Public Act and the administrative rules within 45 days before making available to Nebraska electronic Notaries any updates or subsequent versions of the provider’s system.
  4. Provides that the Secretary of State may remove the designation of an approved electronic Notary solution provider if the changes made to provider’s system do not meet the requirements of the Electronic Notary Public Act and the administrative rules.

Electronic Notary Signature and Seal

  1. Prohibits the employer of an electronic Notary or any of the employer’s employees or agents to use or permit the use of an electronic Notary seal or signature by anyone other than the authorized electronic Notary to whom it is registered.
  2. Requires access to electronic Notary signatures and electronic Notary seals to be protected by the use of a biometric authentication, password authentication, token authentication, or other form of authentication approved by the Secretary according to the Electronic Notary Public Act and the administrative rules.
Analysis:

The Nebraska Secretary of State has adopted permanent rules with changes related to the commissions of Notaries Public, registrations of electronic Notaries, electronic notarization system providers and electronic Notary signatures and seals. The rules also contain rules for online notarizations that are effective when Legislative Bill 186 is effective on July 1, 2020. Since the permanent online notarization rules are virtually identical to the emergency rules adopted by the Secretary on April 2, 2020, in response to Nebraska Governor Ricketts' executive order moving up the implementation date of Legislative Bill 186 due to the COVID-19 crisis, the changes are not noted here. See the emergency rules for a listing of the changes that affect the registration and performance of online notarial acts.

To read the administrative rules, click Download PDF.

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