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Law

NM Senate Bill 12

Notary Law Update: NM Senate Bill 12

State: New Mexico

Summary:
Senate Bill 12 enacts the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), including authorization for Notaries to perform remote online notarizations.

Signed:  April 05, 2021

Effective:  January 01, 2022

Chapter: 21

Affects:
Adds as yet uncodified Sections to and repeals Sections 14-12A-1 through 14-12A-26 (Model Notary Act) and 14-14-1 through 14-14-11 (Uniform Law on Notarial Acts) of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated.

Changes:

Definitions

  1. This bill defines “acknowledgment,” “communication technology,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “in a representative capacity,” “notarial act,” “notarial officer,” “notary public,” “official stamp,” “outside the United States,” “person,” “record,” “remotely located individual,” “’sign’ or ‘subscribe,’” “stamping device,” and “verification on oath or affirmation.”

Notary Public Commission

  1. Changes certain qualifications to become a Notary: (a) an applicant may now be a state resident or have a place of employment in New Mexico; (b) an applicant must be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.; (c) an applicant no longer must not have pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or been convicted of a felony as under current law; (d) An applicant no longer must not have had a Notary Public commission revoked during the past five years as under current law; (e) an applicant must pass the examination required of applicants who do not hold a New Mexico Notary commission; and (f) an applicant must not otherwise be qualified as a notarial officer; however, an individual who is employed as a court clerk, deputy court clerk, county clerk or deputy county clerk may also be commissioned as a Notary.
  2. Provides that the surety or issuing entity of the Notary’s bond (assurance) shall give thirty days’ notice to the Secretary of State before canceling the assurance and must notify the Secretary not later than thirty days after making a payment to a claimant under the bond (assurance).
  3. Clarifies that a Notary may only perform notarial acts during the period that a valid bond (assurance) is on file with the Secretary of State.
  4. Requires an applicant who does not hold a New Mexico Notary Public commission to have passed an examination.
  5. Requires the Secretary of State or an entity approved by the Secretary to regularly shall offer a course of study that covers the laws, regulations, procedures, and ethics relevant to notarial acts to individuals who do not hold a New Mexico Notary commission.
  6. Provides that a notarial officer authorized to practice law in New Mexico may obtain one unit of continuing legal education credit, pursuant to rules established by the board of bar commissioners of the state of New Mexico, for participating in continuing legal education related to performing the notarial acts.
  7. Provides that the state ethics commission may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a commission as a Notary for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a Notary, including: (a) a failure to comply with the RULONA; (b) a fraudulent, dishonest, or deceitful misstatement or omission in the application for a commission; (c) a conviction of a felony or crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit or during the five years immediately preceding appointment; (d) a finding against or an admission of liability in a legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on fraud, dishonesty, or deceit; (e) failure to discharge any duty required of a Notary, whether imposed by the RULONA or rules adopted by the Secretary of State; (f) use of false or misleading advertising or representation by the Notary representing that the notary public has a duty, right, or privilege that the Notary does not have; (g) denial, refusal to renew, revocation, suspension, or conditions of a Notary commission by another state; (h) failure to maintain a bond (assurance); or (i) if the individual ceases to be a resident of New Mexico or to be employed in New Mexico.
  8. Clarifies that the Secretary of State may deny or refuse to renew the commission of a Notary upon notice from the state ethics commission of adverse action upon a Notary.
  9. Clarifies that an action taken against the commission of a Notary does not preclude a person from seeking and obtaining any other criminal or civil remedy provided by law for redress of harm caused by the Notary.
  10. Clarifies that a commission to act as a Notary authorizes the Notary to perform notarial acts but does not provide the Notary any immunity or benefit conferred by New Mexico law on public officials or employees.
  11. Requires the Secretary of State to maintain a database of Notaries Public that provides information and a means through which a person may verify the authority of a Notary to perform notarial acts and indication of whether a Notary has notified the secretary of state that the Notary will be performing notarial acts on electronic records.
  12. Clarifies that a commission as a Notary in effect on January 1, 2022, continues until its date of expiration.
  13. Clarifies that a notarial officer authorized to practice law in New Mexico is authorized to practice notarial acts with no expiration of this authority but shall maintain an active license to practice law.
  14. Provides that a Notary not authorized to practice law in New Mexico who applies to renew a commission as a notary on or after January 1, 2022, is subject to and shall comply with the RULONA.
  15. Clarifies that a Notary or notarial officer, in performing notarial acts after January 1, 2022, shall comply with the RULONA.

Authority to Perform or Refuse to Perform Notarizations

  1. Authorizes a notarial officer to certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record.
  2. Authorizes a Notary or a person acting on behalf of a Notary to charge a maximum fee of $25 or other amount established by rule by the Secretary of State for the performance of a remote online notarization.
  3. Provides that a notarial officer who takes an acknowledgment shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer and making the acknowledgment has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual.
  4. Provides that a notarial officer who takes a verification of a statement on oath or affirmation shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer and making the verification has the identity claimed and that the signature on the statement verified is the signature of the individual.
  5. Provides that a notarial officer who witnesses or attests to a signature shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer and signing the record has the identity claimed.
  6. Provides that a notarial officer who certifies or attests a copy of a record or an item that was copied shall determine that the copy is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the record or item.
  7. Provides that a notarial officer who witnesses or attests to a signature shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual in accordance with St. Gov’t 18-206, that the individual appearing before the notarial officer and signing the record has the identity claimed.
  8. Provides that a notarial officer who makes or notes a protest of a negotiable instrument shall determine the matters set forth in Subsection B of Section 55-3-505 NMSA 1978.
  9. Requires a Notary or notarial officer to perform all notarial acts pursuant to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts or by law of this state other than the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.
  10. Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act with respect to a record to which the officer or the officer's spouse or domestic partner is a party or in which either of them has a direct beneficial interest, and further provides that a notarial act that is performed in violation of this rule is voidable.
  11. Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act with respect to a record to which the notarial officer or the spouse of the notarial officer is a party, or in which either the notarial officer or the spouse of the notarial officer has a direct beneficial interest and further provides that a notarial act performed in this manner is voidable.
  12. Authorizes a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act if the officer is not satisfied that the individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to execute the record, or the individual’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made.
  13. Authorizes a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by a state or federal law other than the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.
  14. Prohibits a notarial officer from discriminate in the performance of a notarial act pursuant to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.

Appearance and Identification of Signer; Signature of Person Unable to Sign

  1. Provides that if a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature must appear personally before the notarial officer.
  2. Provides that a remotely located individual may comply with the requirement to appear personally before a Notary by using communication technology.
  3. Provides that a notarial officer has personal knowledge of the identity of an individual personally appearing before the notarial officer if the individual is personally known to the notarial officer through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed.
  4. Provides that a notarial officer has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual personally appearing before the notarial officer if the notarial officer can identify the individual by means of a passport, driver’s license, government-issued nondriver identification card, or another form of government identification issued to the individual that is current or expired not more than one year before performance of the notarial act, contains the signature and photograph of the individual and is satisfactory to the notarial officer.
  5. Provides that a notarial officer also has satisfactory evidence of identity if the notarial officer can identify the individual by a verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness who is personally appearing before the notarial officer and known to the officer or whom the officer can identify on the basis of a passport, driver’s license, consular identification, or government-issued nondriver identification card that is current or expired not more than one year before performance of the notarial act.
  6. Authorizes a notarial officer to require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the officer of the identity of the individual.
  7. Authorizes an individual who is physically unable to sign a record to direct another individual than the notarial officer who is concurrently appearing before the notarial officer with the individual who cannot sign to sign the individual’s name on the record.
  8. Requires a notarial officer who notarizes the signature of an individual who is physically unable to sign a record and directs a third person to sign on his or her behalf to insert on the record the following words or words of similar import: “Signature affixed by (name of other individual) at the direction of (name of individual).”

Notarial Certificate and Official Stamp

  1. Requires a notarial act to be evidenced by a certificate of the notarial act.
  2. Requires a notarial certificate to be executed contemporaneously with the performance of the notarial act.
  3. Requires a notarial certificate to include (a) the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed; (b) the title of the notarial officer; (c) the date of expiration of the Notary’s commission; (d) the judicial district or area serve if the notarial officer is a judge, court clerk, or deputy court clerk; (e) the county served if the notarial officer is a county clerk or deputy county clerk; and (f) the state bar number if the notarial officer is an attorney but is not a judge, court clerk, deputy court clerk, county clerk, or deputy county clerk.
  4. Requires a notarial certificate to be in English or in dual languages, one of which must be English.
  5. Requires a notarial certificate to be dated and signed by a Notary with the Notary’s signature in the same manner as on file with the Secretary of State.
  6. Requires a Notary to affix or emboss the Notary’s official stamp on the notarial certificate of a tangible record.
  7. Requires a notarial officer other than a Notary Public to affix or emboss an official stamp on the notarial certificate of a tangible record if the certificate of notarial act includes (a) the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed; (b) the title of the notarial officer; (c) the date of expiration of the Notary’s commission; (d) the judicial district or area serve if the notarial officer is a judge, court clerk, or deputy court clerk; (e) the county served if the notarial officer is a county clerk or deputy county clerk; and (f) the state bar number if the notarial officer is an attorney but is not a judge, court clerk, deputy court clerk, county clerk, or deputy county clerk.
  8. Requires a notarial officer or Notary Public to attach or logically associate an official stamp on a notarial certificate on an electronic record if the record includes (a) the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed; (b) the title of the notarial officer; (c) the date of expiration of the Notary’s commission; (d) the judicial district or area serve if the notarial officer is a judge, court clerk, or deputy court clerk; (e) the county served if the notarial officer is a county clerk or deputy county clerk; and (f) the state bar number if the notarial officer is an attorney but is not a judge, court clerk, deputy court clerk, county clerk, or deputy county clerk.
  9. Clarifies that the text of a notarial certificate is sufficient if it meets the requirements of uncodified Section 14, subsections A and B, is in a RULONA short form, is in a form otherwise allowed by New Mexico law, is in a form allowed by the laws applicable in the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed, or sets forth the actions of the notarial officer and the actions are sufficient to meet the requirements of uncodified Sections 4, 5, and 6 of the RULONA or New Mexico law other than the RULONA.
  10. Provides that by signing a notarial certificate, a notarial officer certifies he or she has complied with the requirements of uncodified Sections 4, 5, and 6 of the RULONA.
  11. Prohibits a notarial officer from signing a notarial certificate on a tangible or electronic record until the notarial act has been performed.
  12. Requires a notarial certificate to be affixed to, or logically associated with, the tangible record or electronic record, and further requires a notarial officer to follow any standards for attaching, affixing or logically associating the notarial certificate, if the Secretary has established standards.
  13. Prescribes short form certificates for all authorized notarial acts.
  14. Prescribes the following elements for the notarial officer’s official stamp: (a) the notarial officer’s name, (b) jurisdiction, (c) New Mexico state bar identification number if the Notary is a New Mexico attorney, (d) judicial district, if the officer is a judge, court clerk, or deputy county clerk, (e) county, if the officer is a county clerk or deputy county clerk, or Notary Public commission number and date of expiration, and (f) any other information required by the Secretary of State.
  15. Requires the official stamp must be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attach or with which it is logically associated (that is, on an electronic record).
  16. Requires a notarial officer’s official stamp to be filed with the Secretary of State before the officer performs the officer’s first notarial act.
  17. Clarifies that a Notary is responsible for the security of the Notary’s stamping device and may not allow another person to use the device to perform a notarial act.
  18. Requires the Notary to disable the stamping device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing or securing it against use in a manner that renders it unusable upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of the Notary’s commission or upon expiration of the date set forth in the stamping device.
  19. Requires the Notary’s personal representative or any other person knowingly in possession of the stamping device to disable the stamping device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing or securing it against use in a manner that renders it unusable upon the death or adjudication of incompetency of a Notary or former Notary.
  20. Requires a Notary or Notary’s personal representative to notify promptly the Secretary of State if the Notary’s stamping device is lost or stolen.

Journal

  1. Requires a Notary to keep a journal for all notarial acts the Notary performs.
  2. Requires a Notary to store all journals for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the journal.
  3. Permits the journal maintained by a Notary to be kept on a tangible medium or electronic format.
  4. Requires a journal kept on a tangible medium to be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages and a journal kept in electronic format to be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with the regulations of the Secretary of State.
  5. Requires a Notary to record a journal entry contemporaneously with the performance of the notarial act.
  6. Requires a Notary to maintain only one journal at a time if the Notary who is an attorney is performing notarial acts for members of the public unrelated to an established attorney-client relationship, but clarifies that the Notary may keep a separate journal for tangible records and one for electronic records.
  7. Prescribes the following entries for each journal record: (a) the date and time of the notarial act; (b) a description of the record, if any; (c) description of the record, if any, and the type of notarial act; (d) the full name and address of each individual for whom a notarial act is performed; and (e) a brief description of the method of identification (personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence) and the type, issuance date and expiration date of the credential presented, if any, used to identify the individual; and (f) the fee for the notarial act, if any.
  8. Requires a Notary on resignation from or the revocation or suspension of the Notary’s commission, to retain the journal and inform the Secretary of State where the journal is located.
  9. Provides that instead of retaining a journal, a current or former Notary may transmit the journal to a repository approved by the Secretary of State, the state records officer, or the Secretary.
  10. Provides that on the death or adjudication of incompetency of a current or former Notary, the Notary’s personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of the journal must transmit the journal to a repository approved by the Secretary of State, the state records officer, or the Secretary.
  11. Requires a Notary to promptly notify the Secretary of State if the Notary’s journal is lost or stolen.

Prohibited Acts and Advertising Requirements

  1. States that a commission to perform notarial acts does not allow an individual to (a) assist persons in drafting legal records, give legal advice or otherwise practice law; (b) act as an immigration consultant or expert on immigration matters; (c) represent a person in a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to immigration to the U.S. or U.S. citizenship or related matters; or (d) receive compensation for performing the activities in (a) through (c).
  2. Prohibits a Notary from engaging in false or deceptive advertising.
  3. Prohibits a Notary, other than an attorney licensed to practice law, to use the term “notario” or “notario publico.”
  4. Prohibits a Notary, other than an attorney licensed to practice law in New Mexico, from advertising or representing that the Notary may assist persons in drafting legal records, give legal advice, or otherwise practice law.
  5. Requires a Notary who is not an attorney and who in any manner advertises or represents that the Notary offers notarial services, whether orally or in a record, including broadcast or print media, and the Internet, to include the following statement or an alternative statement authorized by the Secretary of State in the advertisement or representation, prominently and in each language used in the advertisement or representation: “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in this state. I am not allowed to draft legal records, give advice on legal matters, including immigration, or charge a fee for those activities.”
  6. Provides that if the form of advertisement or representation is not broadcast media, print media, or the Internet and does not allow the inclusion of the statement required above because of size, the Notary must prominently display or provide at his or her place of business the statement before the notarial act is performed.
  7. Prohibits a Notary from withholding access to or possession of any original record provided by a person that requests performance of a notarial act, except as otherwise allowed by law.
  8. Prohibits a Notary from knowingly performing a notarial act for an individual who does not present satisfactory evidence of identity or for whom the Notary does not personally know.
  9. Sets a penalty of a misdemeanor and a fine not exceeding $1,000 for a notarial officer who performs any of the acts prohibited of a notarial officer.
  10. Sets a penalty of a misdemeanor, a fine of $500, and removal from office for an individual who performs a purported notarial act with knowledge that the individual’s commission as a Notary has expired or when the individual is otherwise disqualified from the office of Notary Public or as a notarial officer.

Notarization of Electronic Records

  1. Permits a Notary Public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts on electronic records.
  2. Prohibits any person from requiring a Notary Public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a technology the Notary has not selected.
  3. Requires a Notary to notify the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records and identify the technology the Notary intends to use prior to performing the Notary’s first notarial act on an electronic record.
  4. Clarifies that if the Secretary of State has established standards for approval of technology, the technology must conform to the standards; and further clarifies that the Secretary shall approve the technology if it complies with the standards.

Notarizations for Remotely Located Individuals

  1. Authorizes notarizations using communication technology for remotely located individuals.
  2. Requires a Notary who performs notarization using communication technology to identify remotely located individuals by (a) personal knowledge; (b) verification on oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before and identified by the Notary through a state-approved ID or as a remotely located individual; or (c) two forms of identity proofing.
  3. Requires a Notary who performs notarization using communication technology to reasonably confirm that a record before the Notary is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature.
  4. Requires a Notary, or a person acting on behalf and at the direction of the Notary, to create an audio-visual recording of the notarial act performed using communication technology.
  5. Requires a record that is notarized using communication technology for a remotely located individual who is outside the United States is to be filed with or relates to a matter before a public official or court, governmental entity, or other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; or must involve property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. or involves a transaction substantially connected with the U.S.
  6. Requires that the act of making the statement or signing the record is prohibited by the foreign state in which the remotely located individual is located.
  7. Requires a certificate for a notarial act performed by communication technology to indicate that the notarial act involved a remotely located individual and was performed using communication technology.
  8. Clarifies that the RULONA short form certificates are sufficient if they comply with any regulation adopted for the use of communication technology or contain a statement substantially as follows: “This notarial act involved a remotely located individual and the use of communication technology.”
  9. Requires a Notary, a guardian, a conservator, or an agent of a Notary or a personal representative of a deceased Notary to retain the audio-visual recordings of notarial acts or cause the audio-visual recording to be retained by a repository designated by or on behalf of the person required to retain the recordings.
  10. Provides that unless a different period is required by rules adopted by the Secretary of State, audio-visual recordings shall be retained for a period of at least 10 years after the recording is made.
  11. Requires a Notary to notify the Secretary of State of the Notary’s intent to perform notarial acts involving communication technology and the technologies the Notary intends to use prior to performing the Notary’s initial act using communication technology.

Recognition of Authority to Perform Notarial Acts

  1. Provides that a notarial act may be performed in New Mexico by: (a) a Notary Public of New Mexico; (b) a judge of a court of New Mexico; (c) a court clerk or deputy court clerk of New Mexico while performing a notarial act within the scope of a court clerk's or deputy court clerk's duties; (d) a county clerk or deputy county clerk while performing a notarial act within the scope of the county clerk's or deputy county clerk's duties; (e) an individual licensed to practice law in New Mexico; or (f) any other individual authorized to perform a specific notarial act by the law of this state other than the RULONA; provides that the signature and title of an individual performing the notarial act in New Mexico are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title and the signature and title of the notarial officer conclusively establishes the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act; and further provides that an official stamp is required if the laws of the New Mexico require an official stamp.
  2. Recognizes the notarial acts performed by notarial officers of another state as having the same effect under New Mexico law as if performed by a New Mexico notarial officer; provides that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in another state are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title, and the signature and title of a notarial officer conclusively establishes the authority of the notarial officer to perform the notarial act; and further provides that an official stamp is required if the laws of the state require an official stamp.
  3. Recognizes the notarial acts performed by notarial officers of a federally-recognized American Indian tribe as having the same effect under New Mexico law as if performed by a New Mexico notarial officer, and further provides that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act under the authority of and in the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and the individual holds the designated title, and the signature and title of a notarial officer conclusively establishes the authority of the notarial officer to perform the notarial act; and further provides that an official stamp is required if the laws of the tribe require an official stamp.
  4. Recognizes the notarial acts performed by the following officers under federal law as having the same effect under New Mexico law as if performed by a New Mexico notarial officer: (a) a judge, clerk or deputy clerk of a court; (b) an individual in military service or performing duties under the authority of military service who is authorized to perform notarial acts under federal law; (c) an individual designated a notarial officer by the United States Department of State for performing notarial acts overseas; and (d) any other individual authorized by federal law to perform the notarial act; and further provides that the signature and title of an individual acting under federal authority and performing a notarial act are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title, and the signature and title of a notarial officer conclusively establishes the authority of the notarial officer to perform the notarial act.
  5. Provides that if a notarial act is performed under the authority and in the jurisdiction of a foreign state or constituent unit of the foreign state or is performed under the authority of a multinational or international governmental organization, a notarial act has the same effect under New Mexico law as if performed by a notarial officer of New Mexico.
  6. Provides if the title of office and indication of authority to perform notarial acts in a foreign state appears in a digest of foreign law or in a list customarily used as a source for that information, the authority of an officer with that title to perform notarial acts is conclusively established.
  7. Provides that the signature and official stamp of an individual holding an office described are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and the individual holds the designated title.
  8. Provides that an apostille in the form prescribed by the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, and issued by a foreign state party to the Convention conclusively establishes that the signature of the notarial officer is genuine and that the officer holds the indicated office.
  9. Provides that a consular authentication issued by an individual designated by the United States Department of State as a notarizing officer for performing notarial acts overseas and attached to the record with respect to which the notarial act is performed conclusively establishes that the signature of the notarial officer is genuine and that the officer holds the indicated office.

Validity of Notarial Acts

  1. Provides that except as provided in the provision prohibiting a notarial officer from notarizing a record in which the officer or the officer's spouse or domestic partner is a party or in which either of them has a direct beneficial interest, the failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in the RULONA does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the notarial officer.
  2. Provides that the validity of a notarial act under the RULONA does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act or from seeking other remedies based upon other law; and that the Act does not validate a purported notarial act performed by an individual who does not have the authority to perform the act.
  3. Clarifies that the Act does not affect the validity and effect of a notarial act performed before the effective date of the Act under a law repealed by the Act.

Rules

  1. Permits the Secretary of State to adopt rules to implement the Act and provides areas in which the Secretary may publish rules.
  2. Stipulates that in adopting, amending, or repealing rules regarding notarial acts performed on electronic records, the Secretary shall consider, so far as it is consistent with the Act the standards, practices, and customs of other jurisdictions that substantially enact the RULONA.

Miscellaneous

  1. Clarifies that in applying and construing the Act, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among the states that enact it.
  2. Clarifies that the Act modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal E-SIGN Act, but does not modify, limit or supersede Section 101(c) of E-SIGN or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in Section 103(b) of E-SIGN.
  3. Allows members of the public to request journal entries or audiovisual recordings related to a notarial act transaction pursuant to the Inspection of Public Records Act, provides that a request must name the notarial act transaction with particularity, naming the document subject to the notarial act in the request, and provides that no request for documents relating to a notarial act that does not name the document subject to the notarial shall be enforceable pursuant to the Inspection of Public Records Act.
  4. Authorizes the Secretary of State to grant Notary commissions and not the Governor, as under current law.
  5. No longer vests enforcement of Notaries with the Governor, but it places that authority with the state ethics commission.
  6. Repeals NMSA Sections 14-12A-1 through 14-12A-26 (Model Notary Act) and 14-14-1 through 14-14-11 (Uniform Law on Notarial Acts).
  7. Makes conforming changes.
Analysis:

New Mexico becomes the twenty-second state to enact the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). In addition to revamping the state’s Notary Public statutes, the enactment of the RULONA also authorizes Notaries to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals. New Mexico thus becomes the thirty-second state overall and the third this year to adopt remote provisions. The new law makes two important changes to how Notaries are commissioned and regulated. Under current law the Governor both appoints and provides enforcement over Notaries, effective January 1, 2022, the Secretary of State will appoint Notaries and the State Ethics Commission will provide enforcement over Notaries. The RULONA replaces the Model Notary Act (published by the NNA) and the RULONA’s predecessor Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Applicants who do not hold a Notary commission in New Mexico, including attorneys, will be required to take an examination prior to being commissioned. In a big win, New Mexico will require all Notaries to keep a journal of notarial acts for all notarizations they perform. Journal enactments are hard to come by, but in 2021 already two states (Wyoming being the second) have pushed through journal enactments.

Read the bill text.

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