PA Senate Bill 1001 | NNA
Law

PA Senate Bill 1001

Notary Law Update: PA Senate Bill 1001

State: Pennsylvania

Summary:

Senate Bill 1001 corrects an error related to the time for filing a Notary applicant’s bond, oath and commission that was enacted in House Bill 25 of 2013 (Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts), removes the requirement that applicants obtain a senatorial endorsement on their applications for commissioning as a Notary, and permits the Department of State to promulgate regulations requiring applicants for a commission to submit criminal history record information.

SB 1001 has a staggered effective date.

Signed:  July 09, 2014

Effective:  July 09, 2014

Chapter: Act No. 119

Affects:

Amends Pennsylvania Statutes Title 57, Sections 321 and 327

Changes:
  1. Removes the requirement that a resident applicant for a Notary commission must obtain the endorsement of the applicant’s state senator, or if a nonresident, the endorsement of the state senator of the district in which the applicant is employed.
  2. Clarifies that within 45 days after appointment and before entering into the duties of a Notary, the bond, oath of office and commission must be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds of the county in which the notary public maintains an office.
  3. Permits the Department of State to promulgate regulations to require applicants for appointment and commission as Notaries to submit criminal history record information as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 91 (relating to criminal history record information) as a condition of appointment.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 1001 removes the requirement that applicants obtain a senatorial endorsement on their applications for commissioning as a Notary, a welcome change. Few states require such an endorsement anymore, which reflects the reality that in today’s society few senators actually know the individuals in their districts who seek the office of Notary Public, and thus cannot assess the character of an applicant for a commission. The bill also permits the Department of State to publish regulations to require applicants for a commission to submit criminal history record information. Note that this provision permits the Department to publish regulations to require this, but until a regulation is published, Notaries will not be required to do so. Under 18 P.S. 9102 “criminal history record information” is defined as follows: “Information collected by criminal justice agencies concerning individuals, and arising from the initiation of a criminal proceeding, consisting of identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrests, indictments, informations or other formal criminal charges and any dispositions arising therefrom. The term does not include intelligence information, investigative information or treatment information, including medical and psychological information, or information and records specified in section 9104 (relating to scope).” Chapter 91 of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Statutes governs how state agencies collect this information and any regulations adopted by the Department must comply with this chapter. Finally, SB 1001 corrects an error related to the time for filing a Notary applicant’s bond, oath and commission that was enacted in House Bill 25 of 2013 (Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts). This essentially is a “clean up” provision. When HB 25 was enacted last year, the bill unintentionally omitted the 45-day time filing requirement. The provision as enacted by HB 25 said: “Upon appointment and prior to entering into the duties of a notary public…” Thus, there was confusion as to when the oath, bond and commission had to be filed.  Note that the effective date of SB 1001 is staggered: the provision allowing the Department to promulgate regulations to require submission of criminal history record information takes effect immediately; the repeal of the senatorial endorsement takes effect on January 5, 2015, and the provision related to the time filing of the bond, oath and commission takes effect 180 days after publication of the notice under Section 4 of the RULONA (HB 205 of 2013). The effective date of SB 1001 and HB 25 of 2013 can be confusing. Since the time filing provision of HB 25 has not yet taken effect, the error corrected by SB 1001 will never become a problem. Notaries must currently file the bond, oath and commission within 45 days as provided in current statute that is operative until HB 25 takes effect.

Read the bill text.

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