TN House Bill 2356 | NNA
Law

TN House Bill 2356

Notary Law Update: TN House Bill 2356

State: Tennessee

Summary:

House Bill 2356 makes numerous changes to Tennessee's Notary statutes. It repeals the title "Notary Public at Large," gives every Notary statewide authority without having to file a signature sample in each county where the Notary operates and specifies the color of ink for a Notary's official seal.

Signed:  June 06, 2004

Effective:  July 01, 2004

Chapter: 854

Affects:

Amends Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 8, Chapter 16 and Section 8-21-201

Changes:
  1. Requires an applicant for election as a Notary to certify under penalty of perjury: (a) that the applicant has never been removed from the office of Notary for official misconduct; (b) that the applicant has never had a notarial commission revoked or suspended by Tennessee or any other state; and (c) that the applicant has never been found by any court to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
  2. Repeals a provision tying the Notary bond amount to the county’s population.
  3. Repeals a requirement that a Notary keep an office in the county of commissioning.
  4. Repeals a law requiring a Notary from one county to pay a $2.00 fee for filing in any additional county. Instead, it now stipulates that a Notary who moves from the county in which he or she was elected to another county in the state must notify the clerk of the original county and pay a fee of $7.00; the clerk will then notify the Secretary of State and hand over $2 of the fee to the Secretary.
  5. Clarifies that a Notary who moves out of the state would no longer qualify to act as a Notary and must surrender the commission; a violation of this provision would be a Class C misdemeanor
  6. Repeals and replaces the title “Notary Public at Large” with the new title “Notary Public for the State of Tennessee.”
  7. As a result of the above title change, the wording of the Notary seal is changed. At the top of the seal, the Notary’s name as appearing in the commission still appears. In the center of the seal, the words “State of Tennessee Notary Public” or “Tennessee Notary Public” must now appear. At the bottom, the Notary’s county of commissioning (without the state name) must now appear.
  8. Specifies that the color imprinted by a Notary’s seal may be any color except black or yellow, provided that it is clearly legible and appears as black when photocopied on a non-color copier.
  9. Exempts Notaries with current commissions from procuring a new-style seal or abiding by the new color rules until commission expiration. However, every Notary commissioned on or after July 1, 2004 must conform to the new rules.
  10. Repeals a requirement that a Notary who notarizes outside his/her county of election note this county of original appointment on the notarial certificate.
  11. Clarifies that documents imprinted with a stamp of the wrong color are still valid and the Notary or any person shall not incur civil or criminal liability for failure to imprint the seal in a color specified by law.
  12. Clarifies that the Secretary of State’s fee for commission of each Notary is $5.00. (Previously, $2.00 was collected for “Notaries at Large” and $3.00 for all other Notaries. These two separate fees were consolidated into one fee.)
  13. Reorganizes the entire chapter and makes other conforming changes.
Analysis:

House Bill 2356 makes numerous changes to Tennessee's Notary statutes. It repeals the title "Notary Public at Large," gives every Notary statewide authority without having to file a signature sample in each county where the Notary operates and specifies the color of ink for a Notary's official seal. By repealing the title of “Notary Public at Large,” this new law removes the last vestige from Tennessee statute of the time when there were two classes of Notaries: those with only countywide authority and those with statewide (“at large”) authority. Now, every Tennessee Notary has clear statewide authority without having to go to the trouble of filing a signature sample in each new county where the Notary may want to operate. The new ink color requirement for Notary seals is intended to help distinguish original documents from photocopies and thereby to curb mistakes and fraud; Utah is the only other state to impose a color (purple) requirement for inking Notary seals.

Read the bill text.

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