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Rule

WI Emergency Rules EmR2005

Notary Law Update: WI Emergency Rules EmR2005

State: Wisconsin

Summary:

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has adopted emergency rules related to Notaries who perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals.

Signed:  May 01, 2020

Effective:  May 09, 2020

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

Creates Chapter DFE-CCS 25 in the Wisconsin Administrative Code.

Changes:

Commission Matters

  1. Provides that any notices or other communications from the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) may be provided to a Notary by email.
  2. Requires a Notary to provide the DFI with written notice of any change of address (including primary email address) within 10 days of the change.
  3. Defines “an arrest or conviction record” relevant to service as a Notary as a record that includes one or more felonies or other offenses that would be admissible for purposes of impeaching the applicant’s character for truthfulness in a judicial proceeding governed by the rules of evidence of this state or the federal courts.
  4. Clarifies that offenses that have been expunged or pardoned are not considered to be part of a person’s arrest or conviction record for purposes of applying WS 140.02(1)(b).
  5. Requires a Notary or applicant to comply with any requests of the department to provide official records, reports, or other information regarding any arrests or convictions.

Communication Technology Provider Approval

  1. Requires a provider of communication technology used to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals to obtain the approval of the Remote Notary Council before allowing its platform to be used by a Notary to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual.
  2. Clarifies that a provider that was provisionally approved by the DFI prior to May 9, 2020, must submit the application materials described in the rules no later than August 1, 2020, and that the provider’s approval remains effective until such time as the Remote Notary Council denies the application, in whole or in part, or the approval is restricted or terminated as provided under the rules.
  3. Stipulates the contents, as specified, of a provider approval application.
  4. Outlines the procedures, as specified, for review and approval of provider applications by the Remote Notary Council.
  5. Provides rules, as specified, for renewal and termination of a provider approval.

Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals

  1. Requires a Notary to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals only by utilizing a communication technology provider that has been approved by the Remote Notary Council.
  2. Provides that a Notary may not perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals using an approved provider until (a) the Notary becomes knowledgeable about how to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals using the provider’s system, including completion of any training or instruction modules prepared by the provider; and (b) the Notary is approved by the provider to use its communication technology to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals.
  3. Requires a provider to promptly notify the DFI whenever it approves a Notary to use the provider’s communication technology to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals.
  4. Provides that a Notary may charge no more than $25 to perform a notarial act for a remotely located individual.

Complaints, Suspensions, and Revocations

  1. Authorizes any person to file a complaint against a Notary in a manner directed by the DFE.
  2. Requires a complaint to include the complainant’s contact information and a complete statement of the basis for the complaint, including any relevant records.
  3. Authorizes the DFI, on its own initiative or in response to a complaint, make such investigation as it determines to be reasonable and necessary to determine whether a person has violated, is violating, or is about to violate any provision of Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 140, or any administrative rules promulgated to implement Chapter 140.
  4. Authorizes the DFI to administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas, take evidence, require the filing of statements (including responses to allegations), require testimony in oral or written form, and require the production of any records that the DFI considers relevant or material to the investigation.
  5. Authorizes the DFI to 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 competence, reliability or integrity to act as a Notary, including: (a) failing to comply with any provision of Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 140 or the emergency rules; (b) committing an act of fraud, deceit, or of any other misconduct substantially relating to the character or public trust necessary to be a Notary; (c) being convicted of any felony or other offense that would be admissible for purposes of impeaching the person’s character for truthfulness in a judicial proceeding governed by the federal rules of evidence or the rules of evidence of this state; (d) using false or misleading advertising or otherwise engaging in any method, act or practice that is unfair or deceptive, including any untrue or misleading statement or omission of a material fact relating to a duty or responsibility of a Notary; (e) making an untrue or misleading statement or omission of a material fact in any application or filing required by Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 140; or (f) failing to promptly and fully comply with any information or investigative request by the DFI.
Analysis:

The Wisconsin Legislature enacted and the Governor approved Assembly Bill 293, which contains substantive provisions from the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), including those related to notarial acts for remotely located individuals. The new law took effect on May 1, 2020, and the Department of Financial Institutions quickly prepared emergency rules to implement the RULONA. The rules took effect on May 9, 2020 and will stay in effect until October 5, 2020.

Read the emergency rules.

Knowledge Center