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New Law Update - Nebraska LB 398 Now In Effect

LB 398 allows election commissioners to administer oaths and affirmations using the county seal, prohibits an applicant for a Notary commission to be appointed if the applicant has been convicted of a crime involving fraud or dishonesty within the previous five years, permits nonresidents of a bordering state to hold a Nebraska Notary commission if they have a regular place of work or employment in Nebraska, repeals the authority of a Notary to protest commercial paper, modifies rules for the removal from office of a Notary, and authorizes the Secretary of State to enact rules and regulations.

CHANGES:

  1. Grants all election commissioners and their deputies the power to administer oaths
  2. Clarifies that an applicant for a Notary commission shall not be appointed if the applicant has been convicted of a crime involving fraud or dishonesty within the previous five years.
  3. Provides that the Secretary of State may appoint a person as a Notary who resides in a state that borders Nebraska if the person is employed in or has a regular place of work or business in Nebraska and the Secretary has obtained evidence of an address of the physical location of the person’s employment or place of work or business prior to appointment.
  4. Repeals the former provision stating that commission renewal application made prior to the date of the expiration of any general Notary commission need not be accompanied by any petition.
  5. Repeals the authority of a Notary to perform all duties related to protesting commercial paper.
  6. Provides that a Notary is disqualified from performing a notarial act if the Notary: (a) has a financial or beneficial interest in the transaction other than receipt of the ordinary notarial fee or is individually named as a party to the transaction, except in the performance of duties pursuant to sections 64-211 to 64-215; or (b) does not understand the acknowledgment or notarial certificate used to certify the performance of his or her duties.
  7. At a hearing into allegations of a Notary’s misconduct, provides that the Notary may show cause as to why his or her commission should not be canceled or temporarily revoked and authorizes the appointee designated by the Secretary of State to bring the charges against the Notary to issue subpoenas to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any pertinent records, papers, or documents, may administer oaths, and may accept any evidence he or she deems pertinent to a proper determination of the charge.
  8. Authorizes the Secretary of State to publish regulations to administer Sections 64-101 to 64-118 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.
  9. Makes non-substantial conforming changes.

ANALYSIS:

Legislative Bill 398 brings a number of noteworthy changes to the Nebraska statutes regulating Notaries. First, the bill grants all election commissioners and their deputies the authority to administer oaths. Second, the bill allows nonresidents of Nebraska to obtain a Notary commission if the person resides in a state that borders Nebraska and has a regular place of work or business in Nebraska. Third, the bill repeals the authority of a Notary to perform protests. This follows the trend in the last couple of years to repeal this antiquated notarial function due to the problems associated with the filing of bogus protests by so-called sovereign citizens. Fourth, the bill provides that a Notary has a disqualifying interest in a transaction and may not notarize when he or she has a financial or beneficial interest in or is individually named as a party to the transaction. This provision carves out an exception for certain Notaries named in NRS Sections 64-211-64-214. Fifth, the bill clarifies rules for administrative law hearings into allegations of Notary misconduct. Finally, the bill gives the Secretary of State rulemaking authority to publish regulations to administer NRS Sections 64-101-64-118 specifically.

Read the the text of the bill.

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