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2016 Notary Law Highlights: Increased Fees, ID Changes, New NSA And Immigration Rules

2016 Notary law highlights

The past year has seen several notable changes to state Notary laws. Some states raised the fees Notaries may charge for the first time in decades, while others updated requirements for identifying signers or enacted tougher rules for the issuing of Notary seals. Here are some highlights from the new 2016 state Notary law changes:

California
 

California’s most welcome law change was Assembly Bill 2217, which increased the maximum fee Notaries may charge from $10 to $15 per notarization starting January 1, 2017. This is the first raise for California Notaries in more than two decades. The bill received strong support from local Notaries, who sent messages to state lawmakers urging a fee increase.

California also updated rules for identifying signers using “satisfactory evidence of identity.” It enacted Assembly Bill 2566, which allows Notaries to accept consular identification cards as proof of a signer’s identity. AB 2566 also allows Notaries to accept any valid foreign passport and removes the prior requirement that the passport be stamped by the USCIS. Senate Bill 997, allows signers to use tribal identification cards issued by federally recognized tribal governments. The consular ID, foreign passport or tribal ID must be current or issued in the past five years, contain a serial or identification number, and also have a photograph, signature and description of the bearer.

Massachusetts
 

Effective January 4, 2017, Senate Bill 2064 takes most of the state Notary’s guidelines from the Governor’s Executive Order of 2004 and makes them an official part of statute. SB 2064 also makes several notable changes to state Notary rules, including:

  • Providing rules defining the services nonattorney Notaries may provide to immigrants, including a prohibition against nonattorney Notaries offering legal advice or advising clients regarding immigration status.
  • Clarifying that a Notary may not refuse to perform a notarial act based solely on the individual’s gender identity.

Kentucky
 

Kentucky’s Governor signed Senate Bill 214 into law in April, removing the state’s mandatory fee schedules and allowing Notaries to set their own fees. Previously, Kentucky’s fee schedule was among the lowest in the nation, only allowing Notaries to charge 50 cents for taking an acknowledgment. Only seven other states — Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts and Tennessee — allow Notaries to set their own fees.

Virginia
 

A new administrative rule issued by the State Corporation Commission clarifies that Notary Signing Agents who handle funds in connection with a loan signing assignment or real estate closing must be licensed as a settlement agent. Notary Signing Agents in Virginia who do not handle checks for closing costs may continue to operate without a settlement agent license.

Washington, D.C.
 

The District of Columbia enacted a major administrative overhaul of its Notary regulations in July. District Bill 112 also raised fee limits from $2 to $5 per notarial act.

Nebraska
 

The Nebraska Legislature enacted a comprehensive new law allowing Notaries to perform electronic notarizations, effective July 1, 2017. LB 465 regulates electronic signatures and seals, requires Notaries to take an educational course and pass an examination, and provides rules for upholding the security and integrity of electronically-notarized documents.

Missouri

Senate Bill 932 came to life at the end of the session, adding new rules for manufacturers of Notary Public seals. The new law also requires Notaries to report lost, misplaced, destroyed, damaged or broken seals immediately and obtain a new commission number before obtaining a new seal.

For information on new rules and regulations in other states, the NNA’s Notary Laws database includes a fully searchable summary of all new Notary laws and regulations enacted in 2016.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

State Law Summaries

4 Comments

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integrityoffice@yahoo.com

26 Dec 2016

need info

Deborah Chromie

28 Dec 2016

Does anyone know how the title companies are going to adjust their fees to compensate us in accordance to the CA notaryontherun@aol.com fee increase. It's not uncommon to have 12 or more signatures to notarize in a loan package. That alone = $180. Not counting printing docs, travel, and time. How do we communicate this and make money at the same time.

Charlotte Bock

28 Dec 2016

we may have to put the cost on the person we r notarizing papers 4 it is not right but sometimes we have no choice everybody else raises everyone

Carla Garner

28 Dec 2016

Glad to hear that the signers fee has increased to $15 and the different forms of ID that's now accepted at a signing. I am looking forward to getting my commission back in 2017.

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