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New Colorado Notary law adds journal, testing requirements and new official act

Colorado-flag-resized.jpgA new Colorado law taking effect July 1, 2018 is making changes to the requirements to become a Notary, adds new journal requirements and authorizes Notaries to perform a new type of notarization.

New type of Colorado notarization

Senate Bill 132 authorizes a new type of notarization known as signature witnessing where Notaries may watch and verify a signature being made on a document in their official capacity. Signature witnessing is a separate act from other notarizations, and Colorado Notaries should know there are important differences between signature witnessing and acknowledgments. Also, signature witnessing is not the same as a private individual serving as a document witness, which Notaries are sometimes asked to perform as in addition to official notarizations.

Commissioning and renewal changes

Under the new law, Notary applicants no longer must be Colorado residents; an out-of-state resident may apply for a Notary commission provided the applicant has a place of employment in Colorado. All Notaries renewing their commissions must take a training course and pass an exam no more than 90 days before renewal. 

New journal requirements

Starting July 1, Colorado Notaries will be required to record the time a notarization was performed and the fee charged. They also must record all oaths, affirmations and copy certifications in their journals. A Colorado Notary’s physical journal must take the format of a permanent, bound register with numbered pages, while an electronic journal must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format compliant with rules to be set by the Secretary of State. Notaries must keep their journals in a secure area under the Notary’s control when not in use.

Additional requirements

The law includes several other changes.

  • Notaries no longer must receive a written request from a customer to perform a copy certification.
  • The new law provides short-form certificate wording for different types of notarizations, and clarifies that notarial wording must either be incorporated into the document or securely attached to the document.
  • Notaries may not provide members of the public with unattached Notary certificate wording when notarizing documents.

For more information and additional law changes, please see the NNA’s summary of CO SB 132. The Colorado Secretary of State has also published a summary of important Colorado Notary law changes online. 

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association. 

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