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The NNA Needs Your Help To Ensure Signing Agent Businesses Remain Safe Under CA ‘Independent Contractor’ Law

California Capitol building with CA and US flags

The National Notary Association needs your help to ensure that California Signing Agents continue to operate their own independent businesses under the new “Uber and Lyft” independent contractor law. This law put California Notary businesses at risk by threatening their flexibility to control when and how much they work, to control how they perform notarizations and loan signings, and to choose the companies they work for.

The sweeping labor law, which went into effect on January 1, created a strict ABC test that hiring companies must use to determine if the 3rd party workers they hire should be classified as employees. Notaries and other independent contractors do not have a say in the decision. 

While the NNA believes that California Signing Agents pass the ABC test, Notaries were never specifically exempted in state statute. But a new follow-up bill now being considered by the state legislature, AB 1850, could change that if we rally together to get Notaries exempted.

“In reviewing AB 1850 we discovered that real estate appraisers were granted an exemption. That convinced us to work with our lobbyist in Sacramento to secure an exemption for Notaries just to be safe,” said Bill Anderson, the NNA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “The risk is too great. If you are classified as an employee, your hiring companies will control your schedule and the way you perform loan signings, you could be squeezed out of jobs, and you will have less time to provide notarial services directly to the public on your off hours.”

How You Can Help

At this critical juncture we are asking California Signing Agents to write a letter to AB 1850 author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to declare how devastating the new law will be to your small business and respectfully request an exemption for Notaries. Further, we ask that you send these letters via email directly to the NNA at nna@nationalnotary.org — not to Gonzalez — so that our lobbyist can deliver them all to the Assemblywoman’s office in person, and in bulk.

When writing your letter, it is critical that you follow these important steps:

  1. Write an original letter in your own words.
  2. Write the letter on your business letterhead. This is extremely important, because writing a letter on your business letterhead tells Sacramento you are a small business that is impacted by the bill. If you don’t have a business letterhead, you can design one and write your letter for free at Canva.
  3. Address your letter to the Honorable Lorena Gonzalez, California State Assembly, State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0080.
  4. Use the following talking points in your letter:
  • We have operated a Notary Signing Agent or mobile Notary business for _____ years.
  • We have conducted _____ loan signings to California consumers buying or refinancing their homes.
  • Notary Signing Agents are commissioned through the Secretary of State as Notaries Public and perform notarial acts for a variety of clients.
  • We are small business owners who have chosen this line of work because of the flexibility to control when and how much we work, perform loan signings the way we want and choose the companies we work for.
  • Working as an independent contractor has given me the flexibility to _________ (juggle family commitments, go to school to further my education, earn additional income to supplement my regular employment, etc.)
  • Without an exemption, there will be fewer California Notaries available to notarize home loan papers, healthcare powers of attorney, adoption papers, and estate planning documents for Californians.
  • Close your letter with I respectfully request an exemption for California Notary Signing Agents in AB 1850.
  1. Sign your letter in your own handwriting. Emails and letters without a handwritten signature will not be counted.
  2. Email your letter by June 19, 2020 to: The NNA at nna@nationalnotary.org; and to Erinn Ryberg, the NNA’s lobbyist, at eryberg@caladvocates.com

For more information about the new worker classification law, please view The ABCs Every California NSA Must Know and Do Notaries Meet the ABCs of California’s New Workers’ Rights Law? in the Notary Bulletin.

17 Comments

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Rusel Heckert

13 Jun 2020

This will affect my livelihood. There are few notaries in my area. I would not be able to handle a strict schedule or more than one appointment a day

Lydia N Guillory

15 Jun 2020

With my age as a retired person, I would not be able to handle a strict schedule or more than one appointment a day as well. Currently, I have a fear of accepting a signing due to this Corona Virus especially with my age and with my are increasing more cases everyday.

Sacha Simpson

15 Jun 2020

To lose exemption would be devastating to those of us who have chosen this profession as a way not to only support our family but to provide essential services to the financial institutions who rely on our efforts to make sure that the real estate transactions are closed in a timely manner. Every real estate transaction is time sensitive and to control or to limit as when and where a borrower could sign legal documents in any shape or form would have a grave consequence to all parties involved.

Pamela Fender

15 Jun 2020

I sent the emails on Saturday. I truly hope that this doesn’t pass because it will certainly effect my business.

Roberta G Bannister

15 Jun 2020

I've sent my modified personalized letter in PDF and Word format. I'm a Veteran and care for my husband who is also a Veteran. The trickle down from this is enormous int he wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is yet another covert way to rid California of independent Notaries and indie paralegals are under attack as well. This is all trial lawyers and banker.

Richard Oslund

15 Jun 2020

Drafting the letter now!! Thank you NNA for your vigilant support!!

Heather Morris

15 Jun 2020

I am a signing agent and it's my life! I love every aspect of working my own hours, the flexibility to home school my daughter, but this is my full time business. This is the only way I can care for my family. I chose this profession so I wouldn't have to be controlled by someone else. This bill CANNOT be passed. Sending my letter in tonight after I'm done with this signing I'm headed to.

Mary C. Ridgway

15 Jun 2020

Being a Mobile Notary for more than 20 years in my city, this would greatly impact the seniors and home bound that I have been helping and why I am a Mobile Notary

Stephaniee Matthews

15 Jun 2020

Wow, my only question are letters excepted by notaries from other states?

National Notary Association

17 Jun 2020

Hello. While we appreciate the offer, letters from California Notaries are needed at present.

rose t covarrubias

18 Jun 2020

I’m a retired person and chose to be a Notary signing agent. Reason being that I did was my retirement IRA and 401k was depleted during the 2008 crisis, I list alit of money. I had to find work. I didn’t want to work for anyone, where I had click in and out. I chose this because I could work on my time clock, work as many signs or the less # if I wanted. With this COVID19 I chose not to work and put myself in danger. If I worked with an employer I would not have the choice or the voice to decline work at this time. I don’t want to work in a strict schedule, I did this for 35 years and I will not do it again. This cannot be passed. I will be send my letter to oppose this.

David Johnson

18 Jun 2020

It seems to me the real estate and banking industry has the most to lose as business can't be finalized without notarization. Notaries simply refuse work if they can't remain independent. Millions of dollars of business per week would come to a halt. Real estate and banking have more than enough clout to get a waiver for notaries.

Alícia

19 Jun 2020

This will definitely affect our ability to be Notary Public. If the contracting agencies will control our schedules and who we can sign up, then our names will have to change. We will no longer be ‘Notary Public’ but rather Notary the whom ever they pick for us. In the 20+ years that I have been commissioned by the State of CA has allowed me to meet many people of the general public. I have notarized doctors, nurses, attorneys, police officers, armed forces, etc. The ability to be Mobile has allows me to sign them at their work site and at their requested time. As an independent contractor I choose to accept the assignment and sometimes it means nights (8:00 pm), early mornings (6:00 am) and weekend. If I am considered and ‘employee’ I fear I will lose that ability. Let’s ALL CA NOTARIES work together to have the Honorable Assembly Woman Gonzalez Grant us an exemption!!!!

DOLRES NEAL

22 Jun 2020

I SENT MY LETTER THIS MORNING.

Kim

22 Jun 2020

Since we are commissioned by the state and small business owners, I expect we will be exempt from this initiative.

bruce.inspirations@gmail.com

01 Jul 2020

When will the NNA update us on the status of the effort to fix the Senate Bill ambiguity and make a press release or legal position paper public?

National Notary Association

02 Jul 2020

Hello. If we receive any updated information, we will post it in the Bulletin.

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