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Suggested changes to California Notary Laws
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Suggested changes to California Notary Laws
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Posted by Richard L Silver on 3/29/08 12:38am
Msg #241249

Suggested changes to California notary Laws

Below is a list of suggested changes to California notary laws that will be suggest by the California Professional Notary Association to the next legislature when it open in December 2008.

We are posted it here to get imput, especially from California Notarires. Only sane and rational comments will be responded to. This is a work in progress, so changes can be made.

Richard L. Silver, Executive Director
California Professional Notary Association
[e-mail address]
415-370-7479


PROCESS SERVER
Under the Business & Professions Code any natural person who makes more than 10 services of process during one calendar year, for compensation, shall file and maintain a verified certificate of registration as a process server with the local county clerk.

The only exemptions are:
1) Any peace officer or government employee who is acting within the course and scope of his or her employment.
2) An attorney or his or her employees.
3) Any person who is specially appointed by a court to serve its process.
4) A licensed private investigator or his or her employees.
5) A professional photocopier registered under Sec 22450, or an employee thereof, whose only service of process relates to subpoenas for the production of records, which subpoenas specify that the records be copied by that registered professional photocopier.

We suggest that the Code be amended to add:

6) A notary public.

Notaries are currently required to meet much more stringent requirements than a process server. They must attend a training class, take a test, post a bond of $15,000, take an oath and submit fingerprints for a background check. Process servers need only file an application with the County Clerk, pay a fee, submit fingerprints and secure a bond for $2,000.

Many states allow notaries to act as process servers and many are familiar with serving process as shorthand reporters or legal document assistants. Adding notaries to those exempt would simplify and expand the ability of notaries to carry out duties they already preform.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOCOPIER
Under the Business & Profession Code any person may become a professional photocopier by registering with the County Clerk similar to what is required for a process server.

The only exemptions under this chapter are:
1) Any government employee who is acting in the course of his or her employment.
2) A member of the State Bar or his or her employees, agents, or independent contractors.
3) Any person appointed by the court to obtain or reproduce in order to transmit or distribute those records.
4) An employee or agent of a person who is registered under this chapter.
5) Any custodian of records who makes his or her own copies.
6) Any certified shorthand reporter, court reporter, or stenotype operator who makes his or her own copies.
7) Any person licensed under Chapter 11.5 of the Business & Professions Code (Private Investigator).
8) The Office of the Secretary of State.

We suggest that the Code be amended to include Notaries Public as follows:

9) Any notary public.

State law is aware of the connection between professional photocopiers and notaries as it requires that at least one person involved in the management of a professional photocopier business must be a notary. Like a process server, there is no professional requirement or testing to become a professional photocopier. A professional photocopier bond is only $2000 compared to the notary bond of $15,000. Adding notaries to the list of those who are exempt would simplify and expand the ability of notaries to carry out their duties.

UNLAWFUL DETAINER ASSISTANT
Under the Business & Profession Code any person may become an Unlawful Detainer Assistant by registering with the County Clerk similar to what is required for a process server.

The only persons exempted to registration under this chapter are:
1) Any government employee who is acting in the course of his or her employment.
2) A member of the State Bar of California, or his or her employee, paralegal, or agent, or an independent contractor while acting on behalf of a member of the State Bar.
3) Any employee of a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation who either assists clients free of charge or is supervised by a member of the State Bar of California who has malpractice insurance.
4) A licensed real estate broker or licensed real estate salesperson.
5) An immigration consultant.
6) A person registered as a process server.
7) A person who provides services relative to the preparation of security instruments or conveyance documents as an integral part of the provision of title or escrow service.
8) A person who provides services that are regulated by federal law.
9) A person who is employed by, and provides services to, a supervised financial institution, holding company, subsidiary, or affiliate.

We suggest that the Code be amended to include Notaries Public as follows:

10) Any notary public.

Like a process server and professional photocopiers there is no professional requirement or testing to become a unlawful detainer assistant. An unlawful detainer assistant bond is $2500 compared to the notary bond of $15,000. Adding notaries to the list of those who are exempt would simplify and expand the ability of notaries to carry out their duties.

ERRORS & OMISSION BONDS
A bond for $15,000 must be posted before a person can perform the duties of a notary. This is the only protection the public has from a notary who may have performed an error. The duties and responsibilities of a notary have expanded to the point that a $15,000 bond may not be sufficient to protect the public. We suggest the bond be increased to $25,000 or that a notary should be required to hold errors & omission insurance for the same amount.

COPY CERTIFICATION
Most states allow a notary to certify that a copy of a document is a complete and true reproduction. Excluded are public records (i.e., birth certificates) or recordable documents (i.e., Deeds of Trust). California Notaries are frequently asked to certify a copy of a document by a member of the public but must refuse since it is not permitted under California Law. Most people donít understand why it canít be done. We suggest the law be changed so that California Notaries have the ability to perform this function for the public in California as is done in most other states.

CERTIFICATION OF AN EVENT OR ACT
Some states allow a notary to certify that an event or act has happened. The Notary must determine the event or act did in fact occurred whether from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence based on the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the Notary. We suggest that state law be amended so that California Notaries would also have the ability to perform this function for the public in California.

NOTARY IDENTITY CARD
Often a notary is asked to identify themselves when they approach a customer. Unlike process servers or professional photocopiers a notary carries no government issued identification. We suggest that when a notary files the bond and oath with the county clerk an ID card should issue similar to the ID issued to process servers and professional photocopiers, with the notaries commission number. The clerk would collect a fee that would cover the cost of issuing the ID card.

Business & Professional Code 6407 (b) states: The identification card shall be a card 31/2 by 21/4 inches, and shall contain at the top, the title "Notary Public" as appropriate, followed by the registrant's name, address, registration number, date of expiration, and county of registration. It shall also contain a photograph of the registrant in the lower left corner.

Licensing and Regulation of Signing Services
There is no regulation of signing services operating in the California. We suggest that signing services be licensed, bonded and regulated, similar to the way done with many other businesses, by the state Department of Consumer Affairs, and be subject to oversite and enforcement.

SECRETARY OF STATE NOTARY ADVISORY COMMISSION
As the duties and responsibilities of California notaries have expanded, it is important that the Secretary of State have a process to study issues and receive advice from members of the notary profession. By establishing an Advisory Commission the Secretary could refer questions of procedure and practice for review and comment from persons who are practicing notaries and have practical experience.

We suggest that members of the Advisory Commission should be active notaries with at least five years experience. Seats on the commission would be set aside for a notary working on a Native American Reservation, a notary working on a military base and a person who is a notary for the sole purpose of providing service to a governmental agency.

VOTER REGISTRATION
While we donít suggest that it become mandatory, we suggest the Secretary of Stateís office establish a voluntary program that would encourage notaries to provide voter registration information to clients at the time of a signing.

Reply by LisaWI on 3/29/08 5:24am
Msg #241252

"Licensing and Regulation of Signing Services
There is no regulation of signing services operating in the California. We suggest that signing services be licensed, bonded and regulated, similar to the way done with many other businesses, by the state Department of Consumer Affairs, and be subject to oversite and enforcement. "

Yes, yes, and yes!! That will curtail some of this monkey business going on.


Reply by John_NorCal on 3/29/08 9:50am
Msg #241264

This seems to be a pretty comprehensive list. Regulation of signing services should probably come under the Dept of Real Estate or which ever agency regulates banking and finance. There should definitely be some kind of oversight. I never knew there was such a thing as a professional photocopier, that's something to look at too.


 
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