|Act 30 of the 2019 Vermont General Assembly is supposed to clarify Vermont's version of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, which was passed in the 2018 legislature. But it just creates confusion in what was, except for allowing remote online notarization, a pretty good bill. The bill is 97 pages long, but only about 5 pages are about notaries, the rest is about other professions.|
Page says that town clerks who do not have a notary commission may administer oaths in his or her county, but not take acknowledgements. But the notary law is unaltered; it continues to say no one may perform notarial acts in VT other than VT notaries. So if a town clerk administers an oath, does the town clerk have to follow the other provisions of the notary law, like check the signer's ID if the oath is also a verification? Does the town clerk have to write out a jurat (certificate)? If so, what certificate should the clerk use; all the ones mentioned in the notary law mention notary public, and the clerk isn't one.
Page 93 tells us that the commission granted to certain notaries (judges and other employees of the judiciary branch) "shall not be considered a license." Well, at least this change doesn't seem to create any outright contradictions, but it's going to be quite the challenge for most notaries to understand what this is all about. Most notaries will get a commission AND a license. The commission makes them a state officer, and empowers them to perform notarial acts. The license puts them under the control of the Office of Professional Regulation, which could refuse, for good case, a notary application, or discipline a notary. But the Vermont constitution does not allow the executive branch (Office of Professional Regulation) to supervise the judicial branch, so people in the judicial branch won't have a license.
Then there is the provision
"(ii) A notarial act that identifies the notary public as a person who is exempt under this subdivision (B) [law enforcement officers] shall establish as a matter of law that the person is commissioned as a notary public for the purpose of acting within the scope of official duties under this subsection."
So the first problem is that it confuses the notarial act, which is the notary witnessing whatever needs to be witnessed, with the certificate the notary writes out which records for posterity that the notarial act happened. Also, there is no place in the short form certificates in the 1998 bill for the law enforcement officer to write that he or she is a law enforcement officer, so we're putting all those constables who only took the position because nobody else wanted it in the position of inventing their own notarial certificates. Oh yeah, that sure sounds like a clarification to me.