By Sharon Hassler—We’ve noticed a lot of visitors to our site looking for “changes to California law.” Rather than referring you on to the California Business Portal/Notary Public page, we’re quoting that information for you here but you can visit the Portal page to verify the info. We’ve also provided links to the text of each related bill.
This act requires a notary public to respond within 15 business days from the receipt of a request by a member of the public for a line item from the notary public’s journal. The notary public is required to provide either a photostatic copy of the line item representing the requested transaction or acknowledge that no such line item exists. In a disciplinary proceeding for noncompliance with this provision, a notary public may defend their delayed action on the basis of unavoidable, exigent business or personal circumstances. For text of the bill: AB 434, Chapter 496.
This act includes several provisions affecting notaries public:
- Under the new act, “personally known” as a basis for the notary taking an acknowledgment and executing a jurat is no longer allowed. No acknowledgment may be taken or jurat executed on personal knowledge alone. Violation subjects a notary to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 in an administrative action brought by the Secretary of State or a public prosecutor.
- The certificate of acknowledgment now is executed under penalty of perjury. A notary who willfully states as true any material fact known to be false can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
- A notary public applicant must submit a photograph of their person to the Secretary of State along with the application.
- The notary public journal must contain a notation that the identity of the person making an acknowledgment, or taking an oath or affirmation is based on “satisfactory evidence” and not “personal knowledge.”
- A power of attorney document is added to the list of documents that requires a thumbprint.
- When requested by a peace officer investigating a criminal offense, a notary must surrender their journal immediately or as soon as possible if the journal is not present. The peace officer must have probable cause to believe that the journal contains evidence of a criminal offense. The peace officer who seizes a journal must notify the Secretary of State within 24 hours or as soon as possible of the name of the notary public whose journal was seized.
- Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address is punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500, willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a name change is punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500, willful failure of a notary to provide a peace officer with a journal when requested is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $2,500, and a notary who fails to obtain a thumbprint as required by Government Code section 8206 is subject to a civil penalty up to $2,500.
- Willful failure to report the theft or loss of a journal is grounds for revocation or suspension of a notary commission. New grounds for denial of an application or revocation or suspension have been added for crimes connected to notarial acts: making a false writing, fraud relating to a deed of trust, improper notarial acts, unlawfully acting as a notary, filing false or forged documents, forgery, embezzlement, and falsely obtaining personal information. Also, willful failure to provide access to a journal when requested by a peace officer is grounds for revocation or suspension.
Tip from Joan Bergstrom: All loans signed in CA from 12/27/07 and forward have to have the new Acknowledgment verbiage to have a Deed Of Trust record. Any loan signed from that day forward will record in Jan 2008. My suggestion is to carry approximately 10 loose 2008 California ACK Certificates at all times. Free 2008 ACK & Jurats downloads are available at NotaryClasses.com.
Sharon Hassler is founder of GoGetNotary.com, a national notary directory, and GoGetSites.com, a website design company. Her background is in advertising and marketing, with the 20+ years focused on real estate, lending, title, and escrow services. To learn more about Sharon, visit her GGN website.