NOTARY ACT AMENDED
House Bill No. 14-135 was signed into Public Law 14-52 on January 19, 2005. This law amends both the Notary Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
The Notary Public Act was originally enacted during the Trust Territory period and this is the first time it has been amended. Change was long overdue, as many of the provisions were out of date with the current needs of the Commonwealth.
For example, P.L. 14-52 raised the fees notaries could legally charge from as little as 0.$25 to $2.00. The Attorney General's Office, who supported passage of P.L. 14-52, said the fees had not changed since the Trust Territory and were insufficient to cover the costs to be a notary. Now the fees reflect the cost of doing business.
P.L. 14-52 also improves the enforcement power of the Attorney General's Office. If notaries are found to charge more than P.L. 14-52 allows, for instance, the Attorney General's Office plans to fine them and force them to repay their customers. The Attorney General's Office now has the option to bring such a proceeding as a civil, criminal, or administrative enforcement action. It also has the choice to bring an action regarding a violation of the Notary Act as a Consumer Protection violation.
Previously it was difficult to bring enforcement actions and force notaries to repay their customers. P.L. 14-52 will make it easier for the Attorney General's Office to do both because it provides them with more options. Being able to bring more enforcement actions administratively will also help enforcement.
CEC Note: Every jurisdiction in the United States, including its insular jurisdictions, have laws that limits the amounts that notary publics can charge for their notarial services. Thus, if you are charged more than $5.00 for notary public for your voter registration or absentee voting affidavit, you may call that state's or jurisdicton's consumer counsel to file a complaint.