TRENTON – In a move that would bring fundamental change to laws and regulations governing notaries public, the Senate passed legislation today that would mandate new requirements concerning qualifications and duties of notarial officers, authorize electronic signatures, and also increase the $25 fee collected by the State Treasurer for each appointment or renewal to $50 for each commission or renewal.
The bill, A-4250 and S-2508, sponsored by Senators Vin Gopal and Linda Greenstein, would offer an array of revisions that would update current statute concerning notaries public and notarial acts, from defining terms such as “electronic signature,” to requiring applications for commission as a notary public to be submitted electronically, to raising the fee to $50 for commission or renewal, and provide that the fee be payable by credit card, debit card or electronic funds transfer.
“The practice and offices of notaries public and notarial acts have long been in need of revision, under the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA),” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Several states, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut, have recently updated their laws, and it is time we do the same. This bill seeks to incorporate these long-overdue revisions, as well as to codify other provisions intended to improve notarial process and services.”
As amended, the bill would provide that in order to be commissioned as a notary public, among other provisions a person must be at least 18; must not be disqualified to receive a commission pursuant to other provisions of the bill; or must be a legal resident of the State, have a place of employment or practice in the State, or be an employee of a business with its domicile or primary place of business in the State and perform the employment duties remotely from a home office or a co-working space.
“When it comes to government function and public records, it is important for our notaries public and the way they administer notarial acts to stay updated with current practice,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “This long-needed revision to the way notaries are licensed and perform their duties will allow notarial services to be delivered with greater efficiency and convenience to state residents who seek them.”
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-1 and was sent to the Governor for final approval.