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  • Summary date: Jun 26 2023 - View Summary

    AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE NOTARY ACT. SL 2023-57. Enacted June 23, 2023. Effective June 23, 2023, except as otherwise provided.

  • Summary date: Jun 6 2023 - View Summary

    Senate committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.

    Amends GS 10B-134.9 to require an electronic notary to refuse to perform a remote electronic notarial act if the electronic notary has reasonable grounds to believe the remotely located principal appears (was, does not appear) in the judgment of the electronic notary to be incompetent, lacking in understanding of the nature and consequences of the transaction requiring the notarial act, or acting involuntarily, under duress, or undue influence.

  • Summary date: May 31 2023 - View Summary

    Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

    Part I.

    Extends sunset date on the power of a notary to perform an emergency video notarization under GS 10B-25 from June 30, 2023, to June 30, 2024.  Makes conforming changes to the sunset date set forth in GS 10B-200 (pertaining to video witnessing during a state of emergency). Changes the title to GS 10B-10 from “Commission; oath of office; emergency extension” to “Commission; oath of office.”  Changes the effective date of SL 2022-54 (pertaining to remote electronic notarization) from July 1, 2023 to July 1, 2024. Makes conforming to changes to when rulemaking can begin and become effective to account for new effective date.

    Part II.

    Amends GS 10B-20 (powers and limitation of a notary) to specify that a notary must maintain the confidentiality of a principal’s documents and information at all times. Specifies that journal entries or communication technology recordings (defined terms) created by a notary in the course of performing a notarial act are not public records under State public records law.

    Repeals GS 10B-36(d) (directing that as soon as is reasonably practicable after resignation, revocation, or expiration of a notary commission, or death of the notary, the seal shall be delivered to the Secretary for disposal).

    Amends GS 10B-36 (official notarial seal) to bar a vendor or manufacturer from providing a notary seal to a purchaser claiming to be a notary unless the purchaser presents a notary commission issued by the Secretary of State (Secretary) and one of two conditions are met: (1) if the purchase is in person, the vendor or manufacturer is able to personally identify the purchaser based on personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of identity or (2) if the purchase is by mail or delivery service, the vendor or manufacturer confirms the notary's standing as a commissioned notary as established by rules issued by the Secretary. Such rules may include the establishment of an internet site or other means maintained by the Secretary for this purpose. 

    Requires notaries to maintain a journal of all notarial acts performed in the manner required for that type of notarial act and in accordance with the rules adopted by the Secretary.

    Permits notary to send change of contact information/name or notices of resignation to the Secretary by online notification (if available), in addition to other means of notification listed in GS 10B-50 (change of address), GS 10B-51 (change of name), GS 10B-54 (resignation). Expands means by which notaries who no longer reside in or maintain a place of work in the State or who become permanently unable to perform their notarial duties can hand in their seals to include hand delivery and other means offered by the post office that allows confirmation of delivery by signature, in addition to other means of delivery listed in GS 10B-54. Amends GS 10B-55 (disposition of seal) to include when a notary commission has expired as a triggering condition of the disposition requirements of the statute. Expands means of delivery of seal to include hand delivery and other means offered by the post office that allows confirmation of delivery by signature, in addition to other means of delivery listed in GS 10B-55. Makes conforming change.  Specifies that information provided pursuant to GS 10B-50 should be treated as if submitted in an application under GS 10B-7 (statements of personal qualification) or GS 10B-106 (registration with the Secretary).

    Expands scope of grounds for enforcement and penalties under GS 10B-60 to include violation of rules adopted pursuant to GS Chapter 10B and any ground or which a registration, certification, approval, or license may be denied. Makes conforming changes. Expands powers of law enforcement agents of the Department of the Secretary (Department) to include conducting any investigation within or outside of this State as the Secretary deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of GS Chapter 10B or the rules adopted pursuant to GS Chapter 10B.  Specifies that files and records of the Secretary related to criminal investigations and enforcement proceedings are subject to the provisions of GS 132-1.4 (criminal investigations public records law). Specifies that the files and records of the Secretary relating to noncriminal investigations and enforcement proceedings are not be subject to inspection and examination pursuant to state public records law while the investigations or proceedings are pending, subject to certain statutory exceptions.

    Provides that any information obtained by the Secretary from any law enforcement agency, administrative agency, or regulatory organization on a confidential or otherwise restricted basis in the course of an investigation or enforcement proceeding undertaken pursuant to this Chapter is confidential and exempt from GS 132-6 to the same extent that it is confidential in the possession of the providing agency or organization. Specifies that a vendor or manufacturer who fails to comply with these requirements will be subject to a fine of $1,000 for each violation. Provides that the civil violation will not preclude the civil liability of the vendor or manufacturer to parties injured by failure to comply with the statute. Creates Class G felony for a person to knowingly create, manufacture, or distribute a notary seal for the purpose of allowing a person to act as a notary without being commissioned and registered in accordance with GS Chapter 10B. Makes conforming changes.

    Amends GS 10B-5 to allow the Secretary to permit applications for commissions to be submitted electronically, in the format prescribed by the Secretary. Requires the Secretary to establish a process for submission of the signature of the applicant prior to commissioning, which may include electronic submission.

    Makes clarifying changes to GS 10B-31 (notarial fees). Specifies that notaries may reimbursed actual mileage for travel at the federal business rate (was, just business rate). Allows a notary to charge $15 per person for an electronic oath or affirmation without a signature, except for an oath or affirmation administered to a credible witness to vouch for the identity of a principal or subscribing witness. Effective when the act becomes law.

    Effective July 1, 2023.

    Part III.

    Amends the following defined terms in GS 10B-101 as follows: (1) electronic notarial act and electronic notarization to specify that it includes personal appearance of the principal; (2) electronic notary public and electronic notary to specify that it includes a notary capable of performing electronic notarial acts and (3) remote electronic notarial act to cross reference GS 10B-134.1 in the definition. Specifies that the act’s changes to GS 10B-105 (qualifications) are to the statute effective July 1, 2023.

    Amends GS 10B-106 (registration with the Secretary), which is effective July 1, 2023. Specifies that a notary must register with the Secretary in accordance with the Secretary’s rules before performing notarial acts. Removes reference to registration as a remote electronic notary. Specifies that registration now includes authorization to perform remote electronic notarial acts if the electronic notary complies with all requirements of Article 2, GS Chapter 10B and the rules related to remote electronic notarial acts. Specifies that before performing electronic notarial acts, an electronic notary must register the capability to notarize electronically by notifying the Secretary of all technology the electronic notary will use to create an electronic signature and also all licensed platforms, if any, that the electronic notary will use to perform remote electronic notarizations. Permits a notary to renew an electronic notary registration at the same time that the notary applies for recommissioning under the requirements of Article 1 of GS Chapter 10B. Provides that the term of registration as an electronic notary shall coincide with the term of the notary's commission under Article 1 of GS Chapter 10B. Makes conforming changes. Expands the type of changes of registration information that must be reported to the Secretary to include any changes involving a licensed platform and instead of an electronic signature now requires the notary to sign in the official name in which the electronic notary was commissioned. 

    Expands the type of notarial acts requiring a course of instruction under GS 10B-107 to include remote electronic notarial acts. Increases the course time from three to four hours. Makes technical and conforming changes.

    Amends GS 10B-126 (security measures) to include instances when a notary’s electronic seal or signature has been compromised, in addition to other acts triggering notice requirements of statute. Changes the time limit for a notary to respond to records request by the Department from 10 days to the time period set out by the Department.

    Amends GS 10B-127 (maintenance of electronic devices) to specify that if an electronic notary contracts with an approved provider of an electronic seal and electronic signature or licensed platform for a device (current, just registration) used to create electronic signatures or for electronic notarization or remote electronic notarization services, and the contract either expires (currently, just registration of a device used to create electronic signature) or is changed during the electronic notary's term of office, the notary must cease performing electronic and remote electronic services until, a new contract is executed, in addition to other conditions listed in the statute. 

    Amends GS 10B-128 (disposition of records) to require a notary to notify the Secretary within 45 days after disposition of records under the statute. Now requires a notary to use the same licensed platform (if applicable) in addition to other statutory requirements, in order to be exempt from the disposition of records requirements.

    Adds defined terms geolocation, remotely located principal, and self-attestation to GS 10B-134.1.

    Expands circumstances barring an electronic notary from performing a remote electronic notarial act under GS 10B-134.3 to include when the notarial act would be a verification of proof. Removes death beneficiary forms that require an acknowledgment from the enumerated list of documents that an electronic notary is barred from performing remote notarial acts upon.

    Makes clarifying change to GS 10B-134.5(a)(4).

    Requires remote electronic notaries to evaluate whether a remotely located principal is incompetent, lacking in understanding of the nature and consequences of the transaction requiring the notarial act, or acting involuntarily, under duress, or undue influence, in addition to other requirements of GS 10B-134.9 before performing a remote notarial act. Requires electronic notaries to refuse to perform a notarial act if they have reasonable grounds to believe that any of the above are present. (Currently, just reasonable belief that remotely located principal is acting under duress or coercion). If the remotely located principal is a member of the US Armed Forces or the spouse or dependent of such a member, the electronic notary may rely upon that remotely located principal’s written, verbal, or electronic declaration and confirmation under penalty of perjury as to the remotely located principal’s location and military or familial status. Also requires the location of the remotely located principal to be verified by geolocation via communication technology or by self-attestation. Clarifies that an electronic notary’s notarial certificate and seal cannot be attached an electronic document using an electronic technology that renders any subsequent change or modification to the document evidence unless an oath not associated with a document is being administered (currently, exception is just an oath being administered). Changes ground for aggrieved person to challenge a remote notarial act from incapacity to incompetence. Makes conforming and technical changes.

    Amends GS 10B-134.15(b) to require the rules adopted by the Secretary for the content and storage of an electronic journal to authorize a third-party vendor, including a licensed platform, to act as a depository or custodian of the electronic journals and makes other conforming changes. Specifies that an electronic notary may only surrender an electronic journal to an employer if it consists of remote electronic notarizations made in the conduct of the employer’s business (currently, just authorizes surrender of the journal upon termination of employment).

    Makes conforming changes and updates outdated language is GS 10B-134.17 (security measures by notary). Changes time period for an electronic period to produce a response to the Secretary’s request from 30 calendar days to the time period set out in the request.

    Adds a rule on the contents and security of the electronic journal as one of the required provisions to the Secretary’s rules on electronic notarial acts. Amends the required rule provision on the security standards, features, qualifications, measures, storage, and any other matter related to communication technology, credential analysis, and identity proofing to include depository and custodial services.

    Amends GS 10B-134.23(d) (standards for services provided to electronic notaries) to add instances where a licensee’s or third-party vendor whose technology is discontinued or not renewed for any reasons as grounds to prohibit those individuals from denying electronic notary customers access and to require those individuals to work with electronic notaries to ensure access or ease transition to a different licensee or third-party vendor.

    Makes Part 9 of the act effective July 1, 2024.

    Changes the general effective date to when the act becomes law.

    Makes organizational changes.

  • Summary date: Apr 4 2023 - View Summary

    Enacts GS 10B-4 to authorize the North Carolina Secretary of State or the Secretary's designee (Secretary) to adopt rules necessary to administer and enforce GS Chapter 10B.   Amends GS 10B-134.1 (the definitions sections pertaining to remote electronic notarization) to add custodial services, custodian, depository, and depository services as new defined terms. Amends defined term platform. Deletes defined term remote electronic notary public or remote electronic notary (a notary public who is registered with the Secretary to perform remote electronic notarizations).  Makes conforming changes to GS 10B-134.1, GS 10B-102 (scope of article), GS 10B-105 (qualifications), GS 10B-117 (notarial components of electronic document), GS 10B-134.3 (types of remote electronic acts), GS 10B-134.5 (use of communication technology), GS 10B-134.7 (authority to perform electronic notarial acts), GS 10B-134.9 (requirements and procedures for remote electronic notarial acts), GS 10B-134.11 (verification of identity), GS 10B-134.13 (electronic notarization and remote electronic notarization), GS 10B-134.15 (electronic journal of remote electronic notarial acts), GS 10B-134.17 (security measures by notary), GS 10B-134.19 (platform licensure by Secretary), GS 10B-134.21 (rules for electronic notarial acts), 10B-134.23 (standards for services for remote notaries), and GS 10B-134.25 (barring notaries that are not attorneys from practicing law in real estate transactions) to remove references to remote electronic notary, so that the statutes refer only to electronic notary or to remote electronic notarization performed by an electronic notary. 

    Amends GS 10B-107 to increase the required course for notarial licensure from three to four hours. Specifies that a person must comply with course and other requirements before performing electronic or remote electronic notarial acts (currently, just refers to performing electronic notarial acts).  Expands the scope of the course content to also include remote electronic notarization (currently just specifies electronic notarization).   

    Effective July 1, 2023, and applies to notarial acts performed on or after that date.