Urgent: Possible Change in Notary Law 


Notice of Proposed Regulatory Action for Notaries Public in California:


Notice was given this month by the Secretary of State that under authority established in California Government Code 8220, the California Secretary of State proposes to implement, interpret or make specific Section 20804 of the California Code of Regulations by revising the California Notary Disciplinary Guidelines set forth in 2001.


There are no plans for a public hearing on this unless there is an objection, which is why it is so important you weigh in on this as a notary public in the state of California!  If there is no interest or hearing, it will become adopted as part of  Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines.


The purpose stated for revising the Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines of 2001 is as follows:


  1. To reflect the changes in law made by several statutes.  These statutes are: Statues of 2003, Chapter 513, Statutes of 2007, chapter 496, Statues of 2007, chapter 339, Statutes of 2008, chapter 67, and Statutes of 2011, chapter 269.
  2. To clarify the Secretary of State’s process for handling cases that have gone to an administrative hearing and petitions for reinstatement or reduction of penalty and;
  3. To incorporate the Secretary of State’s experience in the last decade in dealing with offenses and misconduct by applicants for appointment as a notary public and commissioned notaries public.


The disciplinary guidelines are designed essentially to facilitate due process and give consistency for reviewing applications, investigating alleged violations of  California notary laws and instituting administrative disciplinary actions.  They are also designed to assist administrative law judges, attorneys, notaries public, notary public applicants, and others involved in the disciplinary process.  These guidelines were last revised effective March 31, 2001 to require stricter qualifications for both notary public applicants and commissioned notaries public with convictions.  


These are the Proposed Changes; 


1. A felony conviction may allow an appointment if ten(10) years have elapsed from the end of parole or probation and the Secretary of State finds the applicant possesses the requisite honesty, credibility, truthfulness and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.  Currently, the bar is Permanent.


2. A conviction for a misdemeanor or lesser offense may allow an appointment if five (5) years have elapsed form the end of parole or probation and the Secretary of State finds the applicant possesses the requisite honesty, credibility, truthfulness and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position. Currently, the bar is ten (10) years.


3. The explicit statement that a second disciplinary action will permanently bar appointment has been removed.


4. The distinction between willful and negligent actions has been removed due to a 2008 legislative change.


5. New sections 8214.1 (Q) and (R) have been added as grounds for revocation, suspension or denial since they became law in 2008.


6. A new section dealing with the Secretary of State’s process for handling cases that have gone to an administrative hearing has been added.


7. The section dealing with petitions for reinstatement or reduction of penalty has been rewritten to make the process clear for the secretary of State and the petitioners.


The Secretary of State’s assessment of economic impact shows that there will be no effect of economic impact to, housing costs, small businesses, school districts, state agencies, and local agencies because it is not a “major regulation”.  Also, there will be no significant statewide adverse economic impact directly affecting business, including the ability of California business to compete with businesses in other states, or impact any jobs in California negative or positive.


In fact, The Secretary of State only finds that the benefits of the disciplinary guidelines are that it better protects the design of the disciplinary guidelines as mentioned here previously. 


For more information you can visit www.sos.ca.gov and look up: Notice of Proposed Regulatory Action Title 2, Section 20804 CCR; Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines


We here at Develop Point Education are committed to the instruction, development and involvement of Notaries Public in California and want to hear your input before we give ours.  

We have until April 6, 2012 to weigh in with our thoughts or need for a hearing on these proposals.  This is your opportunity to be a voice in the very Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines that directly affect you! 

Go Back to CA. Notary Law Changes and give your valuable thoughts and input!