New Iowa Law - SF 2265

BY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY. This Act is based in part on the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts as proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (tentatively codified under Iowa Code chapter 9B), repeals the “Iowa Law on Notarial Acts” (currently codified under Iowa Code chapter 9E), and makes conforming changes throughout the Iowa Code concerning notaries public. The Act differs from the model Act in a number of respects. For example, it does not include optional provisions requiring a notary public to maintain a journal or pass an examination. The Act also includes provisions that are part of the current law. For example, it requires the Secretary of State to notify a notary public of an upcoming expiration. The Secretary of State is responsible for administering requirements applicable to notaries public. It also authorizes the Secretary of State to impose and collect certain fees.

NOTARIAL OFFICERS. Under the Act, a notarial officer (a notary public or other authorized individual) may take an acknowledgment, administer an oath or affirmation, take a verification on oath or affirmation, witness or attest a signature, certify or attest a copy, and note a protest of a negotiable instrument. The Act requires a notarial officer to have personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of someone appearing before the officer for certain notarial acts.

PUBLIC NOTARIES. The Act authorizes the Secretary of State to commission a qualified individual as a notary public. An applicant paying an application fee qualifies if at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, an Iowa resident or employed in Iowa, able to read and write English, and not have committed certain fraudulent acts. The Act also provides for the commission of members of the Iowa General Assembly and employees of state government. The Act requires notaries public to use a stamp, and sets requirements for the stamp and stamping device. It provides grounds for the Secretary of State to deny, suspend, or otherwise limit a notary public’s appointment. It also requires a nonattorney notary public to state in any advertisement that the nonattorney notary public is not authorized to give legal advice. The Act replaces a reference to a notarial seal with an official stamp.

NOTARIAL ACTS. The Act provides for the recognition of notarial acts, under specified procedures, that are performed both within and outside the state. It prescribes requirements for different types of notarial acts as well as certificates that must be executed along with such acts. The Act authorizes a notarial act to be performed in Iowa by a notary public or other designated person (a judge, clerk or deputy clerk of a court, a person authorized by the law of this state to administer oaths, an individual authorized to perform a specific act by the law, or a registrar of vital statistics or a designee). Under the Act, the signature and title of someone performing a notarial act is prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title. The Act recognizes a notarial act legally performed in another state, territory, or insular possession of the United States, or on the land of a federally recognized Indian tribe. The Act specifically applies to a notarial act performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record. It requires a notary public who wishes to perform a notarial act involving an electronic record to notify the Secretary of State regarding the technology that the notary public will use.

FEES AND RULEMAKING. The Act authorizes the Secretary of State to collect fees for providing documents and certifying statements and adopt rules necessary to administer the Act.

EFFECTIVE DATE. The Act takes effect on January 1, 2013.

View the full text of Iowa Senate File 2265.