We’ve answered a wide variety of your questions on RULONA, including those on the journal, education and notary wording. Here are some examples of the questions PAN has fielded since October 26, 2017 when the law became effective:
Q: How do we know which notaries this new law applies to?
A: There are 80,000+ Pennsylvania notaries. The Department of State is requiring all notaries in the Commonwealth to abide by the new law.
Q: Why does so much more information need to be recorded in the new journal?
A: While it is more work to fill in the extra entries in the journal for each notarization you complete, the journal is your best defense against an accusation of misconduct or fraud. By filling out the journal entries completely and in chronological order, if a question ever arose about a notarization you completed, your journal will prove that you fulfilled your notarial duties to the best of your abilities.
Q: Don’t the tutorials (listed in the Member Portal) count toward the three hours of required notary education?
A: PAN created the tutorials as a way to help our members learn about the new notary public law (RULONA). The Department of State determines what is covered in the three-hours of mandated notary education. The Department requires a specific set of topics to be included in the workbooks, PowerPoint presentations, and other resources used in the live seminars and online course. Once an education vendor’s course and materials are state-approved, a certificate of approval is conveyed to the vendor. Only state-approved education fulfills the three-hour education mandate. PAN’s tutorials are offered only as a service and resource for our members.
Q: Can’t I just say I’m witnessing everyone’s signatures instead of saying this is an acknowledgment or a verification on oath or affirmation, because I am actually witnessing it?
A: You cannot decide what notary act your customer needs. The customer must tell you what notary act they want.
Q: Can I still use my old register? The law says I can until my current commission expires.
A: Yes, you may continue to use your old register until your current commission expires. However, effective October 26, 2017, you were required to include the additional entries in your register, per the new notary public law (RULONA). PAN has a tutorial in the Member Portal of our Web site at www.notary.org on how to convert your register to include these new entries. Once you start your next commission, you will be required to obtain a journal.
Q: When a notary certificate says on oath or affirmation, if the document itself does not contain an affirmation, is the notary supposed to ask the customer to swear or affirm?
Q: Now that the prior seals are being referred to as stamps, if we have the word “seal” after a signature line in a document, should we delete those going forward?
A: No. There is no need to delete the word “seal” after a signature line in a document. Your notary stamp is your official seal as a notary public.
Q: I am switching to a RULONA-compliant journal for my own ease of use. What do I do with my current register (especially since it isn’t full)?
A: Put your old register away in a safe place, even though it is not full, until you resign your commission or retire as a notary. Then, turn your registers and journals into your county’s Recorder of Deeds office.