State Representative Glen R. Grell of the 87th Legislative District introduced legislation to update and improve Pennsylvania laws on notarization, acknowledgments and unsworn foreign declarations.
In a press release, Grell said his legislation is based in part on the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Association of Notaries (PAN), the Uniform Law Commission, the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA).
“The legislation will help ensure that notarizations and acknowledgments are taken reliably and professionally; help prevent fraudulent notarization practices, and will facilitate electronic commerce,” Grell said.
The legislation is expected to improve current Pennsylvania law by:
- Prohibiting notaries from engaging in false or deceptive advertising, preparing or offering to prepare legal documents, providing legal advice and purporting to act as a notario publico;
- Increasing requirements for information retained in a notary public’s register to include the manner in which the identity of individuals is determined, the full name and address of individuals for whom notarial acts are performed, and both the time and date each act is performed;
- Imposing an affirmative obligation on notarial officers to verify the identity of any person for whom a notarial act is performed;
- Authorizing notarial officers to insist upon additional verifications of the identity of persons for whom notarial acts are performed and to refuse to perform notarial acts when concerns arise about identity, competence and coercion;
- Expanding the grounds for denying, refusing to renew, revoking or suspending notary commissions to include fraudulent, dishonest or deceitful acts; non-felony crimnial convictions involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit; failure to discharge the duties of a notary; violations or regulations; and failure to maintain bonding;
- Providing improved procedures and definitions to facilitate the performance of notarial acts on electronic records;
- Expanding the recognition of notarial acts performed in other jurisdictions beyond acknowledgments and bring Pennsylvania law into compliance with the Hague Convention with respect to apostilles;
- Creating a public electronic database to verify the status of commissions issued to notaries and to identify notaries that are registered to perform notarial acts on electronic records; and
- Providing for the recognition of unsworn foreign declarations in a manner consistent with federal law to facilitate international commerce.
To discuss this issue with PAN President Marc L. Aronson, please call 800-944-8790 or E-mail him at [email protected].