Notary Laws for 2018


Washington state passed a Senate Bill 5081 to enact Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). The revised law is based on the revised law which the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law proposed. The bill was signed on May 10, 2017, and will be enforced on July 1, 2018. 

The Senate Bill 5081 retains most of the provisions in the current Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts as assumed by as adopted by the Uniform Law Commission. However, the bill makes amends to a few sections, includes an additional chapter to Title 42 and repeals a few other sections of the current notary law in Washington state. The upcoming notary service laws for 2018 includes the following changes:

1. The Senate Bill 5081 adds new definitions for certain terms included in the Act. These terms are “acknowledgment”, “electronic, electronic records and electronic signature”, “notarial act”, “in a representative capacity”, “official stamp”, “stamping device”, “notary public”, “verification on oath or affirmation”, “state” and “foreign state”.

2. The Senate Bill 5081 prescribes that an applicant to the office of a notary public must be:

· 18 years of age,

· a citizen of the United States

· a resident of Washington or having a place of employment in the state

· proficient in English

· qualified to receive a commission on grounds authorized by the Department of Licensing

3. The Senate Bill 5081 requires a person signing a record, including electronic records, to be present personally before the notary at the time when notarization of documents, including acknowledgments or verification on affirmation or oath. The law also requires that notary officers verify identities of signers against proper ID proofs.

4. The Senate Bill 5081 recognizes that officers from another state performing notarial acts can create the same effect as and when such acts are performed by officers of Washington state. These officers include a notary of that particular state, a judge or clerk in a court of that state, or any individual who has the authority from the state to perform such acts. 

5. The Senate Bill 5081 clarifies that, except the provisions of the new chapter's Section 4(2), if a notarial officer fails to perform his/her duties or conform to specific requirements of the new chapter, the notarial act of the officer is not invalidated.

6. The Senate Bill 5081 requires a notary officer to maintain a journal of all notarial acts that the notary performs. Senate Bill 5081 also introduces an “electronic records Notary Public” commission for current notary officers who wish to maintain records of their notarial acts electronically.