NEW NOTARY PUBLIC LAW – New Application and Change of Address Forms
2004 Public Chapter 854 rewrites the statutes dealing with notaries public. It becomes effective on July 1, 2004. This law deletes the obsolete provisions that no longer applied after the 1993 amendments that authorized all notaries to act statewide. It deletes any distinction between “notary public” and “notary at large” and instead provides that all notaries are notaries public for the state of Tennessee. When this law is codified, all of the statutes regarding election, powers and duties, bond, oath, and the notary seal will be consolidated into one part.
There are three major changes:
(1) The law adds new qualifications to be a notary. A notary must certify under penalty of perjury that he or she has never been removed from office as a notary public for official misconduct, has never had his or her notarial commission revoked or suspended, and has never been found guilty of the unauthorized practice of law. Your notary public application will need to be changed to reflect these new provisions. We have attached a sample notary public application containing the new provisions for your reference.
(2) The law changes the requirements for when a notary moves during their term of office. If a notary moves out of the county from which he or she was elected to another county in Tennessee, the notary is required to notify the county clerk in the county from which they were elected and pay a fee of $7.00. The county clerk notifies the secretary of state and forwards $2.00 of the fee to the secretary of state, and the secretary of state will update the notary records. If a notary moves out of the state of Tennessee, the notary is no longer authorized to act and it is a Class C misdemeanor ($50 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail) for a notary to continue to act after the notary has moved out of state. We have attached a sample form that could be used to notify the county clerk when a notary moves out of the county of election. This form could be distributed to notaries in conjunction with the application process.
(3) The law changes the color of the notary seal. The stamp is to be in a color other than black or yellow, but notaries do not have to change until the expiration of their current term, and there is no penalty for using the wrong color ink. The secretary of state is designing a new stamp which will be round and will be very similar to the old one. Notaries may continue to use their old seals until the expiration of their current terms.
New Notary Public Law – page 2
Minor changes include the addition of “unless otherwise provided by law” to the requirement that notaries sign documents in their own hand, so the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act or other statutes can apply; and the deletion of criminal penalties for failure to turn in the notary seal when the notary’s commission expires or for failure to include the expiration date of the notary’s commission on acknowledgements.
Everything else, including the current fee of $12.00 to become a notary ($7.00 to county clerk and $5.00 to secretary of state), remains the same. You can find the full text of the new law on the General Assembly’s website at www.legislature.state.tn.us.
Please note that the forms we have attached to this Spotlight are examples, and that they contain the minimum required information. Your forms may be different, but they do need to contain the required information. If you have any questions, please contact your county attorney or your CTAS county government consultant.
TENNESSEE NOTARY PUBLIC APPLICATION
This application must be signed under oath in the presence of a notary public and submitted to the County Clerk at least days prior to the meeting of the county legislative body at which it is to be considered. Once elected, you must then be commissioned by the Governor. If elected, you will be required to post a bond in the amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000). The bond must be filed in the office of the County Clerk, who will accept the required fees and administer the oath of office. You are not authorized to act as a notary public until you have received your commission from the Governor, filed your bond, and taken the oath of office. If you move your residence or your principal place of business out of this county, you are required by law to notify the County Clerk of the change of address.
ANSWER EVERY QUESTION. PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE.
Date of Application:
Full Name (as it will appear on your notary commission):
First Middle Last
Residence Address: Street Address
City State Zip
Name of Employer:
Principal Business Address: Street Address
City State Zip
Telephone: (residence) (business)
Date of Birth:
For RENEWAL applications, give the expiration date of your current commission:
PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS YES OR NO:
1. Have you ever been convicted of offering or giving a bribe, larceny, or any other offense declared infamous by law?
2. If the answer to question 1 was YES, has your citizenship been restored?
3. Is there an unpaid judgment against you for money received in an official capacity and due to the United States, to Tennessee or any Tennessee county, or are you a defaulter to the treasury?
4. Are you a soldier, seaman, marine, or airman in the regular Army, Navy, or Air Force of the United States, a member of the United States Congress, or a person holding any office of profit or trust under any foreign power, other state or the United States?
5. Have you ever been removed from office as a notary public for official misconduct?
6. Have you ever had a notarial commission revoked or suspended by this or any other state?
7. Have you ever been found by a court of this state or any other state to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law?
8. Is there any other reason that you are legally disqualified from holding the office of a notary public?
I DO SWEAR OR AFFIRM UNDER PENALTIES OF PERJURY THAT THE STATEMENTS ABOVE ARE TRUE AND CORRECT.
Signature of Applicant
Personally appeared before me, , with whom I am personally acquainted, and who acknowledged that he/she executed the within instrument for the purposes therein contained.
Witness my hand, at office, this day of , 20 .
My commission expires:
TENNESSEE NOTARY PUBLIC
NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 8-16- , if a Tennessee Notary Public moves his or her residence or principal place of business out of the county from which the notary was elected and commissioned to another county in Tennessee, the notary is required to notify the County Clerk of the county from which the notary was elected and commissioned.
PLEASE TYPE OR PRINT:
FULL NAME OF NOTARY (as it appears on commission):
ADDRESS AT TIME OF ELECTION AND COMMISSION:
EFFECTIVE DATE OF ADDRESS CHANGE:
A fee of Seven Dollars ($7.00) must accompany this form, payable to the County Clerk.
Signature of Notary Public
The University of Tennessee does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status in provision of educational programs and services or employment opportunities and benefits. This policy extends to both employment by and admission to The University.