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Changes to Texas Notary Laws

Toni Luttrell  | Published on 10/13/2017

CHANGES TO NOTARIES LAWS

Recently, the Texas Secretary of State held its first free Notary Public Conference, offering information to notaries across the state to assist them in performing their duties accurately and responsibly. 

Topics discussed were: why documents are notarized, the notary’s essential tools, the fundamental responsibilities of the office, administering the oath, fees, and challenging the process. 

The 85th Texas Legislature passed three bills into law which directly affect notaries and their duties: 

* SB 2065, which took effect this September, makes changes in the Business and Commerce Code.  Basically, the law prohibits notaries from representing themselves as attorneys or immigrant experts. 

  * SB 1098 relates to recordings, acknowledgement, and proof of certain written instruments for privacy issues.  Notaries must now be especially diligent in protecting various identifying methods of persons for privacy concerns.  That means recording only portions of driver’s license numbers, mailing addresses, etc. and redacting them when necessary.

* HB 1217 (also known as the on-line bill) becomes effective July 1, 2018. While notaries do not have to be “on-line notaries”, this bill makes it possible to do on-line notarization.  Texas is one of only three (3) states pass such a law.  To be an on-line notary: 

-You must register with the Secretary of State your intention to become an on-line notary 
AND 
-You must purchase (from a private vendor-TBD) software for the procedure

Shortly, the Secretary of State’s office will present rules for on-line notarization, on which notaries and the general public can comment. 

At the conclusion of the conference, officials announced their intention to make the notary conference a yearly event.