As of September 20, 2019, the Ohio Notary law was changed due to Senate Bill 263, also known as the Notary Public Modernization Act, passed and then signed into law on December 19, 2018.
In order to take and certify depositions, most court reporters in Ohio are notaries. Over 50,000 attorneys are notaries as well. These changes affect every notary in Ohio.
In this article, we will summarize the changes.
In an article published on March 31, 2019, attorney Mary Amos Augsburger, CEO and Corporate Secretary of The Ohio State Bar Association, stated, “The extensive reforms in this bill will be good news for Ohio consumers and the clients we serve, who will enjoy more protections from fraud and increased convenience. As for the approximately 180,000 notaries in Ohio, which includes about 50,000 attorneys, the bill ensures consistent standards across the state and provides for the training and support they need to confidently and accurately witness and authenticate all the affidavits and oaths, property titles, grants, deeds, contracts, adoptions, advanced directives and powers of attorney — the documents, which represent the most important transactions in our lives and for our economy.”
Notary law changes from the Ohio Notary Public Modernization Act include:
Notary commissions are now managed by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office
According to the Ohio Secretary of State, “Under the new law, all applications for notary commissions, renewals, online authorizations and updates to contact information must submit an application electronically to the secretary of state. This law eliminated the need to record the notary commission with the county or any other office, the commission’s status is maintained on our public database.”
Notary commissions will no longer be recorded with the county Clerk of Courts.
Online or electronic notarizations are now allowed. Commissioned Ohio Notaries may apply to be an online Notary.
Ohio Revised Code defines “online notarization” as “a notarial act performed by means of live two-way video and audio conference technology that conforms to the standards adopted by the secretary of state under section 147.62 of the Revised Code.”
However, online notarizations of depositions are not allowed.
Ohio Revised Code 147.64(A)(3) regarding the authority of online notary public states, “An online notary public shall not take or certify a deposition as an online notarization.”
A notary must still be physically present to take and certify depositions for use in court.
Criminal Records Background Check
Anyone who is applying for a new or renewing an Ohio Notary commission must either obtain or provide a criminal records check that is not more than 6 months old at the time. Those who are not attorneys must obtain one. Attorneys must provide one.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State, “To be qualified to be commissioned as a notary public, a person must not have been convicted of, pled guilty or no contest to a disqualifying offense…If the criminal records report lists a disqualifying offense, then the application will be rejected.” View more about obtaining a criminal records check and disqualifying offenses here.
Education and Testing
Notary applicants (and renewals) have new education and testing requirements.
For new applicants, non-attorneys and attorneys are required to complete a 3-hour training program. Non-attorneys must pass a test. Attorneys are not required to take a test.
For renewals, a 1-hour education program is required.
For online notary authorization application for non-attorney and attorney notary public, 2 hours of education and a test is required. This is in addition to the education and test for the standard Ohio notary.
See the Ohio Secretary of State website for more about education, testing, and authorized providers.
New Fees for Notarizations in Ohio
“As of September 20, Ohio Notaries may charge up to $5 for any in-person, paper notarization. This is a significant increase over the previous fee schedule. The maximum fee for an electronic notarization that is not performed online is $10. The maximum fee for a remote online notarization is $25.” (National Notary Association)
Senate Bill 263, the Notary Public Modernization Act, changed the Ohio Notary law. Criminal background checks, education, and testing are now part of the requirements to applying for and renewing a notary commission.
For those of you who are currently notaries, we recommend you make sure you allow enough time to complete the requirements for renewal before your commission expires.