Sometimes a state does a great job of letting everyone know that new rules for notaries are forthcoming. Sometimes, not as well.
The state of Arkansas quietly had new rules for notaries go into effect yesterday. It is part of act HB 4150 passed in Arkansas 91st Assembly. The changes have deftly avoided the news feeds, and we were led to the text of the bill just yesterday.
It is definitely not all that bad. For starters, it get rids of assigned fees for notary services. A notary can now charge what they consider a “reasonable amount”, as long as they disclose the fee prior to performing their notarial services.
We can’t see how this isn’t a huge victory for notaries and small businesses who offer services. The free market should set the cost of doing business, and notaries should not be forced to charge fees, from frankly, a bygone era. The current cost of business needs to be included in the cost of services.
For the mobile notary, who works with signing services, it is still a good thing. As the cost of a static notary goes up, which the market will most likely dictate, it will increase the perceived value of your mobile notary services. This is a win-win situation for everyone.
The bill also softens language regarding contested fees for a signing. In accusations that a notary has charged unfair fees, the law priorly was written to express the infraction as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor has been removed and the law now just says infraction. While that sounds like a good thing, we have not heard back authoritatively from any of our legal expert friends as of yet, so it is hard for us to say what the real world implications of this are.
Another section deals with bond issuers and the rules on their obligations. The bill also clarifies rules on when a signing is legitimate, when a notary may refuse a public notarial act, and requirements for documents.
If you are a notary public in Arkansas, we recommend you take a look at that section yourself. It is section three of the document. Underlined text are new wording for the law.
The state also announced they will be releasing information about the changes on their website, which you can visit at http://bcs.sos.arkansas.gov/.