The rules for Vermont Notaries are changing in a dramatic fashion. And it is going to be more challenging than before, maybe even greatly so, depending on your opinion and how you run your business.
Change In Control
All notaries in Vermont are now subject to the control of the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office. More specifically, the Office of Professional Regulation. On the surface, this sounds like a simple change, as there are many professions that are under the purview of the OPR (Office of Professional Regulation).
But, buyer beware, as the Office in Control, the OPR has changed a lot of the rules surrounding notary publics.
According to the OPR website, the notary registration process is going to be far, far more complex then what it used to be. The entire notary registration process used to consist of a single page form, submitted to the local county clerk, found at the county courthouse. — From LexBlog
This is all being done in the interest of greater oversight. Which, honestly, the vast majority of the notaries that Sunshine Signing works with, do not need.
This isn’t just a simple change of oversight, it is a massive increase in state power over notaries. Notaries are now lumped in with doctors and nurses. And they have a lot more regulations to get their licenses than notaries do.
Is a change to make notaries more accountable good?
Yes, but only if done smartly to increase efficiency and transparency. And, opinions may vary, but many notaries will find the new licensing requirements burdensome or beyond the pale.
New Disciplinary Actions
Vermont notaries will now be subject to numerous new rules that could result in disciplinary action from the state.
For example, a notary who does not inform the state within 30 days if they have moved addresses are now subject to prosecution. And that is not even close to all of it. Notaries are now bound to the same rules as people like physicians. And notaries are going to need to learn these rules if they are to comply.
Even more perplexing, is that notaries will now be subject to disciplinary action, based on both the unique facets of notary practice, as well as, general disciplinary proceedings that apply to all professions. For example, notaries are now required to obtain and utilize a physical stamping device (whereas previously a signature was adequate). 26 V.S.A. § 5370(b) provides that “[i]f a notary public’s stamping device is lost or stolen, the notary public or the notary public’s personal representative or guardian shall notify promptly the Office [OPR] on discovering the device is lost or stolen.” Failure to promptly report constitutes “unprofessional conduct” and may subject the notary to prosecution pursuant to 26 V.S.A. § 5342(a)(5). — From LexBlog
Forget about a notaries’ five biggest mistakes, this is of an unknown amount at this point.
There is no denying these changes are abrupt and will require significant effort to learn. Notaries will be subject to an array of state laws they were not subject to before. From obtaining a notary commission, to the responsibilities on the job, to possible complications in their personal life, the process is changing and Vermont notaries need to be ready.
We are not lawyers, and though we do business with notaries in Vermont, the scope of the changes is outside of our expertise. Therefore, we recommend you visit the article at Lexblog. They are more qualified to talk about the specifics than we are, and have all of the documents that are needed for Vermont notaries.
We’d like to give full credit to Lexblog for alerting us of the changes. Their article contains additional specific information. If you are a notary in Vermont, we would highly recommend you read it.
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