Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

Secretary Linda McCulloch Supports Training for Montana Notaries

February 4, 2009

( Helena) – Secretary of State Linda McCulloch today urged lawmakers to support a bill that would require training and record keeping for notaries public. A notary public is commissioned by the Secretary of State to administer oaths, witness signatures, or perform other duties permitted by state law.

“Across the nation, notaries are increasingly included in lawsuits when they do not provide their services properly,” said McCulloch. “This bill assures that Montana notaries know and understand their responsibilities and have the tools they need by requiring training, a test, and a journal.”

Montana notaries are considered public officials and are not currently required to complete any training or take any test to show understanding of their responsibilities.

“For the one type of notarial action that must be inspected by our office, 58% of the notaries who hadn’t taken one of the free training courses made a legal error,” said McCulloch. “This bill will protect the public from potential dangers associated with inaccurate notarial acts, and it will protect Montana notaries from legal liability.”

Senate Bill 299 is sponsored by Senator Joe Tropila and includes additional changes that will complement the required training and journal keeping provisions. Changes like reducing the residency requirement to 30 days, requiring blue ink for the notary’s original signature, and doing away with crimper style seals will bring Montana in line with other states.

SB299 has no significant fiscal impact and would become effective July 1, 2010.