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Notary Notes

Education Benefits PA Notaries

by PAN
Notarial education has been the rule in Pennsylvania for well over a decade. The Notary Public Law was amended in 2003 to refect the Department of State's intention that all notaries should have education. However, a state Supreme Court decision said the language of the amendment actually exempted some notaries from the mandate. The result was that some notaries have never been formally trained to perform their duties.

When the Uniform Law Commission drafted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) in 2010, the Drafting Committee strongly supported education. In the Committee's view, "Professional education enhances the effectiveness and integrity of the notarial system. The course of study envisioned ... is designed to educate a prospective notary public about the laws, rules, procedures, and ethics relevant to notarial acts."

In adopting RULONA, Pennsylvania lawmakers included the education section; thereby requiring all applicants - those who do not have a commission and those who are renewing a commission - to complete a three-hour course of education approved by the Department. The exemption from education was abolished.

Professional education enhances the effectiveness and integrity of the notarial system. The course of study described in RULONA is designed to educate every notary public to the same standard, so every notary is prepared to serve the citicens of Pennsylvania.

Taking educaiton also reduces the chances that a notary will be sanctioned by the Department of State. A renew of disciplinary actions published by the Department shows that notaries who are PAN members and who have had three hours of notary education before appointment or reappointment are better at avoiding the mistakes and situations that get them into trouble.

In the future, widespread use of electronic notarizations will mean notaries must keep up to date with changing technology as well as new developments in notary law. Continuing education helps to ensure that notaries are competent and trained to execute the duties of their office.

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