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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 22: Chronological official journal of notarial acts; contents; exceptions from duty to maintain; examination; safeguarding

Section 22. (a) Except as provided in subsection (f), a notary public shall keep, maintain, protect and provide for lawful inspection a chronological official journal of notarial acts performed by the notary public. The journal shall be a permanently bound book with numbered pages, except as otherwise provided in this section.

(b) A notary public shall keep not more than 1 active journal at the same time.

(c) For every notarial act, except for the issuance of a summons or subpoena or the administration of an oral oath, the notary public shall record in the journal at the time of the notarization:

(i) the date and time of the notarial act, proceeding or transaction;

(ii) the type of notarial act;

(iii) the type, title or a description of the document, transaction or proceeding; provided, however, that if multiple documents are signed by the same principal in the course of a transaction or during a single date, a single journal entry shall be sufficient;

(iv) the signature and printed name and address of each principal and witness, except that if a principal or witness informs the notary public that the principal or witness is a battered person, the notary public shall make a note in the journal that the person's address shall not be subject to public inspection; and

(v) a description of the satisfactory evidence of identity of each person, including:

(1) a notation of the type of identification document, the issuing agency, its serial or identification number and its date of issuance or expiration; provided, however, that if the identification number on the document is the person's social security number then, instead of including the number, the notary public shall write in the words ''Social Security number'' or the acronym ''SSN'';

(2) a notation if the notary public identified the individual on the oath or affirmation of a credible witness or based on the notary public's personal knowledge of the individual;

(3) the fee, if any, charged for the notarial act; and

(4) the address where the notarization was performed.

(d) A notary public shall not record a social security or credit card number in the journal.

(e) A notary public shall record in the journal the reason for not completing a notarial act requested by a principal.

(f) A journal shall not be required for a notary public who is an attorney admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction or who is employed by any such attorney. If an attorney or person employed by an attorney elects to maintain a journal, this section shall not be construed to impair or infringe on the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine.

A notary public who works for a government entity shall not be required to maintain a journal for the notarial acts performed in the course of that employment.

(g) Except as provided in subsection (f), a journal may be examined without restriction by a law enforcement officer in the course of an official investigation, subpoenaed by court order or surrendered at the direction of the state secretary. Nothing in this section shall prevent a notary public from seeking appropriate judicial protective orders.

(h) A notary public shall maintain and safeguard a journal and all other notarial records and shall surrender or destroy such records only as directed by law, court order or regulation or at the direction of the state secretary.

(i) If not in use, a journal shall be kept in a secure area under the exclusive control of the notary public and shall not be used by any other notary public or surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment.