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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT REGULATING NOTARIES PUBLIC TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AND THE VALIDITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF RECORDED INSTRUMENTS

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
      SECTION 1.  The introductory paragraph of section 30 of chapter 183 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- The acknowledgment of the execution of a deed or other written instrument required to be acknowledged shall be by 1 or more of the grantors or by any attorneys or representatives executing it on behalf of the grantors.
      SECTION 2.  Said chapter 183 is hereby further amended by striking out section 42, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
      Section 42.  The forms set forth in the appendix to this chapter and in section 15 of chapter 222 for taking acknowledgments to deeds and other instruments and for certifying the authority of officers taking proofs or acknowledgments may be used but the existence of those forms shall not preclude the use of any other forms lawfully used as required or authorized by any general or special law or any regulation or executive order regulating notaries public, including forms that acknowledge the voluntary act of an individual executing a document in a representative capacity but fail to acknowledge the deed or instrument as the voluntary or free act of the principal or grantor.
      SECTION 3.  Chapter 222 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 1, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sections:-
      Section 1.  For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
      “Acknowledgment”, a notarial act in which an individual, at a single time and place appears, in person, before a notary public, is identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity and presents a document to the notary public and indicates to the notary public that the signature on the document before the notary was voluntarily affixed by the individual for the purposes stated within the document or that the signature on the document was the individual’s free act and deed and, if applicable, that the individual was authorized to sign in a particular representative capacity. 
      “Affirmation”, a notarial act, or part thereof, that is legally equivalent to an oath and in which an individual, at a single time and place appears, in person, before a notary public, is identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity and the individual makes a vow of truthfulness or fidelity under the penalties of perjury without invoking a deity.
      “Copy certification”, a notarial act in which a notary public is presented with a document that the notary public copies, or supervises the copying thereof, by a photographic or electronic copying process, compares the original document to the copy and determines that the copy is accurate and complete.
      “Credible witness”, an honest, reliable and impartial person who personally knows an individual appearing before a notary and who takes an oath or affirmation before the notary to vouch for that individual's identity.
      “Journal”, a permanently bound book that creates and preserves a chronological record of notarial acts performed by a notary public.
      “Jurat”, a notarial act in which an individual, at a single time and place appears, in person, before a notary public, is identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity and: (i) presents a document; (ii) signs the document in the presence of the notary public; and (iii) takes an oath or affirmation before the notary public vouching for the truthfulness or accuracy of the contents of the signed document.
      “Notarial act” or “notarization”, an act that a notary public is empowered to perform.
      “Notarial certificate”, the part of or attachment to a notarized document for completion by the notary that bears the notary public’s signature and seal and states the venue, date and facts that are attested by the notary public in a particular notarial act or notarization.
      “Notary public” or “notary”, a person commissioned to perform official acts pursuant to Article IV of the Amendments of the Constitution.
      “Oath”, a notarial act, or part thereof, that is legally equivalent to an affirmation and in which an individual, at a single time and place, appears in person before a notary public, is identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity and takes a vow of truthfulness or fidelity under the penalties of perjury by invoking a deity.
      “Official misconduct”, a violation of sections 13 to 24, inclusive, or any other general or special law in connection with a notarial act or a notary public’s performance of an official act in a manner found to be grossly negligent or against the public interest.
      “Personal knowledge of identity”, familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to ensure beyond doubt that the individual is the person whose identity is claimed.
      “Principal”, a person whose signature is notarized or a person taking an oath or affirmation before a notary public.
      “Regular place of work or business”, a place where an individual spends a substantial portion of their working or business hours.
      “Satisfactory evidence of identity”, identification of an individual based on: (i) at least 1 current document issued by a federal or state government agency bearing the photographic image of the individual’s face and signature; (ii) the oath or affirmation of a credible witness unaffected by the document or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual; or (iii) identification of an individual based on the notary public's personal knowledge of the identity of the principal; provided, however, that for a person who is not a United States citizen, "satisfactory evidence of identity" shall mean identification of an individual based on a valid passport or other government-issued document evidencing the individual's nationality or residence and which bears a photographic image of the individual's face and signature.
      “Signature witnessing”, a notarial act in which an individual, at a single time and place, appears, in person, before a notary public, is identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity and presents a document and signs the document in the presence of the notary public.
      Section 1A.  Justices of the peace and notaries public shall be appointed and their commissions shall be issued for the commonwealth. Justices of the peace and notaries public shall have jurisdiction throughout the commonwealth when acting under the sole authority of such a commission and shall perform their duties subject to sections 8 to 26, inclusive. Unless otherwise expressly provided, justices of the peace and notaries public may administer oaths or affirmations in all cases in which an oath or affirmation is required and take acknowledgments of deeds and other instruments.
      SECTION 4.  Said chapter 222 is hereby further amended by striking out sections 8 and 8A, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
      Section 8.  (a) When taking an acknowledgment of an instrument or administering an oath for an instrument filed in court, a justice of the peace, notary public or other person duly authorized shall print or type such justice of the peace, notary public or other person’s name directly below such person’s signature and affix thereto the date of the expiration of such person’s commission in the following language: “My commission expires ______.”
      (b)  A notary public shall keep an official notarial seal or stamp that shall be the exclusive property of the notary public.  A notary public shall not permit another to use such notarial seal or stamp. A notary public shall obtain a new seal or stamp upon renewal of the commission, upon receipt of a new commission or if the name of the notary public has changed. The notarial seal or stamp shall include: (i) the notary public's name exactly as indicated on the commission; (ii) the words "notary public" and “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” or “Massachusetts”; (iii) the expiration date of the commission in the following words: “My commission expires ____”; and (iv) a facsimile of the seal of the commonwealth. If a notarial seal that requires ink is employed, black ink shall be used.  The requirements of this subsection shall be satisfied by using a stamp and a seal that, together, include all of the information required by this section. Failure to comply with this section shall not affect the validity of any instrument or the record thereof.
      SECTION 5. Section 11 of said chapter 222, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
      Persons serving in or with the armed forces of the commonwealth or other reserve component commands when conducting mobilization exercises and soldier readiness processing or the armed forces of the United States or their dependents, wherever located, may acknowledge any instrument in the manner and form required by law before a commissioned officer in the active service of the armed forces of the commonwealth or the United States with the rank of second lieutenant or higher in the army, air force or marine corps or ensign or higher in the navy or United States Coast Guard.  Any such instrument shall contain a statement that the person executing the instrument is serving in or with the armed forces of the commonwealth or other reserve component command when conducting mobilization exercises and soldier readiness processing or the armed forces of the United States or is a dependent of any such person. No such instrument shall be rendered invalid by the failure to state in the instrument the place of execution or acknowledgment.
      SECTION 6.  Said chapter 222 is hereby further amended by striking out section 12, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 15 sections:-
      Section 12.  Notwithstanding section 22 or any other general or special law to the contrary, a notary public who is an attorney or who is employed by an attorney and by virtue of such employment performs notary public duties shall not be required to maintain a journal.
      Section 13.  (a) A person qualified for a notary public commission shall be at least 18 years of age and reside or have a regular place of work or business within the commonwealth.
      (b)  In the governor's discretion, an application for appointment, reappointment or renewal of a commission may be denied based on:
            (i)  submission of an official application containing a material misstatement or omission of fact;
            (ii)  the applicant's conviction of an offense that resulted in a prison sentence;
            (iii)  the applicant's conviction of a misdemeanor offense that resulted in a sentence to probation or a fine or a conviction for a violation of paragraph (a) of subdivision (1) of section 24 of chapter 90 or subsection (a) of section 8 of chapter 90B;
            (iv)  the applicant's admission to sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt of any offense;
            (v)  a finding or admission of responsibility or liability against the applicant in a civil action based on the applicant’s fraud or deceit;
            (vi)  revocation, suspension, restriction or denial of a notary public commission or professional licensure by the commonwealth or any other jurisdiction; or
            (vii)  any other reason, including official misconduct, that in the governor's discretion, would render the applicant unsuitable to hold a notary public commission.
      Section 14.  A person commissioned as a notary public may perform notarial acts in any part of the commonwealth for a term of 7 years unless the commission is earlier revoked or the notary public resigns.
      Section 15.  (a) A notary public may perform the following notarial acts: (i) acknowledgments; (ii) oaths and affirmations; (iii) jurats; (iv) signature witnessings; (v) copy certifications; (vi) issuing summonses for witnesses pursuant to section 1 of chapter 233; (vii) issuing subpoenas; and (viii) witnessing the opening of a bank safe, vault or box pursuant to section 32 of chapter 167.
      (b)  A notary public shall take the acknowledgment of the signature or mark of persons acknowledging for themselves or in any representative capacity by using substantially the following form:
      “On this ____ day of ___________, 20__, before me, the undersigned notary public, ________________________ (name of document signer) personally appeared, proved to me through satisfactory evidence of identification, which were _______________________, to be the person whose name is signed on the preceding or attached document, and acknowledged to me that (he) (she) signed it voluntarily for its stated purpose.
      (as partner for ____________, a partnership)
      (as ____________ for ______________, a corporation or other entity)
      (as attorney in fact for ________________, the principal)
      (as ___________ for _______________, (a) (the) _________________)
      as the voluntary act of the (partnership)(corporation or other entity)(principal)(                   ).
      _________________ (official signature and seal of notary public)”.
      (c)  A notary public shall use a jurat certificate in substantially the following form in notarizing a signature or mark on an affidavit or other sworn or affirmed written declaration:
      “On this ____ day of ___________, 20__, before me, the undersigned notary public, ________________________ (name of document signer) personally appeared, proved to me through satisfactory evidence of identification, which were _______________________, to be the person who signed the preceding or attached document in my presence and who swore or affirmed to me that the contents of the document are truthful and accurate to the best of (his) (her) knowledge and belief.
      _________________ (official signature and seal of notary public)”
      (d)  A notary public shall witness a signature in substantially the following form in notarizing a signature or mark to confirm that it was affixed in the notary public's presence without administration of an oath or affirmation:
      “On this ____ day of ___________, 20__, before me, the undersigned notary public, ________________________ (name of document signer) personally appeared, proved to me through satisfactory evidence of identification, which were _______________________, to be the person whose name is signed on the preceding or attached document in my presence.
      _________________ (official signature and seal of notary public)”.
      (e)  A notary public shall certify a copy by using substantially the following form:
      “On this ____ day of ___________, 20__, I certify that the (preceding) (following) (attached) document is a true, exact, complete and unaltered copy made by me of __________________ (description of the document), presented to me by ______________________.
      _________________ (official signature and seal of notary public)”
      (f)  A notary public may certify the affixation of a signature by mark on a document presented for notarization if:
            (i)  the principal affixes the mark in the presence of the notary public and 2 witnesses unaffected by the document;
            (ii)  both witnesses sign their own names beside the mark; and
            (iii)  the notary public notarizes the signature by mark through an acknowledgment, jurat or signature witnessing.
      (g)  A notary public may sign the name of a principal who is physically unable to sign or make a mark on a document presented for notarization if:
            (i)  the principal directs the notary public to do so in the presence of 2 witnesses who are unaffected by the document;
            (ii)  the principal does not have a demeanor that causes the notary public to have a compelling doubt about whether the principal knows the consequences of the transaction or document requiring the notarial act;
            (iii)  in the notary public’s judgment, the principal is acting of the principal’s own free will;
            (iv)  the notary public signs the principal’s name in the presence of the principal and the witnesses;
            (v)  both witnesses sign their own names beside the signature;
            (vi)  the notary public writes below the signature: “Signature affixed by notary public in the presence of (names and addresses of principal and 2 witnesses)”; and
            (vii)  the notary public notarizes the signature through an acknowledgment, jurat or signature witnessing.
      (h)  This section shall not require a notary public to use the forms in this section if another form of acknowledgment, jurat, signature witnessing or copy certification is: (i) required or allowed by any court rule or court form or by any court rule or directive, including, with respect to documents presented for filing with the land court and its land registration districts, the rules, forms, directives and guidelines of the land court; or (ii)  required by any general or special law including, but not limited to, section 2-504 of chapter 190B, any federal law or any regulation adopted pursuant to any such law; provided, however, that the forms in this section may be used in lieu of any equivalent form authorized or promulgated by any such law or regulation including, but not limited to, section 42 of chapter 183 and the forms in the appendix to said chapter 183 if any such law or regulation does not expressly prohibit the use of other forms.
      (i)  This section shall not require a notary public to use the forms in this section if the form of acknowledgment, jurat, signature witnessing or copy certification of a document contains an alternative form from another state if the document is to be filed or recorded in or governed by the laws of the other state.
      Section 16.  (a) A notary public shall not perform a notarial act if:
            (i)  the principal is not in the notary public’s presence at the time of notarization;
            (ii)  the principal is not identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity;
            (iii)  the principal has a demeanor that causes the notary public to have a compelling doubt about whether the principal knows the consequences of the transaction or document requiring the notarial act;
            (iv)  in the notary public’s judgment, the principal is not acting of the principal’s own free will;
            (v)  the notary public is a party to or is named in the document that is to be notarized unless: (1) the notary public is named in the document for the sole purpose of receiving notices relating to the document; or (2) the notary public is licensed as an attorney in the commonwealth or is employed by an attorney so licensed and is named as an executor, trustee or any other fiduciary capacity in a document;
            (vi)  the notary public will receive as a direct result of the notarial act any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property or other consideration exceeding the maximum fees provided in section 41 of chapter 262 or any other general or special law or executive order, or has any financial interest in the subject matter of the document; provided, however, that this clause shall not preclude a notary public who is licensed as an attorney in the commonwealth or who is employed by an attorney so licensed from performing notarial acts relative to any document in connection with which the attorney receives a legal fee for professional legal services; or
            (vii)  the notary public is a spouse, domestic partner, parent, guardian, child or sibling of the principal, including in-law, step or half relatives, except if a principal witnesses a will or other legal document prepared by the notary public who is an attorney licensed in the commonwealth or if the notary is employed by any such attorney.
      (b)  A notary public shall not refuse to perform a notarial act solely based on the principal's race, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, health, disability or status as a nonclient or noncustomer of the notary public or the notary public’s employer.
      (c)  A nonattorney notary public shall not influence a person to enter into or avoid a transaction involving a notarial act by the notary public; provided, however, that the notary public may provide assistance relating to that transaction if the notary public is duly qualified, trained or acting pursuant to a standard or practice recognized in a particular industry or professional field in selecting, drafting or completing a certificate or other document related to a matter within such industry or field.
      (d)  A notary public shall not execute a certificate containing information which the notary public knows or believes to be false.
      (e)  A notary public shall not affix an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete.
      (f)  A notary public shall not provide or send a signed or sealed notarial certificate to another person with the understanding that it will be completed or attached to a document outside of the notary public’s presence; provided, however, that in connection with a commercial, nonconsumer transaction, a notary public may deliver a signed, sealed or signed and sealed notarial certificate to an attorney with the understanding that: (i) the attorney shall attach the certificate to a document outside of the notary public’s presence; (ii) the attorney shall hold such notarial certificate in escrow; and (iii) the attorney shall obtain the approval of any principals involved before attaching the certificate to the document.
      (g)  A notary public shall not notarize a signature on a blank or incomplete document, except as provided in subsection (f).
      (h)  A notary public shall not perform any official notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud.
      (i)  A notary public shall not use the term “notario” or “notario publico” or any equivalent non-English term in a business card, advertisement, notice or sign.
      (j)  A notary public shall not claim to have powers, qualifications, rights or privileges that the office of notary public does not provide. 
      (k)  This section shall not require a notary public to use the forms in section 15 if the form of acknowledgment, jurat, signature witnessing or copy certification appears on a printed form that contains an express prohibition against altering such form.
      Section 17.  (a) A notary public shall not advise clients, offer legal advice or represent or advertise the notary public as a lega1 specialist or consultant unless the notary public is an attorney licensed to practice law in the commonwealth. A notary public shall not state or imply in any communication that the notary public can or will obtain special favors from or has special influence with a government agency. A notary public who is not licensed to practice law in the commonwealth shall not make a literal translation of the notary public’s status as “licensed” or as a “notary public” into a language other than English without regard to the true meaning of the word or phrase in that language or use any other term that implies that the notary public is an attorney so licensed, in any document, including an advertisement, stationery, letterhead, business card or other written or broadcast material describing the notary public or the notary public’s services.
      (b)  A notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in the commonwealth:
            (i)  shall not offer legal advice or advise a client as to the immigration status of a client, secure or attempt to secure supporting documents including, but not limited to, birth certificates, necessary to complete a client’s immigration forms or submit completed immigration forms on a client’s behalf to any governmental agency;
            (ii)  may translate questions presented on an immigration form for another person and may complete those forms at the explicit direction of such other person only if the translation of such other person’s answers is necessary; and
            (iii)  prior to providing services of any kind related to an immigration matter or any matter that could influence or affect a person’s immigration status, shall provide a client with a written statement that states “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law. I may not give you legal advice or advise you about immigration policies or procedures. You should seek the advice of a qualified attorney to assist you with any legal questions or with questions about legal status under immigration law.”
      (c)  Subsection (b) shall not apply to:
            (i)  an attorney licensed to practice law in any state or territory of the United States or in a foreign country when authorized by the supreme judicial court, to the extent the attorney renders immigration assistance service in the course of the attorney’s practice as an attorney;
            (ii)  a paralegal, legal intern or law student employed by an attorney so licensed and rendering immigration assistance in the course of the intern’s or student’s employment; and
            (iii)  an organization employing or desiring to employ a person who is not a citizen of the United States if the organization, its employees or agents provide advice or assistance in immigration-related matters to noncitizen employees or potential employees without compensation from the individuals to whom such advice or assistance is provided.
      (d)  A notary public who is not an attorney shall not engage in the practice of law. This subsection shall not preclude a notary public who is duly qualified, trained or experienced in a particular industry or professional field from selecting, drafting or completing a certificate or other document related to a matter within that industry or field.
      (e)  A notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in the commonwealth shall not conduct a real estate closing and shall not act as a real estate closing agent; provided, however, that a notary public who is employed by an attorney so licensed may notarize a document in conjunction with a real estate closing conducted by the attorney and a notary public who is employed by a lender may notarize a document in conjunction with the closing of such lender’s real estate loans.
      (f)  This section shall apply to a notary public and to any person who employs, contracts with or otherwise uses the services of a notary public with knowledge or reason to know of conduct that is in violation of this section.
      Section 18.  (a) The attorney general or district attorney may prosecute any person committing a violation of this chapter. A person convicted of committing a violation of this chapter shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 6 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 1 year, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The attorney general or district attorney may file a petition for injunctive relief against any person who violates this chapter. If the attorney general, district attorney or the state secretary has cause to believe that, as a result of official misconduct, a person holding the office of notary public is unsuitable to hold that office, the attorney general, district attorney or state secretary shall provide notice to the governor of such official misconduct. Any conviction based on a violation of this chapter shall be grounds for the revocation of a notary public’s appointment.  If the court finds that a person so convicted either knew or should have known that the conduct would be in violation of this chapter, the court may require such person to pay a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each such violation and may also require the person to pay the reasonable costs of investigation and litigation of the violation, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.
      (b)  A person having an interest or right that is or may be adversely affected by a violation of section 17 may initiate an action for private remedies and, if the attorney general or district attorney has not done so, for injunctive relief. Such person may be awarded actual damages and, if the court finds that the person against whom the action is brought either knew or should have known the conduct would be in violation of said section 17, punitive damages of not more than $5,000 per violation, attorneys’ fees and court costs.
      (c)  A violation of section 17 shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice pursuant to chapter 93A.
      (d)  It shall not be a defense in an action pursuant to this section that the conduct that is the subject of the action, in whole or in part, occurred primarily or substantially outside the commonwealth.
      Section 19.  A notary public shall perform a notarial act for any person requesting such act who tenders the fee provided for in section 41 of chapter 262 or any other general or special law or executive order, unless:
            (i)  the notary public knows or has reason to believe that the notarial act or the associated transaction is unlawful;
            (ii)  the principal has a demeanor that causes the notary public to have a compelling doubt about whether the principal knows the consequences of the transaction or document requiring the notarial act;
            (iii)  the act is prohibited by this chapter or any other applicable law; or
            (iv)  the number of notarial acts requested practicably precludes completion of all acts at once, in which case, the notary public shall arrange for later completion of the remaining acts.
      Section 20.  (a) A notary public shall not be authorized or required to investigate, ascertain or attest to the lawfulness, propriety, accuracy or truthfulness of a document or transaction involving a notarial act.
      (b)  Except as may be required by the office of the state secretary for the issuance of an apostille and provided the form of acknowledgement, jurat, signature witnessing or copy certification otherwise is substantially similar in legal meaning and effect to the texts of the several forms set forth in this chapter or in the appendix to chapter 183:
            (i)  failure of a document to contain the forms of acknowledgment, jurat, signature witnessing or copy certification set forth in section 15 or otherwise to comply with the requirements set forth in sections 8 to 23, inclusive, shall not have any effect on the validity of the underlying document or the recording of the underlying document;
            (ii)  failure of a document to contain the forms of acknowledgment, jurat, signature witnessing or copy certification set forth in said section 15 shall not be the basis of a refusal to accept the document for filing, recordation, registration or acceptance by a third party; and
            (iii)  failure of a document executed in a representative capacity to contain an acknowledgment that the instrument was also the voluntary or free act and deed of the principal or grantor shall not affect the validity of the underlying document or the recording of the document.
      (c)  Nothing shall prevent the land court from issuing rules, regulations, directives, orders and guidelines governing the forms of acknowledgements and jurats to be complied with for the filing and registration of documents with the land court and its land registration districts.
      Section 21.  A notary public who is not an attorney who advertises notarial services in a language other than English shall include in the advertisement, notice, letterhead or sign the following statement prominently displayed in the same language: “I am not an attorney and I have no authority to give advice on immigration or other legal matters.”.
      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.
      Section 23.  Notwithstanding section 41 of chapter 262, no fee shall be charged by a notary public to notarize a signature on an absentee ballot identification envelope or other voting materials or on any application or claim by a United States military veteran for a pension, allotment, allowance, compensation, insurance or other veterans’ benefit.
      Section 24.  If a notary public’s commission expires, is resigned or revoked, the notary public shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, destroy or deface all notary seals and stamps so that they shall not be used and shall retain the journal and records for 7 years after the date of expiration, resignation or revocation.
      Section 25.  Within 10 days after the change of a notary public’s name, residence, business address or mailing address, the notary public shall send to the state secretary a signed notice of the change, providing both the old and new information.
      Section 26.  A notary public’s commission may be revoked for official misconduct as defined in section 1 or for other good cause as determined by the governor with the consent of the governor’s council.
      SECTION 7.  This act shall apply to all commissions of notaries public and justices of the peace authorized by chapter 222 of the General Laws, including commissions received or renewed before the effective date of this act.

Approved, October 6, 2016