SB 263 brings changes to notaries


DARKE COUNTY — Most individuals know the drill when it comes to notarizing a document, which includes a physical appearance before the public notary. However, that’s about to change due to Senate Bill 263, also known as the Notary Modernization Act, which takes effect Sept. 20.

The Notary Modernization Act consists of multiple changes to the process of notarization, including remote online notarization laws or RON.

RON allows a consumer and a public notary to utilize a two-way audio-video communication system throughout the notarization process. It simplifies notarizing a document for the end-user regardless of their location.

However, SB 263 comes with significant changes, including but not limited to, transferring the power to commission a notary from county courts to the Secretary of State. Locally, the Darke County Court of Common Pleas will no longer oversee notary commissions, renewals, background check, updates, and testing.

Darke County Court of Common Pleas Court Administrator recently sent a letter to area public notaries with commissions due to expire before the end of the year. The letter states the following:

The State of Ohio will be enacting substantial changes to the rules governing Notary Publics pursuant to S.B. 263. These new rules will be effective on Sept. 20, 2019.

The Clerk of Courts has provided a list of notaries whose commission expires before the end of 2019. The new rules allow for the renewal of notary within 90 days of the Sept. 20, commencement of the new law.

However, you must come to the Common Plea Court’s office on the second floor of the Courthouse to renew prior to Sept. 20. You will need to bring in two checks; $15 payable to “Ohio Secretary of State” and $15 payable to “Common Pleas Court.” I have enclosed in the letters was an application for renewal if you want to have it completed prior to coming to the Court. It is also necessary for you to know your commission number, which is located in the top right corner of your commission. If you are unable to locate this number, the clerk’s office should be able to locate this number for you when you stop in to renew.

After Sept. 20, all renewals and new applications will be done online. The Court will not have jurisdiction to renew or provide testing for new notary applications. For more information about these new rules, please consult

Changes affecting the notary public include testing, which will take place in designated locations throughout the state. Other requirements include utilizing tech that meets the Secretary of State standards to maintaining electronic logs or journals. Notary publics will also need to implement security for those electronic logs and files and during the RON process.

While public notaries have always paid for a background check, it was typically handled by the court. Now, the notary public will need to pay the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for the required criminal records check.

Though SB 263 took effect in March, the Secretary of State had six months to adopt specific standards and uniform curricula for education. The idea is to standardize the notary commission process across the state.

Senator Matt Huffman was the primary sponsor of the bill. reached out to the senator’s office, but no response was available before deadline.

More information is available at
Transfers power to commission a notary from county courts

By Bethany J. Royer-DeLong

Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email [email protected]. Read more news, features, and sports at

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