Changes to Wyoming Notary Laws

Earlier this year, the Wyoming legislature passed SF0029 – Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.  Having made it through both chambers, SF0029, now known as SEA No. 0010, was signed by Governor Gordan on February 9, 2021.  This bill was a culmination of work initially started by the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office with its “Guidance on Temporary Remote Online Notarization” issued on March 24, 2020.  Soon thereafter, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, Wyoming Secretary of State Director of Compliance, Kelly Janes, moved forward on work she had been planning to address in a year or two later concerning Wyoming’s Notarial Acts (Wyo. Stat. § 34-26-101 et. seq.).

Starting with the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) and receiving input from practitioners, including those in the Wyoming State Bar Estate Planning, Elder Law, Trust and Probate Section, as well as from the Wyoming Banking Association and other real estate and commercial industries, the Secretary of State’s office was able to craft a bill that not only addressed the immediate needs of those needing the services of a notary, but tried to consider the fast-moving and ever-changing digital world.

Here are a few areas where the new bill changes how notaries function.  First, the new law allows Remote Online Notarizations (“RON”) and Remote Ink Notarizations (“RIN”).  These are only options as traditional notarizations will continue as before.

Second, by adopting RULONA, the new statute will conform to the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act and is harmonizing with the treatment of notarizations of all records whether on paper or electronic.  It also prohibits public notaries from acting in a transaction where a conflict of interest exists.

Third, the current law does not provide the Secretary of State with any authority to cancel or terminate a commission.  Nor does the current law provide for any action by law enforcement.  The new law includes necessary enforcement language.

The new law also has new requirements of being issued a notary commission.  First, a person seeking a notary commission will be required to take an examination.  Upon successfully completing the exam, the Secretary of State’s office will issue the commission as opposed to the county.  The fee for the commission will increase to sixty dollars ($60.00), but will be for a period of six years as opposed the current four years.  The notary public will actually pay less during the process with removal of the bond as mentioned below.

Second, the new law will require the notary to maintain a journal but allows for flexibility on the content of the journal and the how long it is retained.  It also removes the requirement for the notary to post a bond.

While the new law is not perfect, it does allow the Secretary of State’s office to promulgate rules.  This will allow the Secretary of State to deal with changing circumstances more efficiently, something desperately needed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attached is a link to the new law for your convenience.

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