CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said bills passed by the legislature this year will help strengthen and modernize the notarization process, make it easier for cooperative associations to get started, and change how independent candidates get on the general election ballot.
The bills put forth by the Secretary of State’s Office concerned all three divisions of the office: Administrative Law, Business and Licensing, and Elections.
House Bill 4012 strengthens and modernizes the notarization process. HB 4012 adopts the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts from the Uniform Law Commission to replace both the current Uniform Notary Act of 1984 and the Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgements Act of 1971. The bill includes the reduction of a notary’s commission from ten years to five years, requires a $1,000 bond or its equivalent in profession insurance, and raises the amount a notary can charge from $2 to $5. This bill also allows for the notarization of electronic documents.
Senate Bill 553 moves the deadline for the filing of signature petitions for municipal general elections. Previously, the deadline for independent candidates in municipal general elections to file signature petitions was August 1; this bill changes the deadline to 90 days prior to a general election.
House Bill 4039 is another elections bill that updates the existing public financing legislative rule with changes made during the 2013 legislative session. That update concerns the disbursement of rescue funds to participating candidates.
House Bill 4488 is a Business and Licensing bill that eliminates the notarization requirement for cooperative associations. Previously, co-ops were the only organizations that were required to have their articles of incorporation notarized. With the passage of HB 4488, the incorporation process for co-ops is now standard with all other business entities.
“These bills show the range of responsibilities of the Secretary of State’s Office and our constant work to help the people of West Virginia,” Secretary Tennant said. “We’re helping cooperative associations get started by removing an unnecessary hurdle, making sure the notary process is secure so important transactions can continue to occur, updating the law when it comes to providing public funds to Supreme Court candidates, and clarifying the petition process for independent candidates for municipal offices.”
All of the bills have now been sent to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for his signature.