Bulletin: CA2007002

Date:
December 17, 2007
To:
California Issuing Offices
RE:
New Legislation

Dear Associates:

The California Legislature continued to be active in 2007. They have passed a number of Bills that have been signed by the Governor, and become law on January 1, 2008. A few that are of interest to us are the subject of this Bulletin.

Assembly Bill No. 886, Chapter 399. (Notaries)

Under this new act, "personally known" as a basis for the notary taking an acknowledgment and executing a jurat is no longer allowed. No acknowledgment may be taken or jurat executed on personal knowledge alone. The notary may only rely on satisfactory evidence as already set forth in the Civil Code. Violation may subject the notary to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 in an administrative action brought by the Secretary of State or a public prosecutor. (A new form of acknowledgement and jurat will be required. The formsmay not yet beon the Secretary of State website, but the language is in the Bill itself and at the end of this Bulletin.Since this law does not become effective until January 1, 2008, some recorders may not accept these new forms until then, so continue to use your old forms until January 1, 2008. At that time, they should be on AFW and ready for use.)

The certificate of acknowledgment now is executed under penalty of perjury. A notary who willfully states as true any material fact known to be false can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

A power of attorney is added to the list of documents that require a thumbprint in the notary journal. (The other documents are a deed, a quitclaim deed, and a deed of trust affecting real property.)

When requested by a peace officer investigating a criminal offense, a notary must surrender their journal immediately or as soon as possible if the journal is not present.

This act prohibits a notary from using a commercial mail receiving agency or post office as his or her principal place of business or residence.

Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address is punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500, willful failure of a notary to provide a peace officer with a journal when requested is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $2,500, and a notary who fails to obtain a thumbprint as required is subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,500.

Assembly Bill No. 434, Chapter 496. (Notaries)

This act requires a notary public to respond within 15 business days from the receipt of a request by a member of the public for a line item from the notary public’s journal. The notary public is required to provide either a photostatic copy of the line item representing the requested transaction or acknowledge that no such line item exists.

Senate Bill No. 644, Chapter 189. (Social Security Numbers)

This act deletes the requirement that an abstract of judgment contain the social security number and the driver’s license number of the judgment debtor and instead requires only the last 4 digits of that person’s social security number and driver’s license number.

Assembly Bill No. 1168, Chapter 627. (Social Security Numbers)

This act prohibits any person from presenting for recording any document that displays more than the last 4 digits of a social security number.

This act also creates a Social Security Number Truncation Program, which requires a dual recording system in order to truncate pre-existing records containing social security numbers. County recorders must begin to create a set of "public records" (recorders now maintain "official records") so that documents recorded from 1980 to December 31, 2008 will no longer reflect entire social security numbers, but only such numbers truncated down to the last 4 digits. The county recorder can charge a fee of $1 per document to implement the program when approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Filings with local agencies, other than the county recorder, cannot display any digit of a social security number. This new law also requires the Franchise Tax Board to truncate social security numbers on liens before disclosing them to the public.

For the purposes of this act, Truncate means to redact at least the first five digits of a social securitynumber.Truncated social security number means a social security number thatdisplays no more that the last four digits of the number.

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THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None