DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[4 PA. CODE CH. 161]
Fees for Notary Services
[34 Pa.B. 3136]
The Department of State (Department) proposes to amend § 161.1 (relating to schedule of fees) by revising the fees that notaries public may charge for their services to read as set forth in Annex A.
A. Effective Date
The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
B. Statutory Authority
The proposed rulemaking is authorized under section 21 of the Notary Public Law (act) (57 P. S. § 167), which requires that the fees of notaries public be fixed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Secretary) with the approval of the Attorney General. Although section 21 of the act does not require the Secretary to establish notary public fees through the regulatory process, the last notary public fee increase, which occurred on February 11, 1984, was brought about through the rulemaking process and the Secretary has determined that it is in the best interest of the public to also provide for public comment on this proposed rulemaking. Under section 16 of the act (57 P. S. § 162), as amended by the act of December 9, 2002 (P. L. 1269, No. 151) (Act 151) (effective July 1, 2003), notaries public shall in addition to their other powers have the power to administer verifications and therefore, the Secretary is proposing to add a fee for verifications.
C. Background and Purpose
As previously noted, the fees that notaries public may charge for their services have not been increased since February 11, 1984. (See 14 Pa.B. 431.) Yet, the costs that notaries public must now incur have increased substantially since 1984. For example, the minimum cost to become a notary public, including the Department's application fee, obtaining mandatory education under Act 151 at a minimum of $35 per class, securing a bond, obtaining a rubber stamp seal and purchasing a register, has increased from about $46.50 to approximately $128 since 1984.
One of the major purposes of the proposed rulemaking, which increases fees from $2 to $5 for most services, is to help the fees of notaries public bear a closer correlation to increases in the Consumer Price Index, which according to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, rose 85.7% between August 1984 and September 2003.
It is also the intent of the proposed rulemaking to help notaries public better absorb the increased costs they face for the notary public application process, supplies, recordkeeping and recording fees. For example, all Recorders of Deeds charge notaries public fees for recording their oath, commission and bond with the fees ranging from $32.50 to $70.50. In addition, the proposed rulemaking will assist applicants seeking initial appointment or reappointment as a notary public in meeting the costs of fulfilling the notary public education requirement mandated by the most recent amendments to the act brought about by Act 151. Notaries public are typically paying at least $45 for the 3-hour course and possibly as much as $159 for the course offered by some providers.
Finally, another major purpose is to help ensure that notary public fees remain competitive with the fees that notaries public may charge in other states. In contrast to the $2 that notaries public may charge for their services in this Commonwealth, a total of 19 other states, including Delaware, have set their fees at $5 or higher.
D. Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements
The proposed rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Department, the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation (Bureau) or the notaries public it commissions. The proposed rulemaking will also have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. In addition, the proposed rulemaking will not impose any additional paperwork requirements upon the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions or the private sector.
E. Sunset Date
The Secretary and the Department monitor the regulations of the Bureau on a continuing basis. Therefore, no sunset date has been assigned.
F. Regulatory Review
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on June 9, 2004, the Department submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking and a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the Chairpersons of the Senate State Government Committee and the House State Government Committee. A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.
Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey any comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections shall specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the rulemaking, by the Department, the General Assembly and the Governor of comments, recommendations or objections raised.
G. Public Comment
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, recommendations or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to Christal Pike-Nase, Counsel, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, Notary Section, Office of Chief Counsel, Department of State, 302 North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120 within 30 days following publication of this proposed rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Reference no. 16-33 (Fees for Notary Services) when submitting comments.
PEDRO A. CORTES,
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Fiscal Note: 16-33. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 4. ADMINISTRATION
PART VIII. BUREAU OF [LEGISLATION, COMMISSIONS AND ELECTIONS] COMMISSIONS, ELECTIONS AND LEGISLATION
Subpart C. COMMISSIONS
CHAPTER 161. FEES
§ 161.1. Schedule of fees.
The Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation fee schedule shall conform with the following table:
Description Fees (in dollars)
* * * * *
NOTARY PUBLIC FEE SCHEDULE
Executing affidavits (no matter how many signatures) $ 5
Executing acknowledgments $ 5
In executing acknowledgments, each additional name $ 2 Executing certificates (per certified copy) $ 5
Administering oaths (per individual taking an oath) $ 5 Taking depositions, per page $ 3 Executing verifications $ 5 [Making] Executing protests, per page $ 3
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-1062. Filed for public inspection June 18, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]
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