SSB 5081

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

C 281 L 17

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Adopting the revised uniform law on notarial acts.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Law & Justice (originally sponsored by Senators Pedersen and Miloscia; by request of Uniform Law Commission).

Senate Committee on Law & Justice

House Committee on Judiciary

Background: A notary public witnesses a transaction and preserves the integrity and reliability of the transaction with a notarized document.  Under current law, notarial acts include taking an acknowledgement, administering an oath, witnessing a signature, or certifying a copy or act.  A notary must adhere to standards such as determining and certifying, either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence, that the person appearing before the notary is the person signing a document.  The notarial act must be evidenced on a certificate signed and dated by the notary and accompanied by an impression of the official seal or stamp.  Notaries are appointed and regulated by the Department of Licensing (DOL), may charge fees set by DOL, and are subject to revocation of appointment for incompetency, or criminal penalties for official misconduct. 

In 1982, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) produced the original Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (ULONA).  It replaced the 1892 uniform law, the Uniform Acknowledgement Act.  In 1985, Washington adopted the original ULONA.  Use of electronic records in commerce and other advancing technologies have led to variations among states in notarial practice and in the state regulation of notary practice.  The variability of the states' laws affects interstate commercial and lending transactions.  Particularly for negotiated instruments and banking transactions, Washington's Department of Licensing (DOL) receives improper protests which result in sanctions for notaries who are unaware of protest requirements. 

In 2010, the ULC updated and modernized the ULONA producing the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA).  The revision updates the provisions on notary responsibilities, electronic recording, interstate recognition, and remedies.  RULONA contains provisions which:

RULONA has been adopted by Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  Georgia and New Jersey have introduced bills adopting RULONA.

Summary: The bill is substantially similar to RULONA.  A few key provisions of the bill make the following changes to law:

Differences in the bill as compared to RULONA are an exception from prohibited acts for limited license legal technicians acting within the scope of their license, and removal of DOL authority to require applicants and renewals to pass a course or exam.

Votes on Final Passage:







(House amended)


(Senate refused to concur)




(House receded/amended)




(Senate concurred)


July 1, 2018.