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Florida Bills Close in on Notary Journal Requirement

by American Association of Notaries
If passed, either of two bills that were filed with Florida legislative bodies at the end of 2013 will significantly update Florida notary laws to include the requirement of keeping a journal of notary acts. The new law would go into effect on July 1, 2014.

SB 0172 was filed on September 18, 2013 by Senator Darren Soto (D), District 14. A companion bill, HB 0407 was filed by Rep. Kathleen Peters (R), District 69 in December, 2013.


Both bills as currently amended can be generally summarized as follows:

Notaries Public; Requiring a notary public to record specified information in a notarial journal when performing certain notarial acts; requiring that a notary public retain a notarial journal for a specified period; requiring a notary public to notify the Department of State (DOS) if the notarial journal is lost, stolen, misplaced, destroyed, erased, compromised, rendered unusable, or becomes otherwise inaccessible during the retention period; exempting certain acts of specified law enforcement and correctional officers from the notarial journal requirements, etc.


Notably, when HB 0407 was originally filed, it included a clause that would require Florida notaries to pay a fee to have criminal history records checked. It appears that the amended version no longer includes the criminal history check requirement.

Also, SB 0172 originally required that the notary record the entire number appearing on the ID used by the notary to identify the signer. That has been amended to only require the last four digits of the ID number.

Read the current version of HB 0407

Read the current version of SB 0172

To track HB 0407, see this link.

To track SB 0172, see this link.


Section 1 creates s.117.055, F.S., to require a notary to keep a bound, sequentially numbered paper journal or an electronic journal that creates sequential and nonmodifiable records of each notarial act. The journal must include the following:

  • The signer's printed name, signature, or, in the case of an electronic journal, the signer's name and electronic signature pursuant to s. 668.50(2)(h), F.S., and his or her address;

  • An indication that the signer is personally known to the notary or presented a satisfactory form of identification. The notary must record the type, last four digits of the unique identification number, and expiration date of any identification presented; and

  • The names of any witnesses.

The journal is the exclusive property of the notary and must be kept in a locked and secure area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary. Access to an electronic journal must be protected by a password or other secure means of authentication. The journal must be retained for at least 5 years following the date of the last entry in the journal.

If a journal is lost, stolen, misplaced, destroyed, erased, compromised, rendered unusable, or otherwise inaccessible, the notary must immediately notify DOS in writing of the circumstances of the incident.

A notary's failure to comply with these requirements constitutes grounds for suspension or nonrenewal of the notary's commission and grounds for the denial of any subsequent commission by the Governor.

Section 2 amends s. 117.10, F.S., to provide that certain types of law enforcement, correctional, and investigative officers are exempt from the journal requirement.

Section 3 provides an effective date of July 1, 2014.


The AAN commends Florida lawmakers for considering the issues of notaries public.

We are pleased to note that only the last four digits of the ID document shall be required under the new law, if passed. To record the entire number stated on an ID could be troublesome for signers and notaries.

Furthermore, the AAN approves of the language stating that the journal is the exclusive property of the notary and must be kept in a locked and secure area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary.
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Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information and ideas for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary educations, and securing their notary supplies but makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained . Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
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