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CALL TO ACTION: OCRA members requested to provide public comments on new Notary Public provisions

CALL TO ACTION:  Public comments being accepted through the end of tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15, on the Secretary of State's draft Administrative Rules under the Notary Public Modernization Act

Dear OCRA Member,

The Ohio Notary Public Modernization Act (Ohio Senate Bill 263, 132nd General Assembly) was signed into law by Governor Kasich on December 19, 2018.  The provisions under the Act will become effective on September 20, 2019.

A brief summary of what the Act does (effective 9/20/2019)

  • Eliminates the 88 separate county notary applicant criteria
    • All notary applications and renewals will be handled directly through the Secretary of State and will be processed online
    • No longer a need to record notary commissions with the county Clerk of Courts
  • Prohibits notary commission to be issued/held by those with certain felony convictions
  • Creates and permits remote/video notarization program (i.e. online notary)
  • Notary applicants (and renewals) will be required to:
    • Receive three hours of mandatory training (first-time applicant and first-time renewal under new law) This includes new attorneys!
    • Receive four hours of mandatory training under the online notary provisions to receive the online notary commission
    • Pass a statewide, uniform examination
    • Pass a national background check, with fingerprints, administered by the Ohio BCI

What does this mean for you? (through and until 9/20/2019)

  • Continue doing as you have been as a notary public in the state of Ohio
  • If your notary is set to expire before September 20, renew and you are all set for the next five years
  • If your notary is set to expire in the 60 to 90 days after September 20, reach out to the contact within your county who processes notary applications/renewals to determine how early you can renew
    • Some counties have recently changed their 60-day window prior to expiration renewal to 90 days to encourage current notaries to renew before the new law takes full effect
  • As of this date, the Ohio Secretary of State’s website reflects current requirements, including the ‘varying by county’ notation, and includes a list of phone numbers for each county     (
  • Stay tuned to OCRA for further updates on the law, including changes, if any

What has OCRA done regarding the court reporting and captioning profession and the changes to the notary public laws?

  • Retained Capitol Partners, a lobbying and public affairs firm, to represent our interests among key decision-makers in Ohio.
  • Our Capitol Partners’ contact, Matt Cox, has met multiple times with Secretary of State staff.
    • OCRA President Kelly Linkowski, Secretary Angie Starbuck, and Executive Director Sarah Nageotte have had a telephone conference with the Secretary of State’s Director of Business Services.
  • Matt Cox has held multiple meetings with key legislative sponsors.
  • Through these meetings and contacts, it has been indicated that the Administrative Rules, created through the Secretary of State in regard to the new notary public law, can be used to create profession-specific carve-outs and/or clarification. However, the current Administrative Rules do not provide such clarification.  Therefore, our members need to provide public comments and input to the Secretary of State.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!  What you need to do on or before Wednesday, May 15 

  • View the Secretary of State Draft Administrative Rules for the Notary Public Modernization Act by clicking here.
  • Review these key talking points as relates to the court reporting and captioning profession:
    • Clarify the taking and certifying of depositions in regard to the definition of ‘notarial acts’ under the online notary component of the new law.
    • When/how do background checks of court reporters and captioners apply to background checks under the new law and can the current six-month window be extended for court reporters if they hold a clearance or background check that has not yet expired.
    • Allow the Ohio Court Reporters Association to become an education provider through the Supreme Court and Secretary of State to provide profession-specific training and continuing education as required under the new law.
    • Allow for further verification of certified stenographic court reporters and captioners within the Secretary of State’s system to create a profession-specific notary public commission.
  • Visit the Secretary of State’s online website and provide your comments related to the notary public revisions and draft Administrative Rules using the key talking points above. Click here to leave your public comments.  

Short on time?  Not sure what to say?  A sample template of a public comment you can personalize has been prepared for you:  

Click here for the PDF version

Click here for the Word version


Kelly Sign

Kelly D. Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE
2019-2020 Ohio Court Reporters Association President

OCRA is dedicated to providing leadership and direction for the court reporting profession - past, present, and future - by offering educational opportunities and promoting technological advancements, quality services, high ethical standards, and fellowship.

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