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AB-886 Notaries.(2007-2008)

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AB886:v90#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 886
CHAPTER 399

An act to amend Sections 1185 and 1189 of the Civil Code, and to amend Sections 6203, 8201.1, 8201.2, 8201.5, 8202, 8206, 8213.5, 8213.6, 8214.1, 8214.2, 8214.15, 8221, 8225, 8228, and 8228.1 of, and to add Sections 8214.21 and 8214.23 to, the Government Code, relating to notaries.

[ Approved by Governor  October 10, 2007. Filed with Secretary of State  October 10, 2007. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 886, Sharon Runner. Notaries.
Existing law requires a notary public to keep one active sequential journal of all official acts and requires that the journal include copies of notarized documents and, in connection with the signing of a deed, quitclaim deed, or deed of trust affecting real property, a thumbprint of the signing party.
This bill would apply the thumbprint requirement in connection with specified notarized documents.
Existing law requires a notary public, when executing various documents, to determine from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, the existence of certain facts or identities, as specified.
This bill would instead require that this determination be from satisfactory evidence and would make conforming changes. This bill would also provide that failure to obtain satisfactory evidence, under certain circumstances, would subject a notary public to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000, enforceable by the Secretary of State or any public prosecutor.
Existing law requires a notary public to notify the Secretary of State of any change in the location or address of the principal place of business or of any name change.
This bill would prohibit a notary from using a commercial mail receiving agency or post office as his or her principal place of business or residence, subject to a specific exception. It would make willful failure to notify the secretary of a change of address or name to be punishable as an infraction by a fine of not more than $500.
Existing law authorizes the Secretary of State to refuse to appoint any person as notary public or to revoke or suspend the commission of any notary public upon specified grounds. Existing law also makes specified violations by a notary public punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $750 or $1,000.
This bill would recast the provisions under which the secretary may, and specify provisions under which the secretary shall, refuse to appoint any person as notary public. It would make conforming changes to the fine provisions and provide specific civil penalties if he or she willfully fails to provide access to the journal when requested by a peace officer, willfully fails to disclose the receipt of notice of revocation as specified, or fails to obtain a thumbprint from a party signing a document.
Existing law sets forth the circumstances under which a notary surrenders a journal of notarial acts to a peace officer.
This bill would require a peace officer to have probable cause, as defined, to seize a journal of notarial acts and would require that any applicable requirements of, or exceptions to state and federal law apply to a peace officer engaged in the search or seizure of a sequential journal. This bill would set forth the conditions upon which a notary public may surrender the journal. The bill would require a peace officer or law enforcement agency that seizes a journal to notify the Secretary of State, by facsimile, within 24 hours, or as soon as possible, of the name of the notary public whose journal was seized.
Existing law authorizes the Secretary of State to enforce provisions of law governing notaries.
This bill would authorize peace officers and public prosecutors to also enforce specific provisions, and would require a public prosecutor to notify the Secretary of State when a civil penalty is imposed for violations of those provisions.
By expanding the duties of public prosecutors, this bill would constitute a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1185 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1185.
 (a) The acknowledgment of an instrument shall not be taken unless the officer taking it has satisfactory evidence that the person making the acknowledgment is the individual who is described in and who executed the instrument.
(b) For the purposes of this section “satisfactory evidence” means the absence of any information, evidence, or other circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the person making the acknowledgment is not the individual he or she claims to be and any one of the following:
(1) (A) The oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the officer, whose identity is proven to the officer upon presentation of any document satisfying the requirements of paragraph (3) or (4), that the person making the acknowledgment is personally known to the witness and that each of the following are true:
(i) The person making the acknowledgment is the person named in the document.
(ii) The person making the acknowledgment is personally known to the witness.
(iii) That it is the reasonable belief of the witness that the circumstances of the person making the acknowledgment are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for that person to obtain another form of identification.
(iv) The person making the acknowledgment does not possess any of the identification documents named in paragraphs (3) and (4).
(v) The witness does not have a financial interest in the document being acknowledged and is not named in the document.
(B) A notary public who violates this section by failing to obtain the satisfactory evidence required by subparagraph (A) shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000). An action to impose this civil penalty may be brought by the Secretary of State in an administrative proceeding or any public prosecutor in superior court, and shall be enforced as a civil judgment. A public prosecutor shall inform the secretary of any civil penalty imposed under this subparagraph.
(2) The oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury of two credible witnesses, whose identities are proven to the officer upon the presentation of any document satisfying the requirements of paragraph (3) or (4), that each statement in paragraph (1) of this subdivision is true.
(3) Reasonable reliance on the presentation to the officer of any one of the following, if the document is current or has been issued within five years:
(A) An identification card or driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
(B) A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States.
(4) Reasonable reliance on the presentation of any one of the following, provided that a document specified in subparagraphs (A) to (E), inclusive, shall either be current or have been issued within five years and shall contain a photograph and description of the person named on it, shall be signed by the person, shall bear a serial or other identifying number, and, in the event that the document is a passport, shall have been stamped by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service:
(A) A passport issued by a foreign government.
(B) A driver’s license issued by a state other than California or by a Canadian or Mexican public agency authorized to issue drivers’ licenses.
(C) An identification card issued by a state other than California.
(D) An identification card issued by any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.
(E) An inmate identification card issued on or after January 1, 1988, by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, if the inmate is in custody.
(F) An inmate identification card issued prior to January 1, 1988, by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, if the inmate is in custody.
(c) An officer who has taken an acknowledgment pursuant to this section shall be presumed to have operated in accordance with the provisions of law.
(d) Any party who files an action for damages based on the failure of the officer to establish the proper identity of the person making the acknowledgment shall have the burden of proof in establishing the negligence or misconduct of the officer.
(e) Any person convicted of perjury under this section shall forfeit any financial interest in the document.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1189 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1189.
 (a) (1) Any certificate of acknowledgment taken within this state shall be in the following form:

State of California
⎫ _____
County of 
⎭ _____

_____
On  before me, (here insert name and title of the
officer), personally appeared ,
who proved to me on the basis of
satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are
subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that
he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized
capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the
instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the
person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of
California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

Signature (Seal)
(2) A notary public who willfully states as true any material fact that he or she knows to be false shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000). An action to impose a civil penalty under this subdivision may be brought by the Secretary of State in an administrative proceeding or any public prosecutor in superior court, and shall be enforced as a civil judgment. A public prosecutor shall inform the secretary of any civil penalty imposed under this section.
(b) Any certificate of acknowledgment taken in another place shall be sufficient in this state if it is taken in accordance with the laws of the place where the acknowledgment is made.
(c) On documents to be filed in another state or jurisdiction of the United States, a California notary public may complete any acknowledgment form as may be required in that other state or jurisdiction on a document, provided the form does not require the notary to determine or certify that the signer holds a particular representative capacity or to make other determinations and certifications not allowed by California law.
(d) An acknowledgment provided prior to January 1, 1993, and conforming to applicable provisions of former Sections 1189, 1190, 1190a, 1190.1, 1191, and 1192, as repealed by Chapter 335 of the Statutes of 1990, shall have the same force and effect as if those sections had not been repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6203 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6203.
 (a) Every officer authorized by law to make or give any certificate or other writing is guilty of a misdemeanor if he or she makes and delivers as true any certificate or writing containing statements which he or she knows to be false.
(b) Notwithstanding any other limitation of time described in Section 802 of the Penal Code, or any other provision of law, prosecution for a violation of this offense shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offense, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later.
(c) The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy, and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law.

SEC. 4.

 Section 8201.1 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8201.1.
 (a) Prior to granting an appointment as a notary public, the Secretary of State shall determine that the applicant possesses the required honesty, credibility, truthfulness, and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position. To assist in determining the identity of the applicant and whether the applicant has been convicted of a disqualifying crime specified in subdivision (b) of Section 8214.1, the Secretary of State shall require that applicants be fingerprinted.
(b) Applicants shall submit to the Department of Justice fingerprint images and related information required by the department for the purpose of obtaining information as to the existence and content of a record of state and federal convictions and arrests and information as to the existence and content of a record of state and federal arrests for which the department establishes that the person is free on bail, or on his or her recognizance, pending trial or appeal.
(c) The department shall forward the fingerprint images and related information received pursuant to subdivision (a) to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and request a federal summary of criminal information.
(d) The department shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and compile and disseminate a response to the Secretary of State pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (p) of Section 11105 of the Penal Code.
(e) The Secretary of State shall request from the department subsequent arrest notification service, pursuant to Section 11105.2 of the Penal Code, for each person who submitted information pursuant to subdivision (a).
(f) The department shall charge a fee sufficient to cover the cost of processing the requests described in this section.

SEC. 5.

 Section 8201.2 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8201.2.
 (a) The Secretary of State shall review the course of study proposed by any vendor to be offered pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 8201. If the course of study includes all material that a person is expected to know to satisfactorily complete the written examination required pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 8201, the Secretary of State shall approve the course of study.
(b) (1) The Secretary of State shall, by regulation, prescribe an application form and adopt a certificate of approval for the notary public education course of study proposed by a vendor.
(2) The Secretary of State may also provide a notary public education course of study.
(c) The Secretary of State shall compile a list of all persons offering an approved course of study pursuant to subdivision (a) and shall provide the list with every booklet of the laws of California relating to notaries public distributed by the Secretary of State.
(d) (1) A person who provides notary public education and violates any of the regulations adopted by the Secretary of State for approved vendors is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation and shall be required to pay restitution where appropriate.
(2) The local district attorney, city attorney, or the Attorney General may bring a civil action to recover the civil penalty prescribed pursuant to this subdivision. A public prosecutor shall inform the Secretary of State of any civil penalty imposed under this section.

SEC. 6.

 Section 8201.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8201.5.
 The Secretary of State shall require an applicant for appointment and commission as a notary public to complete an application form and submit a photograph of their person as prescribed by the Secretary of State. Information on this form filed by an applicant with the Secretary of State, except for his or her name and address, is confidential and no individual record shall be divulged by an official or employee having access to it to any person other than the applicant, his or her authorized representative, or an employee or officer of the federal government, the state government, or a local agency, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6252 of the Government Code, acting in his or her official capacity. That information shall be used by the Secretary of State for the sole purpose of carrying out the duties of this chapter.

SEC. 7.

 Section 8202 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8202.
 (a) When executing a jurat, a notary shall administer an oath or affirmation to the affiant and shall determine, from satisfactory evidence as described in Section 1185 of the Civil Code, that the affiant is the person executing the document. The affiant shall sign the document in the presence of the notary.
(b) To any affidavit subscribed and sworn to before a notary, there shall be attached a jurat in the following form:

State of California
County of _______________
Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this _____ day of _______, 20__, by _________________________, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.
Seal
Signature

SEC. 8.

 Section 8206 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8206.
 (a) (1) A notary public shall keep one active sequential journal at a time, of all official acts performed as a notary public. The journal shall be kept in a locked and secured area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary. Failure to secure the journal shall be cause for the Secretary of State to take administrative action against the commission held by the notary public pursuant to Section 8214.1.
(2) The journal shall be in addition to and apart from any copies of notarized documents that may be in the possession of the notary public and shall include all of the following:
(A) Date, time, and type of each official act.
(B) Character of every instrument sworn to, affirmed, acknowledged, or proved before the notary.
(C) The signature of each person whose signature is being notarized.
(D) A statement as to whether the identity of a person making an acknowledgment or taking an oath or affirmation was based on satisfactory evidence. If identity was established by satisfactory evidence pursuant to Section 1185 of the Civil Code, then the journal shall contain the signature of the credible witness swearing or affirming to the identity of the individual or the type of identifying document, the governmental agency issuing the document, the serial or identifying number of the document, and the date of issue or expiration of the document.
(E) If the identity of the person making the acknowledgment or taking the oath or affirmation was established by the oaths or affirmations of two credible witnesses whose identities are proven upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence, the type of identifying documents, the identifying numbers of the documents and the dates of issuance or expiration of the documents presented by the witnesses to establish their identity.
(F) The fee charged for the notarial service.
(G) If the document to be notarized is a deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust affecting real property, or a power of attorney document, the notary public shall require the party signing the document to place his or her right thumbprint in the journal. If the right thumbprint is not available, then the notary shall have the party use his or her left thumb, or any available finger and shall so indicate in the journal. If the party signing the document is physically unable to provide a thumbprint or fingerprint, the notary shall so indicate in the journal and shall also provide an explanation of that physical condition. This paragraph shall not apply to a trustee’s deed resulting from a decree of foreclosure or a nonjudicial foreclosure pursuant to Section 2924 of the Civil Code, nor to a deed of reconveyance.
(b) If a sequential journal of official acts performed by a notary public is stolen, lost, misplaced, destroyed, damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable as a record of notarial acts and information, the notary public shall immediately notify the Secretary of State by certified or registered mail. The notification shall include the period of the journal entries, the notary public commission number, and the expiration date of the commission, and when applicable, a photocopy of any police report that specifies the theft of the sequential journal of official acts.
(c) Upon written request of any member of the public, which request shall include the name of the parties, the type of document, and the month and year in which notarized, the notary shall supply a photostatic copy of the line item representing the requested transaction at a cost of not more than thirty cents ($0.30) per page.
(d) The journal of notarial acts of a notary public is the exclusive property of that notary public, and shall not be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment, whether or not the employer paid for the journal, or at any other time. The notary public shall not surrender the journal to any other person, except the county clerk, pursuant to Section 8209, or immediately, or if the journal is not present then as soon as possible, upon request to a peace officer investigating a criminal offense who has reasonable suspicion to believe the journal contains evidence of a criminal offense, as defined in Sections 830.1, 830.2, and 830.3 of the Penal Code, acting in his or her official capacity and within his or her authority. If the peace officer seizes the notary journal, he or she must have probable cause as required by the laws of this state and the United States. A peace officer or law enforcement agency that seizes a notary journal shall notify the Secretary of State by facsimile within 24 hours, or as soon possible thereafter, of the name of the notary public whose journal has been seized. The notary public shall obtain a receipt for the journal, and shall notify the Secretary of State by certified mail within 10 days that the journal was relinquished to a peace officer. The notification shall include the period of the journal entries, the commission number of the notary public, the expiration date of the commission, and a photocopy of the receipt. The notary public shall obtain a new sequential journal. If the journal relinquished to a peace officer is returned to the notary public and a new journal has been obtained, the notary public shall make no new entries in the returned journal. A notary public who is an employee shall permit inspection and copying of journal transactions by a duly designated auditor or agent of the notary public’s employer, provided that the inspection and copying is done in the presence of the notary public and the transactions are directly associated with the business purposes of the employer. The notary public, upon the request of the employer, shall regularly provide copies of all transactions that are directly associated with the business purposes of the employer, but shall not be required to provide copies of any transaction that is unrelated to the employer’s business. Confidentiality and safekeeping of any copies of the journal provided to the employer shall be the responsibility of that employer.
(e) The notary public shall provide the journal for examination and copying in the presence of the notary public upon receipt of a subpoena duces tecum or a court order, and shall certify those copies if requested.
(f) Any applicable requirements of, or exceptions to, state and federal law shall apply to a peace officer engaged in the search or seizure of a sequential journal.

SEC. 9.

 Section 8213.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8213.5.
 A notary public shall notify the Secretary of State by certified mail within 30 days as to any change in the location or address of the principal place of business or residence. A notary public shall not use a commercial mail receiving agency or post office box as his or her principal place of business or residence, unless the notary public also provides the Secretary of State with a physical street address as the principal place of residence. Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address shall be punishable as an infraction by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).

SEC. 10.

 Section 8213.6 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8213.6.
 If a notary public changes his or her name, the notary public shall complete an application for name change form and file that application with the Secretary of State. Information on this form shall be subject to the confidentiality provisions described in Section 8201.5. Upon approval of the name change form, the Secretary of State shall issue a commission that reflects the new name of the notary public. The term of the commission and commission number shall remain the same. Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a name change shall be punishable as an infraction by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).

SEC. 11.

 Section 8214.1 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8214.1.
 The Secretary of State may refuse to appoint any person as notary public or may revoke or suspend the commission of any notary public upon any of the following grounds:
(a) Substantial and material misstatement or omission in the application submitted to the Secretary of State to become a notary public.
(b) Conviction of a felony, a lesser offense involving moral turpitude, or a lesser offense of a nature incompatible with the duties of a notary public. A conviction after a plea of nolo contendere is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this subdivision.
(c) Revocation, suspension, restriction, or denial of a professional license, if the revocation, suspension, restriction, or denial was for misconduct based on dishonesty, or for any cause substantially relating to the duties or responsibilities of a notary public.
(d) Failure to discharge fully and faithfully any of the duties or responsibilities required of a notary public.
(e) When adjudicated liable for damages in any suit grounded in fraud, misrepresentation, or for a violation of the state regulatory laws, or in any suit based upon a failure to discharge fully and faithfully the duties as a notary public.
(f) The use of false or misleading advertising wherein the notary public has represented that the notary public has duties, rights, or privileges that he or she does not possess by law.
(g) The practice of law in violation of Section 6125 of the Business and Professions Code.
(h) Charging more than the fees prescribed by this chapter.
(i) Commission of any act involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit with the intent to substantially benefit the notary public or another, or substantially injure another.
(j) Failure to complete the acknowledgment at the time the notary’s signature and seal are affixed to the document.
(k) Failure to administer the oath or affirmation as required by paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 8205.
(l) Execution of any certificate as a notary public containing a statement known to the notary public to be false.
(m) Violation of Section 8223.
(n) Failure to submit any remittance payable upon demand by the Secretary of State under this chapter or failure to satisfy any court-ordered money judgment, including restitution.
(o) Failure to secure the sequential journal of official acts, pursuant to Section 8206, or the official seal, pursuant to Section 8207, or willful failure to report the theft or loss of the sequential journal, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8206.
(p) Violation of Section 8219.5.
(q) Commission of an act in violation of Section 6203, 8214.2, 8225, or 8227.3 of the Government Code or of Section 115, 470, 487, or 530.5 of the Penal Code.
(r) Willful failure to provide access to the sequential journal of official acts upon request by a peace officer.

SEC. 12.

 Section 8214.2 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8214.2.
 (a) A notary public who knowingly and willfully with intent to defraud performs any notarial act in relation to a deed of trust on real property consisting of a single-family residence containing not more than four dwelling units, with knowledge that the deed of trust contains any false statements or is forged, in whole or in part, is guilty of a felony.
(b) The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law.

SEC. 13.

 Section 8214.15 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8214.15.
 (a) In addition to any commissioning or disciplinary sanction, a violation of subdivision (f), (i), (l), (m), or (p) of Section 8214.1 is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).
(b) In addition to any commissioning or disciplinary sanction, a violation of subdivision (h), (j), or (k) of Section 8214.1, or a negligent violation of subdivision (d) of Section 8214.1 is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed seven hundred fifty dollars ($750).
(c) The civil penalty may be imposed by the Secretary of State if a hearing is not requested pursuant to Section 8214.3. If a hearing is requested, the hearing officer shall make the determination.
(d) Any civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be transferred to the General Fund. It is the intent of the Legislature that to the extent General Fund moneys are raised by penalties collected pursuant to this section, that money shall be made available to the Secretary of State’s office to defray its costs of investigating and pursuing commissioning and monetary remedies for violations of the notary public law.

SEC. 14.

 Section 8214.21 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8214.21.
 A notary public who willfully fails to provide access to the sequential journal of notarial acts when requested by a peace officer shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). An action to impose a civil penalty under this subdivision may be brought by the Secretary of State in an administrative proceeding or any public prosecutor in superior court, and shall be enforced as a civil judgment. A public prosecutor shall inform the secretary of any civil penalty imposed under this section.

SEC. 15.

 Section 8214.23 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8214.23.
 (a) A notary public who fails to obtain a thumbprint, as required by Section 8206, from a party signing a document shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). An action to impose a civil penalty under this subdivision may be brought by the Secretary of State in an administrative proceeding or any public prosecutor in superior court, and shall be enforced as a civil judgment. A public prosecutor shall inform the secretary of any civil penalty imposed under this section.
(b) Notwithstanding any other limitation of time described in Section 802 of the Penal Code, or any other provision of law, prosecution for a violation of this offense shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offense, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later.

SEC. 16.

 Section 8221 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8221.
 (a) If any person shall knowingly destroy, deface, or conceal any records or papers belonging to the office of a notary public, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be liable in a civil action for damages to any person injured as a result of such destruction, defacing, or concealment.
(b) Notwithstanding any other limitation of time described in Section 802 of the Penal Code, or any other provision of law, prosecution for a violation of this offense shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offense, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later.
(c) The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law.

SEC. 17.

 Section 8225 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8225.
 (a) Any person who solicits, coerces, or in any manner influences a notary public to perform an improper notarial act knowing that act to be an improper notarial act, including any act required of a notary public under Section 8206, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Notwithstanding any other limitation of time described in Section 802 of the Penal Code, or any other provision of law, prosecution for a violation of this offense shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offense, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later.
(c) The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy, and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law.

SEC. 18.

 Section 8228 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8228.
 The Secretary of State or a peace officer, as defined in Sections 830.1, 830.2, and 830.3 of the Penal Code, possessing reasonable suspicion and acting in his or her official capacity and within his or her authority, may enforce the provisions of this chapter through the examination of a notary public’s books, records, letters, contracts, and other pertinent documents relating to the official acts of the notary public.

SEC. 19.

 Section 8228.1 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8228.1.
 (a) Any notary public who willfully fails to perform any duty required of a notary public under Section 8206, or who willfully fails to keep the seal of the notary public under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public, or who surrenders the seal of the notary public to any person not otherwise authorized by law to possess the seal of the notary, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Notwithstanding any other limitation of time described in Section 802 of the Penal Code or any other provision of law, prosecution for a violation of this offense shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offense, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later.
(c) The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy, and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law.

SEC. 20.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.