The Campaign For DA

10.20.2011

I Think I've Found A Legal Bombshell: Texas May Have Just Killed The Notary Public



Today I received a police report from DPS which normally has a cover sheet with  the officer's signature indicating he swore to it  before  a  notary public (who, of course, also signed it).  This one was different: It didn't have the notary. Instead the officer just signed a form where he declared it was true "under penalty of perjury."

What the heck?

I did some quick research and found a stunner: Texas just enacted House Bill 3674 which says that using certain language (set forth in the statute) will suffice "in lieu of a written sworn declaration, verification, certification, oath, or affidavit required by statute [or other law.]"  Wow.  The new statute's only exceptions are for  "an oath of office or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public." Double wow.

So if you are required by law to swear to a document -- even if the prior law said it had to be before a notary -- this new law says you don' have to so long as you use some magic words? That's what it looks like to me. If you work in a field that requires the use of a lot of notary stamps, you may not need them.

I'm open for suggestions or different interpretations.

Edit: I think this topic is very sexy. Lay off. And one of the comments is spot on. One of the main functions of the notary is to verify that the person signing the document is who he says he is. That's appears to be gone.