CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Notary Association (NNA) honored West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant with its Calvin Coolidge Notary Award at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, W.Va.. She received the award for her efforts to comprehensively revise the state’s notary statutes and raise the professionalism of notaries public. These changes provide West Virginia businesses, families and individuals with stronger protections for document transactions and help facilitate the state’s growing e-commerce economy.
“Her vision and leadership have changed the way business is done in West Virginia,” said Bill Anderson, Vice President of Government Affairs of the NNA. “Secretary Tennant recognized that West Virginia’s notaries could help drive business by making traditional paper and emerging electronic notarial acts more accessible, efficient and secure.”
Secretary Tennant was instrumental in advocating for the enactment of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) and, once the Act became law, in adopting administrative rules to implement the Act. Significantly, the regulations included extensive rules on electronic notarization based on the NNA’s Model Notary Act of 2010.
In 2014, Secretary Tennant’s office put forward – and the legislature passed – H.B. 4012, designed to strengthen and modernize the notarization process. The bill includes the reduction of a notary’s commission from ten years to five years and requires a bond or its equivalent in profession insurance. This bill also allows for the notarization of electronic documents.
“I’m truly honored to receive this award from the NNA and I’m so proud of the work we’re doing here in West Virginia,” said Secretary Tennant. “West Virginians rely on notaries for many important business and personal transactions and the changes we’ve made provide more protection and modernize the notary process for consumers and businesses alike. We’ve implemented policies that strengthen the trusted role notaries play in major transactions like buying a home and creating healthcare directives.”
Legislators involved in crafting and passing West Virginia’s bill were present at the ceremony along with Karen Goff, executive secretary of the West Virginia Library Commission.
“In West Virginia, libraries often serve as community centers, providing citizens all over the state with important services, including important notary services,” said Goff. “It is exciting that the National Notary Association is recognizing the great work of our Secretary of State and our state in general.”
The Calvin Coolidge Notary Award was established to honor public officials who advance the professionalism of Notaries. Previous Calvin Coolidge Notary Award recipients include Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt, New Hampshire State Representative Cynthia Dokmo, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri and Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.
Calvin Coolidge is the only U.S. President to be sworn into office by notary public, in 1923. Ninety years later, in 2013, Secretary Tennant became the first West Virginia Secretary of State to be sworn in by a notary public.
There are more than 44,000 active notaries public in the state of West Virginia.