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Notary public commissions given temporary extension due to COVID-19

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Through a May 29th executive order, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has ordered a temporary extension of notary public commissions due to the coronavirus state of emergency, which has since been extended to July 1st.

The governor explained that due to the increased restrictions in place to protect the public health, notaries have been unable to renew their commissions that are set to expire.

Lolo points out that notaries provide a valuable service to the public especially in times of emergency where their services are required for certain benefit programs.

In accordance with provision of local law, the executive order states that any notary whose commission has expired since Mar 18th — when the first COVID-19 health declaration was issued — or whose commission is set to expire this year, their term is extended to Dec. 31, 2020 on the condition that:

•     the notary shall annotate on each notarial act completed during the extension the following — “The notary commission is extended until Dec. 31, 2020 pursuant to executive order”;

•     the notary public shall maintain a valid surety bond during the period of extension.

Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga, who is also the Secretary of American Samoa and oversees notaries public, issued a separate memo in conjunction with the executive order, saying that all those whose commissions that do not expired this year, are unaffected.

Lemanu, who is out of home quarantine and back to work, reiterated the two requirements outlined in the executive order thateach subject to the extension must abide by.

Regarding the annotate — “The notary commission is extended until Dec. 31, 2020 pursuant to executive order” — Lemanu said that for best practice, “this should be done under “your stamp, but most importantly, in a place clearly visible. There is no need to purchase new stamps.”

“Our office will work on coordinating classes and the exam at a later date for all renewals and new notaries,” he said. “It is advisable to go through the renewal process even if it’s prior to the Dec. 31st extension.”

Any questions, please contact the Governor’s Office.

The executive and Lemanu’s memo come weeks after some local notaries public have raised concerns over the commission either already expired last month or set to expire later this year.