Changes to Notary Act and Rules That Affect Attorneys Now

By Ann B. Wall

Emergency Video Notarization (EVN) Alert

EVN expired on June 30, 2024, at 12:01 a.m. House Bill 556, which would have extended EVN until July 1, 2025, has been vetoed over a matter unrelated to notarization. Unless the General Assembly should override the veto or another legislative action is taken to extend EVN, it is not law. Do not perform or request an EVN by a North Carolina notary public until this changes. Current law requires both traditional and electronic notarization to be done in person.

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Summary of February 27, 2024, Administrative Procedures Oversight (APO) Committee Meeting

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

The APO Committee is chaired by Rep. Sarah Stevens. Sen. Galey is Co-Chair and was present along with Committee Members Sen. Mayfield, Sen. Moffit, Sen, Sanderson, Rep. Longest and Rep. Dahle.

A report on the Periodic Review of Existing Rules (Existing Rules Review or ERR) was presented by Codifier of Rules Ashley Berger Synder and RRC Chair Jeanette Doran. The first step of the review, which will be completed in three years, is the classification of rules. Sen. Mayfield inquired if the RRC could intervene if the agencies classified rules in the middle bucket which was necessary without a substantive public interest. Synder responded with a review of the three buckets for classification in the first round of ERR, how each bucket was handled, and noted that the General Assembly amended the process to delete the middle bucket. Rep. Longest asked how many rules were classified in the middle bucket. Doran responded they did not have numbers for this question but could get them. Doran went on to state that the APA defines public comment in a much narrower fashion than might be expected and that only comments on a rule could be calculated. Rep. Stevens asked what groups are exempt from the review. Sen Mayfield asked about the process of rule making for the exempt groups. Synder responded with examples of exempt groups: the State Bar, the Utilities Commission, and the Lottery Commission. The exemption is defined by statute, and each of the exempt groups have processes for review of rules. Rep. Stevens mentioned problems with HHS and DPI having not complied with the rules review process. Doran indicated they did not know the number of rules issues, and the two agencies had too many subdivisions to determine a number. Rep. Stevens asked for an explanation of the difference between rules and policy.

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Nominations for Administrative Law Award for Excellence

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

The Administrative Law Section established the Award for Excellence to recognize members of the section who have made significant and lasting contributions to the practice of administrative law. These individuals are experienced members of the profession and are in good standing concerning their practice. The recipient must have practiced administrative law for five years. The nomination letter should indicate the above criteria and specific examples of how the nominee has made significant, lasting contributions.

Some of the prior recipients of the award are Julian Mann, Fred Morrison, Nick Fountain, Jack Nichols, Dan McLawhorn, Molly Masich, Ann Wall and Jeff Grey.

The deadline for receiving the nominations is Friday, February 16. For more information and to complete your nomination, visit the Administrative Law Award for Excellence webpage. For questions, email BreAnne Shieh.

The Privilege of Doing Business

Fred, a man with brown hair, wears a pale blue shirt, red and black striped tie, and a black suit.By Fred Moreno

For decades, North Carolina citizens have had the opportunity to work in several different industries and practices. Certain dealings require that person to first obtain a professional license. This is typically done by passing an exam and satisfying certain education or training requirements. Once all required conditions are completed to obtain a required professional license, the North Carolina citizen is well on their way to pursue success in their chosen field. However, it is typically soon after obtaining such a license that the person is first introduced to the North Carolina Privilege Tax. The North Carolina Privilege Tax is a tax imposed for the purpose of “carrying on the business, exercising the privilege, or doing the act named.”[1] This tax is required to be paid on an annual basis at a cost of $50. Most professional licensees regulated by occupational licensing boards qualify as individuals subject to the annual North Carolina Privilege Tax. This includes veterinarians, physicians, real estate brokers, real estate appraisers, funeral directors, certified public accountants, etc.

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What Is the Game Plan, and Where Are We Moving?

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

Over two hundred years ago, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote The Federalist Papers. These essays were to encourage discussion and the approval of the United States Constitution. In The Federalist #78, Alexander Hamilton noted that the courts were “designed to be the intermediate body between the people and their legislature” to ensure that the people’s representatives acted only within the authority given in the Constitution. Clearly, the courts on the federal and state levels are created to be an active check on the Legislative and Executive branches. We are an essential part of this check.

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Lawrence Duke Appointed Administrative Law Judge

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

In October, Lawrence Duke, formerly Legal Counsel to the North Carolina Rules Commission, was appointed the newest Administrative Law Judge. Judge Duke was with the Rules Commission for one year and nine months. A graduate of the Campbell School of Law in 2015, Judge Duke clerked at the North Carolina Court of Appeals for almost four years before joining the law firm of McDougal and Worrell. He continued his practice with the McDougal Law Firm concentrating on business, financial, complex legal litigation as well as catastrophic personal injury cases. Judge Duke has also worked in legislative relations and policy analysis.

Please welcome Judge Duke to his new appointment.

Fred Morrison Retires from the Office of Administrative Hearings

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

After over fifty years of service to the State of North Carolina, Fred Morrison retired as the Senior Administrative Law Judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Judge Morrison has had a long and distinctive career serving the citizens of North Carolina. He is a graduate of Wake Forest School of Law, where he graduated second in his class. Afterwards, Judge Morrison served as a Solicitor in the courts in Thomasville. Governor Robert Scott selected Morrison to be his Legal Counsel and with this, Fred Morrison started his public service in Raleigh. Judge Morrison is the only individual to serve as Legal Counsel to two Governors from two different parties. When James Holshouser was elected Governor, he sought to have a smooth transition and appreciated the experience Judge Morrison brought to this position. Governor Holshouser appointed Judge Morrison, and when Holshouser left office, Morrison had several opportunities in North Carolina State Government. He chose to be Executive Director of the Inmate Grievance Commission.

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North Carolina Real Estate Commission Welcomes New Members

Kristen, a white woman with brown hair, wears a beige blouse and a black jacket. By Kristen Fetter

The General Assembly recently appointed Robert J. “Bob” Ramseur Jr. and William “Bill” Aceto to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Mr. Ramseur and Mr. Aceto were sworn in as new members at the September 13, 2023, business meeting.

Mr. Ramseur is an attorney and a partner at Ragsdale Liggett PLLC in Raleigh, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of residential and commercial real estate. Mr. Ramseur is a graduate of Wake Forest University, where he received both his bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctorate. He is also a member of the NCBA. Mr. Ramseur was previously appointed to the Real Estate Commission in 2015 by Governor Pat McCrory and served as a past Commission Chair. His term with the Real Estate Commission ends June 30, 2026.

Mr. Aceto is a partner at Blue Ridge Realty & Investments in Boone. He has been a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina since 2007. Mr. Aceto graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in business and criminal justice.  Mr. Aceto is also a public member on the North Carolina Building Commission. His term with the Real Estate Commission ends July 31, 2026.

The 2023 Legislative Review CLE Program: Stay Informed and Excel in Your Practice!

Amy, a white woman with blond hair, wears a red and black flowered blouse and a black jacket.By Amy Fitzhugh

Join us on Thursday, November 9, 2023, for an informative and comprehensive event at the Bar Center in Cary. This program, planned by the NCBA Administrative Law Section, offers a deep dive into legislative updates and key legal topics that are essential for administrative and governmental lawyers. Offering 6.00 MCLE hours, including 1.00 Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit hour and 1.00 Technology Training credit hour, this program is an invaluable opportunity to enhance your legal knowledge.

What to Expect:

Legislative Update (9:00-10:00 a.m.): Get insights from leading lawyers as they review legislation from the 2023 Long Session, discussing its impact on administrative and governmental law. Gain a forecast of what to expect in the 2024 Session.

Ethics-AI and Hot Topics (10:10-11:10 a.m.): Discover the latest CLE requirements and important ethics decisions and requirements, including AI. Stay updated on essential information for navigating the current practice of law.

Employment Issues (11:20-12:20 p.m.): This session covers crucial employment-related topics that are relevant to administrative and governmental lawyers.

Rules Review Update (1:20-2:20 p.m.): Learn about recent changes in rules, especially those related to rulemaking, and how they impact your practice.

Local Government Lawyering (2:30-3:30 p.m.): Ideal for both new and seasoned attorneys, this session covers various topics relevant to local government law practice.

IT Presentation (3:40-4:40 p.m.): In today’s world, lawyers must understand and manage IT programs. This session equips you with the knowledge to meet IT challenges effectively.

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Perseverance in Challenging Times

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

In “Leadership In Turbulent Times,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin examines four American presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Lincoln faced a severely divided nation struggling with the wretched stain of slavery. The Civil War was killing Americans in unimaginable numbers. Lincoln had lost two of his sons to illness and war. President Lincoln and his wife, Mary, experienced depression in the face of perhaps the most challenging time in United States history.

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