June 2, 1992
The Louisiana Notary Association was formed when the charter meeting of the organization, then named “Capital Area Notary Association,” adopted bylaws and elected officers. The Board of Directors was soon at work building the organization’s membership in the Baton Rouge Area. The new association found its way through the maze of the usual organizational stumbling blocks, and began to see membership grow with the inception of monthly supper meetings known as “Shop Talk.” Concurrent with the development of the Capital Area Notary Association, a group of interested CANA members convened as the “Louisiana State Notary Association,” with the primary purpose of publishing a newsletter to be of interest to notaries statewide, with its first market being the membership of the Capital Area Notary Association. The CANA membership voted to pay dues to the state association in order to fund the newsletter. The first issue was published in November 1992. With experience came wisdom! By the time the second issue of “Signed & Sealed” had been published, it became clear that one organizational structure with a statewide approach would at that time be more efficient than two organizations. Hence, the LSNA was merged into CANA, which then re-named itself and eliminated area membership limitations.
By June 1993, CANA had become LSNA and was publishing a newsletter. In November 1993, the board, by then empowered to manage the affairs of the organization; decided that it would be wise to incorporate. Articles were drafted, adopted, and submitted to the Secretary of State. The document, however, had failed to meet the requirements of the law, as the word “STATE” cannot be contained in the name of an organization incorporated under Louisiana Non-Profit Corporation law. The directors chartered as the Louisiana Notary Association, and became the LSNA dba LNA (and vice versa).
During the 1994 Annual Meeting, the association amended its bylaws to bring the name into conformity with the corporate name. Finally, the association had its organizational structure secure, had worked out operational details, and was ready to go about the business of membership growth and establishing itself as a resource for Louisiana’s Civil Law Notary. Since then, the association has focused on developing its role as an education and information resource for Louisiana’s Civil Law Notary. Membership growth was slow at first. It took a while for the word to get out. Now, the growth is steady.
The membership nearly doubled from March ’94 to March ’95.
The Membership nearly quadrupled from March ’95 to March ’96. As membership grew across the state, the development of chapters became more than just part of the vision of the founders, and the first chapters were established in 1996 with the Northeast Chapter and the Bayou Region Chapter. However, the initial chapter program imposed stringent monetary reporting requirements and quality standards on programs conducted in the name of the association.
In 1997, the association’s needs had exceeded the volunteer resources to such a degree that an executive director was contracted to provide professional staff support services. This office manages the publications, programs, business management, and member support services for the association.
The summer of 1998 was a special time in the LNA’s History. The Union International del Notariado Latino (The International Union of Latin Notaries) paid a state visit to the Louisiana Notariat. The LNA was the host for this delegation, which was received by the office of the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and distinguished members of the Louisiana Notariat. Louisiana has been asked to maintain its affiliation with the UINL. As a founding member of this international association, which has standing in forums such as the United Nations, Louisiana is able to bring the United States to these important conferences through its Louisiana Notariat, now represented by the Louisiana Notary Association. The Louisiana Notary Association’s reputation is well established with several major state agencies and key legislative committees. In 1998, over $37 million in federal funds was held up by a senate committee in order for the association to review the proposed effect on Notaries and offer comments or amendments to the committee. The membership doubled again by March of 1998.
The formative years for the LNA provided the invaluable lesson that its local association with other notaries provides the substance of the strength of the organization. In 1999, the board saw its first dissolution of a chapter due to the difficulties inherent for small subordinate bodies to meet the reporting requirements of the central organization. Therefore the board began the process of revising the chapter requirements to make it easier to administer a chapter and removed the requirement for members to pay additional dues for the benefits of chapter membership. Shop Talk programs are now a regular event in six cities across the state. In January of 1999, the association was asked to make a special report to the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure. Even in the midst of legislative sessions, the Louisiana Notary Association successfully maintained its role as an educational organization. Very important corrective legislation was introduced in April 1999 by a member of that committee, solely on the strength of information reported by the association concerning problems with the validity of commissions in various parishes around the state. Attorneys in state agencies seeking information routinely contact the LNA regarding the duties of the civil law notary as they pertain to the administration of specific laws. Members of the legislature routinely contact the LNA to enquire about the concerns of our members. Through association publications, cogent questions find their answers; Signed & Sealed, the Louisiana Civil Law Notary Quarterly, is read by legislators, members of the judiciary, and public officials at all levels of government service.
In 2000, the LNA Board solicited proposals from professional management associations to take over the duties of the Executive Director. Professional Association Management, Inc., (PAMI) was the selected firm to manage the affairs of LNA. The membership changed the annual meeting date from the spring to the fall to accommodate conflicting events around the state in direct competition with the annual meeting. The membership count in April 21, 2001 was 908 members. The LNA mission statement was adopted: “The Louisiana Notary Association is the premier provider of education and information for and about Notaries in the state of Louisiana.”
With the transition to a management company successfully behind the Association, the focus became managing the day-today affairs of the Association. Membership grew to 1,022.
This year saw the LNA being asked to serve on the Study Committee in the Secretary of State’s office, to study the feasibility of Standardized Testing, Continuing Education, and Statewide Commissions. A Flower Fund was created to allow flower arrangements to be sent to the family of a deceased member of the LNA. Members requested that the LNA develop new notary classes/seminars at the Notary Level. The Education Committee solicited interested members to create and instruct new course material for LNA members. The following new courses were observed as part of LNA’s course certification program at the October 2002 Convention: Wills, Computer Basics, Notarial Succession by Affidavit, and Common Notary Transactions. These courses, along with the Successful Vehicle Transfer and Successful Vehicle Transfer-Advanced, were scheduled throughout the state for 2003.
Membership continued to grow. Several LNA members continued working with the Secretary of State’s office in various focus groups.
The LNA entered into an agreement with ILS National Incorporated-Group Purchasing plan as a benefit for members. LNA members benefit by receiving discounts on office supply items, mobile phone service, copiers and printers as well as many other areas.
After a lengthy development effort, the LNA membership adopted a Code of Ethics and Professionalism for Louisiana civil law notaries public.
After surveying of the members, a special committee was formed to discuss the reduction of dues. The committee recommended the reduction to take effect in 2009. A retired membership was also developed for those over the age of 70, The LNA Certified Signing Agent program was initiated and became an instant success. Hurricane Gustav did tremendous damage to much of south Louisiana, including Houma, which had been selected to host the Annual Convention. The Convention was moved on short notice to New Orleans and was highly successful despite the effects of the hurricane.
The LNA passed a Corporate Membership Packet for Corporate Allied members, granting them the exclusive right to advertise in LNA publications. In order to meet the LNA board’s commitment to travel statewide to meet and greet LNA members, new Shop Talks were set up in Lake Charles, St. Tammany and Monroe. The Annual Convention was held in Vidalia, LA where members enjoyed the charming atmosphere of this historic town, as well as numerous educational courses with an array of topics ranging from Wills to Matrimonial Regimes. A Group Insurance Program was also introduced as a member benefit at convention.
In keeping up with social media trends, the board created LNA’s own Facebook page where LNA members and “fans” can keep up to date with events, issues and discussions involving the notarial field and LNA. Houma, LA hosted the Annual Convention where members learned about different topics of interest to notaries. The LNA also announced its debut of its own Pre Commissioning Notary School to instruct those interested in becoming a notary.
LNA goes green. The Association newsletter went electronic; LNA’s online store opened its virtual doors offering to the membership LNA branded items for purchase; a private electronic forum offered exclusively to members, went online. A contest was held to name the forum and the name Notary2Notary was the winning name. A very aggressive educational course schedule was offered statewide in an effort to honor the requests received during the 2010 LNA Convention which was held in Houma, Louisiana. LNA offered our first Pre-Commissioning Notary and Scenario courses in 2011. LNA Board of Directors while faced with many House and Senate bills that threatened the office of Notaries Public statewide was given the honor of having an appointed seat on the HCR45 Notary Study Committee. The Committee was given the charge of the study to expand the authority of the Secretary of State to develop standards for notary instructors and applicants, and to study all aspects of the notary education, examination and application to determine additional ways of improving the office of notary public in Louisiana. The realization of hiring a lobbyist became a reality when HB257 threatened. It provided for ex-officio financial institutional notaries. LNA strongly opposed this legislation and began holding town hall meetings to encourage all notaries to join LNA in the effort of stopping this legislation. LNA’s objective was to protect and preserve the interests of the Louisiana notary.
In 2012 the LNA membership voted to amend the bylaws to allow for electronic balloting for future board elections and/or bylaw changes. The electronic ballot will be sent via email and will include a link to an online survey service. The link to the ballot can only be used once by the email recipient. Members who have an email address on file with the LNA will receive an electronic ballot; members who do not have an email address will continue to receive a mail-in ballot. There are plans to utilize this electronic survey service in the future to conduct periodic member surveys on topics that are important to Louisiana notaries. The LNA has increased its social media presence on Facebook and has plans to expand offerings to include LinkedIn and Twitter. The LNA has also set up a Google account to store photos, files and historical information for access by current and future board/committee members. On the legislative front, Act 829 was passed in 2012 as a compromise to legislation initially proposed that would create a second class of notary in Louisiana. The law provides for the provisional appointment of a notary under special conditions, with expiration of the provisional status on August 1, 2016. The LNA, through its lobbying efforts, continued to monitor pending legislation for items that might affect the Civil Law Notary in Louisiana.
June 2, 2012 – Happy Birthday LNA!
Twenty years ago a group of local notaries came together to form an organization that provided educational and informative resources for Louisiana Civil Law Notaries. We deeply appreciate of the vision of our leaders past for laying the foundation that supports our organization to this day.
LNA was thankful for an “easy” legislative session compared to the previous two years. In a report on Legislative News, LNA’s lobbyist reported that LNA focused on about twenty bills filed that addressed the authentication of a document. Each year numerous bills are filed impacting authentication. Some bills explicitly require the authentication of a document, while others don’t require it and many still were silent on the matter. This year HB408, developed by the Louisiana State Law Institute, was filed to amend the corporation laws in the state. The revised language did not address the authentication of articles of incorporation when filed with the Secretary of State. The authentication of Articles of Incorporation has been a part of Louisiana law for years. Relying on “model” language used throughout the country, the drafters wanted to simplify the process for filing articled of incorporation and removed language regarding the authentication of Articles of Incorporation. The bill did make it all the way through the process this year and it is a safe bet similar legislation will be introduced in future legislative sessions. It was recommended that in order for the LNA to take a position on legislation similar to HB 408, the association needed to develop a policy it can apply to this issue thereby establishing itself as the “authority” on the authentication of documents and use this authority to educate lawmakers on best practices in this area. A committee was formed to review and provide recommendations to the LNA on this issue.
On a sad note, on March 13th, the LNA lost a most cherished member. Melva Cavanaugh, Notary Public and Justice of the Peace passed away after a two-year battle with cancer. Melva was an iconic figure with the LNA. She served for many years as a board member but most importantly she was editor of “Signed & Sealed”, The Louisiana Civil Law Notary Journal. She was wise, feisty, always willing to help and always willing to voice her opinion on the “hard” issues. Her sage advice was sought by many. She will be missed tremendously! Her love for the LNA was unprecedented. Rest in Peace Sweet Lady!
LNA completed a total remodel of the LNA website that gave members a better browsing experience and provided new technology that will allow the LNA to offer more feature-rich content in the future.
LNA offered its first ever online course entitled “Notary Vocabulary – The Importance of Knowing the Lingo” quickly followed by another entitled “Trusts – In Simple Talk”. Kudos to Nan Riffe, Education Chair, for making this happen. Three classroom style courses were held – “Preparing Simple Trusts – Rules, Cautions & STOP Signs”, instructed by Luke Morris and “Mortgage Closing” and Professional Signing Agent”, instructed by Pam Alonso.
Shop Talks were expanded to the Lake Charles and Houma/Thibodaux and St. Tammany areas. This brings the number of regions to six, the highest in recent history.
June launched on online Customary Fee and Member Satisfaction Survey to give members the opportunity to share feedback on the benefits and service offerings provided by the association.
Swearing in Ceremonies hosted by the LNA were held in March and August. Special thanks to our Secretary of State, Tom Schedler and Cynthia Cotton and staff for making these events memorable for newly appointed notaries. The 18th Annual Meeting and Convention was held at the Hotel Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana on September 27-28.
The first six months of 2015 provided both challenges and opportunities for the LNA to grow and expand its services to the membership.
The 2015 Legislative Session produced two major bills that affected the Louisiana notary. The Louisiana Bankers Association advocated for several bills targeting notary work. HB120 sought to extend the provisional notary program indefinitely, effectively creating a “second class” notary in Louisiana. The Banker’s successfully moved the bill through the House, but was heavily amended in the Senate Judiciary A Committee to limit the extension of the program to one year. The pro-notary amendments were championed by the Secretary of State Tom Schedler and supported by the Louisiana Bar Association, Louisiana Public Tag Association and Land Title Attorney Association. HB 372 (subsequently killed in Senate Committee) sought to expand annual reporting requirements for notaries.