Bipartisan backed bill aims to benefit National Guard

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Tuesday, January 14, 2014 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE – Today, a bill intended to benefit active and reserve components of the Indiana National Guard passed unanimously out of the House and will now go to the Senate for further consideration. State Representative and Army Veteran Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) authored House Bill (HB) 1041 which aims to expedite the notarization process for certain military documents.

“When soldiers are called to serve, especially while deployed, many time-sensitive documents require validation to receive, for example, all their benefits or promotions on-time,” said Rep. Gutwein. “In the past, military officers were able to notarize these documents for both active and reserve components of the Indiana National Guard. Recently, the Department of Defense determined that they could no longer validate these documents unless it was declared by state law. Addressing the situation and with help from Secretary of State’s office, I authored House Bill 1041 which would add the necessary language to the Indiana Code.”

The Department of Defense determined that officers in the Indiana National Guard were unable to notarize military documents for active or reserve components. Forced to find notaries elsewhere, the process became costly, time-consuming and extremely burdensome for Indiana’s guard units.

Coordinating with the Secretary of State’s office, which is responsible for approving the state’s notary applications, Rep. Gutwein authored HB 1041 which would add Indiana’s Adjutant General, as well as anyone they designate, to the list of officials with the capacity to acknowledge the signature of another person.

If enacted, HB 1041 establishes that the Adjutant General or their designee can only notarize service-related documents exclusively for active and reserve members of the Indiana National Guard.

“When the National Guard told my office about the difficulty soldiers were experiencing trying to get documents notarized before deployment, I immediately went to work to simplify the process,” said Secretary Lawson. “I realized that if we could give military members notary powers for National Guard related documents that our service men and women wouldn’t have to jump extra hoops. When I told Representative Gutwein about the issue, he agreed to carry the bill, and I thank him for all of his hard work.”

Currently, there are 12 specific types of officials, including members of the Indiana General Assembly, who may acknowledge documents and administer oaths.

Visit www.in.gov/legislative for additional information about HB 1041 or visit www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicansfor additional information about Rep. Gutwein.

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