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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Senate Judiciary Committee wants more time to discuss a bill that would require notaries in South Carolina to write and speak English after a meeting Tuesday.

"What the bill attempts to do is provide clean statutory definition of notary acts and procedures," said Sen. Chauncey Gregory at the meeting.

The bill is modeled after a 2010 framework written by a national notary association.

"For example, a notary can't notarized a blank document, a notary must be able to speak in English and write in English, it increases the fees from a maximum of a dollar to five dollars," Sen. Gregory said.

The bill would also increase the criminal penalty for fraud to up to five years.

Sen. Gregory accepted questions and concerns about the "English only" clause in the bill. He says it's there to address problems with Latin American notaries who also pose as lawyers and provide a fraudulent service to South Carolinians.

The bill will remain on the agenda and be brought up again at the next Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

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