The Resource Agency history of the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth
- Agency history of the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth
- Biographical or historical data
- The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth has evolved from early colonial times when there existed a Secretary of the Colony. Thomas Nelson held the position of the first Secretary of Virginia in 1776. Early Secretaries were elected by the public. An Act of the General Assembly in 1920 changed the election to a joint vote of the General Assembly. In a 1930 Act the duties of the Secretary were redefined with the Secretary of the Commonwealth serving as the ex officio secretary of the Governor, as custodian of many official State records, and as keeper of the Greater and Lesser Seals of the Commonwealth. The office of the Secretary has gradually acquired other functions, such as: service of out-of-state civil process; appointment and regulation of notaries public; and registration and oversight of lobbyists. The Office became a gubernational appointment subsequent to a 1958 Act of the Assembly. The Secretary of the Commonwealth is under the jurisdiction of the Governor's Office.
- The Secretary is appointed by the Governor for a term of four years. Currently the Secretary of the Commonwealth is responsible for gubernatorial appointments, clemency and restoration of civil rights requests and extraditions. Additional activities include: serving as ex officio Secretary to the Governor; serving as keeper of the seals of the Commonwealth; compiling and publishing the annual Blue Book; commissioning and regulating notary publics, including the publication of a Notary Handbook and conduct of disciplinary hearings; promulgating the lobbying disclosure requirements, registration of lobbyists, and recording of lobbying reports; servicing the civil process of out-of-state defendants and other parties; and authenticating and certifying the records of the courts and of any state agency.
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