A state law approved Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will expand the definition of telemarketing in New York to include text messages in an effort to crackdown on what consumer advocates have called a loophole in existing regulations.

The measure, backed by Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assemblyman Kenny Burgos, will add text messages and notifications to the regulations governing traditional telemarketing calls. The law will take effect in 30 days. 

"Our consumer protections need to keep pace with technology and New Yorkers who have long been plagued by the nuisance of annoying calls from telemarketers now have to contend with unwanted texts attempting to sell them things they don't want," Cuomo said. "This legislation closes this annoying loophole and will help ensure our laws are modernized to confront the needs of New Yorkers."

The measure comes as owners of mobile phones have been bombarded with unwanted robocalls and increasingly text messages. Federal efforts to crackdown on the practice have been underway as well. 

"Now that cell phones are as common, if not more, than landlines, electronic text messages to our mobile devices have become the newest unwelcomed invasive marketing technique," Comrie said. "Consumers should not be burdened with excessive and predatory telemarketing in any form, including text messages and I thank my colleague Assemblyman Kenny Burgos for working with me on this bill to close this loophole, modernize the statute and protect the people."

“During the pandemic, New Yorkers experienced a dramatic rise in text-based telemarketing because the law had not caught up with technological advancements," Burgos said. "With this essential piece of legislation, New York consumers on the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ will no longer receive these types of messages. I thank the Governor for signing my bill, A6040, designed to include electronic text messages as a form of telemarketing, and I am proud to see this bill now become State law.”