Are you sick and tired of getting hounded online and on your phone by telemarketers?

A new law takes effect Tuesday that bans text message ads in the Garden State.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty D-Gloucester, the prime sponsor of the measure, said no one should be confused by the message being sent.

“We want to stop unsolicited text messages from being sent to your cell phone. If people do that and try to market you and it uses up your minutes or your data, they can be fined $500 for the first violation and a thousand dollars for the second,” he said

The new law stipulates violators will not be subject to the penalty if they can prove that the ad they sent was an isolated message that was sent not more than once within a 12-month period.

He said he gets calls all the time on his phone to the point where it’s become abusive.

“In our regular mail we get junk mail all the time, in our email we get spam, at our home phone we get all sorts of people selling us stuff," Moriarty said. "Our cell phones have really been the last bastion of some kind of privacy from telemarketers and businesses trying to sell you stuff and we want to keep it that way."

He noted “this hasn’t been a really big problem to date, and we don’t want it to become one, so this is kind of a prophylactic approach to this issue."

Moriarty explained the text message comes from a phone number, “so you would report it to the Division of Consumer Affairs, the state Attorney General’s Office, and they would track it down.”

Last month, Gov. Chris Christie issued a conditional veto of the bill because he said the prescribed penalties, $10,000 for the first violation and as much as $20,000 for the second, were too harsh.

Those penalties were reduced to $500 for a first violation and $1,000 for a second.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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