Robocalls, phone scams and unsolicited telemarketers continue to be a scourge for many cellphone users, as evolving technology lets scammers stay one step ahead of regulation and enforcement attempts.

Efforts such as the National Do Not Call Registry have helped, but foreign companies aren’t subject to U.S. laws, according to one lawmaker who sponsored a newly passed bill to hold Utah companies accountable if they outsource phone solicitations to skirt state and federal law.

It’s just a small step toward protecting phone owners from unwanted calls, but the Utah Legislature passed HB217, which would “crack down” on telemarketers who violate the do not call registry and other telecommunications laws.

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Bill sponsor Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, said the bill would hold Utah companies accountable if they have “reason to know” that foreign partners are violating telecommunications laws for their benefit. He said some local companies have “arm’s-length partnerships” with foreign companies, giving them plausible deniability of any wrongdoing.

“If you don’t like telemarketing, this is a bill for you,” Thurston told the House last week.

HB217 would also define solicitation to include calls with an offer to purchase real estate or property and would prohibit technology to mask or spoof caller ID information.

“Normally solicitation is thought of as someone calling you to try to sell you stuff, but lately we’ve had a lot of people calling wanting to buy your stuff,” Thurston said.

During discussion in the Senate on Thursday, floor sponsor Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, called it “the bill that all your constituents have been waiting to applaud.”

“If anyone is opposed to this I will be surprised,” said Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Friday, after clearing the House last week.