Supporters of the so-called NC JOBS Act, which would authorize crowdfunding for new and emerging businesses, have launched another lobbying effort to convince the N.C. Senate to pass a bill that the House agreed to a year ago.

“This grassroots effort is helping,” says Mark Easley, an entrepreneur and an investor who is a key backer of the H680 bill.

But time is running out.

The General Assembly “short session” is nearing a climax with the budget still the big elephant in the room for the state’s Republican dominated leadership. (Note: N.C. Attorney general Roy Cooper posted the alert on Tuesday and linked to an in-depth report from the Better Business Bureau about what’s going on in the dark side of crowdfunding.)

Easley says that Republican Rep. Tom Murry from Morrisville, who helped steer the bill through the House, told him “H680 will be included as part of the large omnibus bill that will be debated this session. This is a good sign.”

However, as WRAL’s Mark Binker, who covers the General Assembly, told WRAL TechWire last week that crowdfunding is not a big priority in the Senate.

Over the weekend, Easley and other bill supporters put together a letter advocating H680 and secured signatures from nearly 90 supporters. They include a who’s who of the Triangle startup community.  

The endorsements came “from CEOs, Founders, Managing Directors, Partners, Executives and Investors at our leading Startup Accelerators, individual Angels and Funds, Venture Capital Funds, a leading CPA firm, the North Carolina Technology Association, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, SAS Institute, Deloitte, UNC Chapel Hill Technology Development Center, Triangle business attorneys, and many of our local technology startups,” Easley wrote. “This is a strong showing of support that we received over the last 72 hours.”

Backers Cite Bills’ Benefits

According to backers, the JOBS Act’s benefits include:

• “Start-up companies and small businesses play a critical role in creating new jobs and growing the economy in North Carolina. The NC JOBS Act (H680) legislation enables a new way of financing start-ups and small businesses in North Carolina known as “intrastate investment crowdfunding”.
• “The NC JOBS Act allows North Carolina companies to use the internet to promote their offerings and to accept investments from both accredited and non-accredited investors who live in NC. It is a simple model that is well understood by the start-up investment and services community.
• “The start-up and small business community in North Carolina will benefit greatly from this new form of financing. Many small businesses all over our state have struggled to find financing through traditional sources (such as banks, angel investors, or venture funds). Intrastate investment crowdfunding offers access to a source of new capital for NC companies that might never get off the ground or be unable to expand due to lack of financial resources.
• “North Carolina investors see this as a great way to create and grow North Carolina companies and to create jobs. For the first time, small investors in North Carolina will have the opportunity to participate in the economic growth of their communities by investing limited amounts in start-ups and small businesses in our state.
• “The NC JOBS Act passed the NC House by a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote of 103 to 1 in 2013, positioning our State as a leader in this area. Since then, many other States have passed similar legislation, modeled off our Act. In addition, the NC JOBS Act does not cost taxpayers a single dime. It is a new securities law exemption that grows the economy and creates jobs, but has no fiscal impact on the budget. It is time for North Carolina to enable investment crowdfunding.”

Will the Senate listen – and in time?