Crowdfunding may yet become a reality in North Carolina with the filing of a new bill in the state Senate on Wednesday. It’s called PACES, or “Providing Access To Entrepreneurs/Small Business.”

Legislation also has been introduced in the House.

With bills on the agenda in both houses, perhaps the politicos will keep legislation apart from the ongoing squabble over economic incentives that ended up derailing bipartisan-supported crowdfunding a year ago.

Entrepreneurs and people looking to invest in startups can only hope the General Assembly will keep crowdfunding separate from the incentives debate, which continues to rage.

Senators Tamara Barringer, Ralph Hise and Rick Gunn are the primary backers of the North Carolina Providing Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Act (S481.)

You can read the details here:

Triangle angel investor and entrepreneur Mark Easley and others have been lobbying for crowdfunding the past two years. Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration also support the new means of funding startups.

As Easley notes in a blog, the new bill reflects a broad effort to get the bill passed. And as he notes – importantly – it’s a “stand alone” bill.

“Senate Bill S481 is the stand alone version of the NC JOBS/PACES Act that our working group reviewed and recommended back in January, and that the Governor and Commerce Secretary Skvarla have been promoting. The working group consists of the NC JOBS/PACES Act private sector team of attorneys and crowdfunding business experts, the NC Secretary of State Securities Division, and the NC Commerce Department. This bill is based on the original NC JOBS Act, with some enhancements recommended by the working group,” Easley writes.

Companies could raise as much as $2 million and promote the investments over the Internet, assuming proper disclosure rules are followed.

“Non-accredited” investors also can play, potentially adding hundreds of thousands of people to the investment crowd.

Here’s the definition of “non-accredited investor,” according to Investopedia:

“An investor who does not meet the net worth requirements for an accredited investor under the Securities & Exchange Commission’s Regulation D. A non-accredited individual investor is one who has a net worth of less than $1 million (including spouse) and who earned less than $200,000 annually ($300,000 with spouse) in the last two years.”

Accredited (high net-worth individuals) and non-accredited backers can put as much as $5,000 into a company per year.

“This is a financial investment model that is well understood by the start-up investment and small business services community,” Easley says of the bill. “The NC PACES Act is also compatible with crowdfunding initiatives at the Federal level and with those being implemented in other states.”