Crowdfunding advocates in North Carolina, take heart. In coming weeks, a new push for passage of a bill in the General Assembly will get underway.

Advocates are lining up to support a new drive by the N.C. Department of Commerce. And there’s a silver lining in the delay, says one investor.

Last week, according to sources, Commerce executives gathered at an all-hands-on-deck meeting at the behest of Commerce Secretary John Skvarla to map out a strategy to get a bill passed after a long delay.

“On intrastate crowdfunding, you are correct, the Commerce Secretary has restarted the conversation,” said angel investor Mark Easley, who has pushed aggressively for crowdfunding.

The aim is to “get the NC PACES Act passed in the new session starting in April,” he says.

The meeting took place just days after Skvarla testified before a legislative panel the previous week.

“If we’re not going to help our small businesses, we can talk around these issues all day long,” Skvarla told members of an oversight committee that was examining the economic struggles of rural counties, according to a report by WRAL Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie.

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Easley has seen enough recent movement that he has “restarted” a blog focused on the crowdfunding bill. NC PACES stands for the North Carolina Providing Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Act.

“We will give it another go again this year,” Easley explained.

The silver lining

And he pointed out there actually is a silver lining to the delay.

“The good news is the delay in passing NC PACES will allow us to create a better bill which will be compatible with and complimentary to all the recent regulations that the SEC issued in 2015 about crowdfunding,” Easley pointed out. “So there is a silver lining to all these delays we have had.”

Just what changes are likely to be made remain unclear.

“I will be glad to send you the details on what we are thinking about this soon after we have everything nailed down,” he said.

North Carolina continues to lag behind a growing number of states when it comes to crowdfunding, as Leslie pointed out in her report:

“At least 29 other states have already approved crowd-funding as a way for start-up businesses to raise money, and Skvarla and the rest of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration have been pushing for crowd-funding for several years.”

The latest N.C. legislative act faded out in October. In November, the SEC unveiled new rules affecting crowdfunding, and N.C. lawmakers now have a chance to pass a bill based on the latest regulations.

New rules

Jim Verdonik, a lawyer with Ward and Smith in Raleigh who has written extensively about crowdfunding issues, noted in a recent column that the SEC rules take effect in May.

“Although the Section 4(a)(6) Federal Crowdfunding Rules were long awaited, the changes to SEC Rules 147 and 504 that the SEC proposed the same day to make it easier for more businesses to rely on Rules 147 or 504 to do State crowdfunding offerings may have a bigger positive impact on capital-raising than the Section 4(a)(6) Federal Crowdfunding Rules,” Verdonik noted.

“The proposed changes to Rule 147 and Rule 504 are important, because the Section 4(a)(6) Federal Crowdfunding Rules combine a low $1 million maximum offering amount with many expenses and restrictions on both issuers raising capital and platform operators. The combination of restrictions with a low annual maximum offering amount make it likely that the Section 4(a)(6) Federal Crowdfunding Rules will not be a cost inefficient alternative for most businesses or platform operators. “

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