With little – if any – progress made on a huge economic development bill that includes crowdfunding in the General Assembly, six Senators – three Republicans and three Democrats are taking crowdfunding alone to the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing on Wednesday.

The finance committee is scheduled to discuss the crowdfunding proposal contained in Senate Bill 481 “Providing Access To Entrepreneurs/Sm Business,” which has been reactivated, according to a General Assembly calendar posting.

However, there may be a hangup, as Mark Binker of WRAL.com reports.

“Senators will likely attach legislation requiring the North Carolina Department of Revenue to disclose a trove of private tax rulings that companies have requested over the past six years to a crowd-funding bill due to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee,” Binker reports.

(See the details at: http://www.wral.com/proposed-legislation-would-make-private-tax-rulings-public/15779433/)

While SEC rules have advanced and more than 30 states have approved crowdfunding bills, North Carolina backers have failed repeatedly to get a bill passed despite having bi-partisan support.

The bill would let so-called “small” investors (i.e. lacking the net worth to achieve accredited investor status – people who have $1 million or more in assets and earn more than $200,000 per year) make $5,000 investments in North Carolina companies, up to a total of $2 million, without the company having to register such investments as a formal security. Backers originally filed the legislation in March 2015.

The larger bill (SB 826, matched by House Bill 1090) appears to be stalled, although it packs multiple items sought by Gov. Pat McCrory and others such as economic development funds. The bill was introduced on May 10 and passed first reading the next day before being referred to the Commerce Committee. No other action has been noted.

The House version was introduced the same day as the Senate bill, passed first reading on May 11 and was referred to the Committee On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House. As in the Senate, no other action has been noted in the House.

Key points for entrepreneurs in the big bill include:

  • A $100 million Small Business Venture Fund
  • University commercialization
  • A new statewide entrepreneurial network

Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, is the lead author of the bigger bill and is one of three GOP Senators listed as sponsors of the crowdfunding legislation. He’s co-chair of the commerce committee.

Other backers include Republicans Tamara Barringer of Cary (vice chair of the commerce committee) and Ralph Hise (co-chair of the information technology committee), who represents Western North Carolina’s District 47.

Democrat Senators Ben Clarke from Cumberland and Hoke County and Joel Ford and Joyce Waddell from Mecklenburg County are listed as co-sponsors.