In a strong bipartisan vote, the N.C. House on Thursday afternoon approved a crowdfunding bill by a whopping 99-1 margin.
It appears the long battle to win approval of crowdfunding for startups in North Carolina could finally be nearing a close.
However, this is not a “clean” bill. The Senate had included non-crowdfunding language in its version and the House added some more.
“State House voted 99-1 to give the measure tentative approval today, 99-1,” reports WRAL.com’s Mark Binker.
But there’s still work to be done.
“Another House vote is needed Monday night,” Binker notes.
If approved then, the bill faces a final hurdle before going to Gov. Pat McCrory for signature.
“[The bill] will then return to the Senate” if House members support it again Monday.
Known as Senate Bill 481 (Providing Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs and Small Business or PACES Act), the Senate backed the bill unanimously on Monday, sending it to the House.
The Senate approved the bill by a 48-0 vote and the bipartisan support reflected in the House discussion set the stage for initial House approval.
“Very little debate in committee,” Binker reports..
Concurrence with the Senate could also prove difficult. Crowdfunding has had strong bipartisan support in the past yet failed to achieve passage.
SB481 is not a crowdfunding-only bill. It also includes a requirement to make public information about “written determinations by the Department of Revenue.”
Will the tax matter mix things up? We shall see.
The House added its own wish to the bill, as investor and crowdfunding supporter Mark Easley points out.
“Since the House finance committee added a new Part III to the bill yesterday, it will need to be worked out with the Senate and approved by both one more time, which looks like it could happen by Monday at this point,” Easley wrote WRAL TechWire.
“The version of SB481 that the House approved today is Edition 4. Part I (crowdfunding) and unrelated Part II (Department of Revenue Disclosures) are the same as the Senate passed. Part III is another unrelated act called ‘Prohibit Cities from Charging Fees for Utility Use of Right-Of-Way’ which has to do with the fees cities can charge for installing fibre and other utilities. The Senate attached Part II, and now the House has attached Part III.
“Hopefully that is all that will happen and we can get this done now.”
For those investors and startups longing to get crowdfunding started in North Carolina, the quick advance of the bill this month can be traced to its backers’ decisions in both houses to break crowdfunding out as separate legislation from a much larger economic development package.
Even with passage, North Carolina is far behind more than 30 other states that have capitalized on Congressional passage of crowdfunding-related measures in the 2012 JOBS Act. But with SEC regulations in place, North Carolina may soon embrace a means of funding more startups.