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Monday, February 17, 2014

Startup Bills in the Alabama Legislature

"Alabama Senate moves to help small businesses raise startup money through crowd funding:
MONTGOMERY (AP) — The Alabama Senate is trying to give people a new way to raise money to start small businesses.
Arthur OrrEnlarge |Arthur Orr
FILE -- In this photo taken Feb. 4, 2013, State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, talks with reporters in Montgomery, Ala. Alabamians trying to start small businesses in a tough credit market may soon have a new method that will allow them to raise small amounts of capital from many Alabama investors. Known as “crowd funding,” the process has been used for years to generate money for political campaigns, artistic projects and charities. It will become a legal way to raise capital for small businesses in Alabama if the Legislature approves a bill in the next session starting Jan. 14. Orr, the bill's sponsor, said the Alabama Securities Commission asked him to introduce the bill because small business people need a different way to raise money. “It's difficult for start-ups to get bank loans and other traditional financing,” he said. (AP Photo/Phillip Rawls, file)
APThe Senate voted 31-0 Thursday for a "crowd funding" bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur.
The legislation is backed by the Alabama Securities Commission. It would allow someone trying to start a small business in Alabama to use social media and advertising to find small investors who live in the state. It is limited to raising $1 million, and it is restricted to Alabama businesses and investors because of federal regulations.
The proposed legislation is an option for people trying to start small businesses in a tough credit market, Orr said.
His bill now goes to the House for consideration. House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said Thursday he favors the bill because Alabama needs innovative ways to give small businesses access to capital. But he said he has not had a chance to gauge support in the House."

(link) http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140123/NEWS/140129867

OPINION:

This is one of two bills I know of that could help startups.  The other has been pushed along for a couple of years and would provide an investment tax credit for investments in small/startup enterprises.

I, for one, hope both can pass this year.

Monday, February 18, 2013

IndieCandy - All Natural Allergen Free Candy

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Monday, February 4, 2013

2 local businesses chosen to compete for grant | TuscaloosaNews.com #Zambooki.com

2 local businesses chosen to compete for grant | TuscaloosaNews.com:


"Two Tuscaloosa companies are among 13 start-up companies that have been selected for the 2013 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition.
The companies are Thrupore Technologies, a nanotechnology start-up that provides superior catalysts for chemical manufacturers based on advanced materials science, and Zambooki (www.Zambooki.com), an Internet and Web service company that helps individuals and businesses find contractors for various projects..." (Click Link to see complete article)

--Staff report

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Fact-Checkers Howl, but Both Sides Cling to False Ads" - NYTimes.com

Maybe THE most important issue for future elections:  How to provide some accountability for truthfulness (or a lack thereof) to the American electorate?


Fact-Checkers Howl, but Both Sides Cling to False Ads - NYTimes.com:

'via Blog this'

"In his very first television advertisement last year, Mitt Romneyhighlighted the nation’s dire unemployment crisis, its record number of home foreclosures and the rising national debt, and showed video of President Obama delivering this arresting remark: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”  There was one problem: the quotation was taken so wildly out of context that it turned Mr. Obama’s actual meaning upside-down. The truncated clip came from a speech Mr. Obama gave in 2008 talking about his opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. The full quotation? “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ ” 
PolitiFact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking Web site, rated the advertisement “Pants on Fire,” its most deceptive rating possible, but it achieved what the Romney campaign had hoped: people started talking about the sluggish economy and how Mr. Obama’s campaign promises had fallen short. And it set the tone for the campaign that followed, which has often seemed dismissive of fact-checkers.
“We’re not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Neil Newhouse, the Romney campaign’s pollster, said this week during a breakfast discussion at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., that was sponsored by ABC News and Yahoo News. He said that fact-checkers brought their own sets of thoughts and beliefs to their work, and that the campaign stands behind its ads. 
Every four years there are lies in campaigns, and at times a blurry line between acceptable political argument and outright sophistry. But recent events — from the misleading statements in convention speeches to television advertisements repeating widely debunked claims — have raised new questions about whether the political culture still holds any penalty for falsehood. 
Brooks Jackson, the director of FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, said that at various points this year both sides have blithely gone on repeating statements that were found false. “They don’t care,” he said, “because it gets votes.” The increasingly disaggregated media ecosystem, the diminished trust in traditional news organizations and the rise of social media had made it easier than ever to inject questionable assertions directly into the media bloodstream — and to rebut them.
But while there is arguably more fact-checking now than ever — and, thanks to the Web, more ways to independently check what candidates and campaigns say — verdicts that a campaign has crossed the line are often drowned out by dissent from its supporters, who take it upon themselves to check the checkers...(cont.)"
*A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Fact-Checkers Howl, but Campaigns Seem Attached to Dishonest Ads.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Final Approval by House Sends Jobs Bill to President for Signature - NYTimes.com

This is big deal and a possible sea change for many startup companies.  Kudos to our legislators for getting together and trying to put some real changes in place to support our high growth economy.  Of course there are risks, but I'm betting they prove to be somewhat illusory and the returns are meaningful.

ARTICLE:

Final Approval by House Sends Jobs Bill to President for Signature - NYTimes.com:

'via Blog this'

WASHINGTON — The House gave overwhelming final approval on Tuesday to a package of measures intended to ease access to capital and investments for entrepreneurs, sending the bipartisan legislation to President Obama, who has said he will sign it.
The 380-to-41 House vote added a final exclamation point for the JOBS Act, which passed the House overwhelmingly early this month andeasily passed the Senate last Thursday. Because the Senate amended the House version to add some investor protections, the House had to take it back up for a vote before sending it to the White House.
“The bipartisan JOBS Act represents an increasingly rare legislative victory in Washington where both sides seized the opportunity to work together, improved the bill and passed it with strong bipartisan support,” said Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, the House majority leader and the primary architect of the package.
The JOBS Act started as a cluster of minor bills that had bipartisan support and little opposition. Many of them originated at the White House out of the recommendations of Mr. Obama’s jobs council, a group of business and labor leaders whose final report made few waves.
But with the economy still looming large in the 2012 campaign, Republicans and Democrats — Mr. Obama among them — found it advantageous to pump up those modest measures into legislation promoted as a significant effort to hasten the recovery of the labor market.
“As the clock moves relentlessly toward November, people are going to have to show results,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and a supporter of the measure.
The JOBS Act would designate a new category of “emerging growth” companies that could conduct initial public offerings of stock while being exempt from certain financial disclosure and governance requirements for up to five years. It would also provide a new form of financing to small companies. Through crowd-funding, or the sale of small amounts of stock to many individuals, companies could solicit equity investments through the Internet or elsewhere, raising up to $1 million annually without being required to register the shares for public trading with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Supporters see it as a breakthrough for entrepreneurs who hope to build an enterprise around sometimes offbeat ideas without having to sell them to larger companies.
But a few detractors worry that the measure will bring back the “boiler rooms” of the 1990s Internet stock bubble, where hucksters peddle stock tips to unwitting amateur investors. Pension funds, the lobby for older Americans AARP and the chairwoman of the securities commission had opposed aspects of the bill.
Amy Borrus, a spokeswoman for the Council of Institutional Investors, an investor watchdog group, said small companies — the focus of the new bill’s relaxed regulations — are particularly prone to fraud and accounting scandals. Senators did add some investor protections, but not enough, she said.
“We may rue the day this bill passed,” Ms. Borrus said Tuesday.
Under the JOBS bill, companies with up to $1 billion in annual revenue would be free to ignore — for their first five years as a public company — regulations that were put in place after the end of the dot-com bubble and the collapse of Enron.
Among them are requirements to hire an independent outside auditor to attest to a company’s internal financial controls and restrictions on how financial analysts interact with investment bankers in promoting a company’s stock.
The bill also allows some companies to advertise for investors in almost any medium, a provision that skeptical regulators contend will mainly benefit the sale of worthless securities by brokerage firms.
Senate Democrats did add some investor protections that were ratified Tuesday by the House. Senators added a provision to ensure that any company using crowd-funding methods must still file some basic information with the securities commission, including the names of directors, officers and holders of more than 20 percent of the company’s shares, plus a description of the business and its financial condition.
Companies seeking to raise $100,000 or less must also provide tax returns and a financial statement certified by a company principal; those raising up to $500,000 must provide financial statements that are reviewed by an independent public accountant.
The Senate also inserted requirements that intermediaries seeking to help companies raise money through crowd-funding must register with the commission, make sure investors are advised of the risks they are taking, and take measures to prevent fraud.

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