- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate is trying to give people a new way to raise money to start small businesses.

The 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.

The director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Joe Borg, said enactment of the legislation would create a significant opportunity for Alabama entrepreneurs. “While investment in startup businesses has risk, the potential rewards in promoting new business and job formation in our local communities are invaluable,” Borg said.

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