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State Assembly approves crowdfunding bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Assembly has agreed to give businesses a new way to tap into investment funds.

On a voice vote Tuesday, the lower House decided to relax some state laws on stock sales, to let investors make donations that provide capital for companies that need it.

It's called "crowdfunding." Companies could raise up to $1 million on Web sites like Kickstarter -- or $2 million if they're willing to be audited and let investors see the results.

Donors would not get direct returns, but could get things like free products that a funded company sells.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Supporters say it would let new businesses get donated capital in place of more traditional financing like grants, loans, and venture capital -- all of which can still be hard to get in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

One of the bill's main sponsors, Assembly Republican Dave Craig of West Bend, says Wisconsin would have the most comprehensive crowdfunding program in the nation. That's because it would allow face to face donations, as well as Internet sales.

Only Kansas and Georgia allow crowdfunding.