California Bill Would Make Investing in Local Businesses Easier

Photo: Marcin Wichary (CC-BY) 

Cat Johnson of Shareable writes about the Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) and what it could do for investors and entrepreneurs in California. 

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CA Local Economies Securities Act Passes Through the Banking and Finance Committee -- Will Open Doors for Small Enterprises to Raise Capital

Contact: Christina Oatfield, (415) 8285627, [email protected]

OAKLAND, CA.— Sponsored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), the California Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) passed through the CA Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. LESA will exempt certain securities offerings from California permit requirements, and therefore open doors to raising capital for a variety of enterprises necessary to the economic and ecological health of California, including small farms, agricultural land trusts, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations with business income, and renewable energy systems. It was introduced by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown.

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Are you as politically active as a 4th grader?

April’s always an exciting time for me! The legislative session is in full gear, which means that I’m engaging with partners and legislators and speaking up for policies to support stronger local food and agricultural economies. Earth Day is right around the corner and the spring rain reminds me that the seeds I’ve planted are ready to sprout.

Speaking of seeds, we recently had a hearing for our bill to protect seed sharing, the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act (AB 1810). It passed out of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, in part due to the work of these excellent advocates and official sponsors of the bill!

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Home-cooking markets like Josephine seek regulation

Renée McGhee sprinkles brown sugar on bread pudding as she bakes in her kitchen in Berkeley. She works with Josephine. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle

Photo Credit Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle

Carloyn Said of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about regulations around selling home-cooking in California, and the movement to change regulations to allow platforms like Josephine to operate legally. SELC Policy Director, Christina Oatfield, is quoted in the article. 

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A New Homemade Food Act

In late February of this year California State Assemblymember Cheryl Brown introduced AB 2593, a bill to legalize the sales of homemade food, including hot meals, within certain limits. The bill would provide a dramatic expansion of California citizens’ ability to legally sell homemade food. Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) was heavily involved in advocating for the California Homemade Food Act of 2012, a.k.a the cottage food law, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto. So we wanted to post about this new bill, although SELC is not sponsoring or supporting it at this time.

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SELC Policy Director Interviewed about Grassroots Finance and Farmland Programs

Christina_Oatfield_profile_picture.jpgIn anticipation of the Community Capital Conference coming up in Portland, Oregon, movers and shakers in the local economy and community investing realms are being interviewed about what they are looking forward to discussing and learning.

SELC's Policy Director Christina Oatfield spoke with Hatch Oregon's Hatch the Future podcast about our Grassroots Finance and Farmland programs, our Local Economies Securities Act legislation, the early development of SELC, and her own path to becoming a lawyer without going to law school.

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Party Like It's 990!

By Simon Mont, Legal Intern

On February 11, staff and volunteers of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) gathered to see just how much fun we could have engaging with IRS Form 990—a required filing for nonprofits. Below are 7 things we've learned about the 990, particularly for worker self-directed nonprofits. Read on!

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NEW REPORT RELEASED: How to equitably regulate Airbnb-style short-term rentals

San_Francisco_featured_image_SELC.pngIf you live in a fairly populous city, or you like to travel off the beaten path, you've probably heard of Airbnb-style short-term rentals (STRs). Residential housing that is rented for short periods of time, STRs were once a niche way to travel, but are now available for rent all over the world. 

The evolution of STRs is a success story for the many STR platforms that broker transactions between STR hosts and guests, but for cities and communities dealing with the adverse social and economic impacts of the activity, STRs pose a unique new challenge. 

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Resilient Communities Legal Cafe advises 500th Changemaker!

Our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe has been running since 2013, and last month, we served our 500th client! That means we’ve currently provided legal support for over 500 cooperatives, cottage food businesses, nonprofits, urban farms, social enterprises, and individuals working to build just and resilient economies. 

The People of Color Sustainable Housing Network came to a recent Legal Cafe, and shared their thoughts on the Cafe and their consultation:

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Resilient Economy Lawyers Need Community Too

By Cameron Rhudy, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Staff Attorney

 

As a resilient economy lawyer, I focus on my community. I use legal tools to support the local production of food, energy, housing, and jobs in an effort to strengthen the local economy. And I help clients navigate the roadblocks local enterprises face when raising capital from the community. But just as my clients need a community of support to succeed, I as their lawyer also need a community of support - a community of other lawyers.

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Berkeley Votes to Boost Co-op Economy In the Face of Gentrification

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 of Yes! Magazine covers the passing of a co-op resolution in Berkeley, CA which requires the city to create an ordinance that supports worker owned cooperatives. Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Policy Director, Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, is quoted extensively about how worker cooperatives benefit cities and communities.

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4 Updates from the Seed Sharing Movement

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Cat Johnson of Shareable outlines four new developments in the seed sharing movement, including the introduction of legislation protecting seed sharing in California. 

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Janelle Orsi interviewed on the Laura Flanders Show

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SELC's Executive Director, Janelle Orsi, was interviewed on The Laura Flanders show, which will air on LinkTV Friday, 2/26/16, at 9:00pm in CA. The episode "Pirates, Hackers, and the Sharing Economy." 

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Seed Libraries Featured in The Journal Gazette

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Rosa Salter Rodriguez highlighted seed libraries and our advocacy work on behalf of seed libraries for The Journal Gazette in Indiana.

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Community Development and the Commons

By Chris Tittle, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Director of Organizational Resilience

Last August, 200 people from across Oakland, California came together to envision and design a development plan for a small parcel of public land. For months leading up to that day, community members and neighborhood coalitions had been organizing against a controversial - and possibly illegal - plan to develop a luxury high-rise apartment complex on land owned by the City of Oakland, in a neighborhood where 75% of residents are low or very-low income and 75% are renters. Having succeeded in pressuring the City to back out of the initially proposed deal with UrbanCore Development through creative direct action and sophisticated community organizing, organizers with the E12th St Coalition wanted to create a visionary community-driven alternative - and the E12th WishList People’s Planning Forum was convened. On a sunny Sunday afternoon near Oakland’s Lake Merritt, hundreds of people shared their visions for what could be done with this public land - and not a single person envisioned a market-rate housing complex on that site.

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