PolitiHacks Digest – 13 May 2013 – Can we turn a successful White House petition on cellphone unlocking into an actual law?

These folks want your support:


  1. #iMarch—Fix immigration for startups on May 22 with Brad Feld; now’s the time
  2. FixTheDMCA—New cellphone unlocking bill introduced, getting ready to move forward, and we need your help; join YC, reddit, EFF, and others.

Got a cause you want to share? Tell me.

Reading List—Theme: Immigration Reform


  1. White House: Champions of Change, Immigrant Entrepreneurs—The deadline closed on Sunday, but the White House put out a call for founder stories to tell. PolitiHacks is also collecting stories to support startup visa.
  2. TheHill: [Rep. Darrell] Issa tapped for leading role in immigration reform—Issa was a friend to startups on SOPA, and he supports startup visa
  3. Government Printing Office: Amendment immigration bill—Some tweaks to our sections, but nothing major

One for the road: Tim B. Lee of ArsTech writes about an announced major review of the copyright system. Likely, similar to the plans to make harsher the penalties for the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Rep. Bob Goodlatte plans to push for stronger copyright protections. We can and should do better.

Political issues affecting startups: 


Cellphone Unlocking: The politics of gridlock
We’ve now got a fourth bill introduced on cell phone unlocking. The previous three had positives and negatives towards actually solving the problem. This latest bill is attracting alot of praise as being the best of the bunch.

The politics are more complicated. This latest bill has more support from Democratic Representatives than Republicans and is already being perceived on the Hill as being the Democratic response to the Chairman’s bill. Worst case, these two bills gain just enough traction as their two parties’ positions to prevent the other from becoming law.

That would be a win for the status quo and a loss for us.


Hundreds of amendments on immigration reform
Here’s the go-to on tracking the progress Congress is making through the many amendments. Every Tuesday and Thursday, more will be processed.

The most important is the first one, which made a major set of tweaks to the bill, called the Sponsor’s Amendment. The two I’m most interested in haven’t been introduced yet, but are titled Whitehouse1 and 2, after its sponsor. These provisions expand the startup visa to include more potential sources of funding, and PolitiHacks warmly supports them..


Zuck-funded FWD.us loses donors
TechCrunch’s Greg Ferenstein apparently gave up on FWD.us recently after initial praise. Donors Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla) and David Sacks (Yammer) both withdrew their support from the group recently.

Startups’ criticism seems primarily split along unhappiness over the locked-down secrecy element and Spolsky’s tag of “cynical and crooked” politics on the one hand, and agreement with liberals in disliking the support of dirty energy.

(Full disclosure: PolitiHacks is consulting with FWD.us)


Startup Visa: Numbers check—will it work for you?
Not in the US, within three years of applying:
  • $100k in funding OR
  • $250k in annual revenue
  • Infinite renewal if within the three year length of the visa:
    • $250k in funding ANDOR
    • $250k in annual revenue
In the US for at least two years and within three years, resulting in a green card:
  • $500k in funding OR
  • $750k in annual revenue

Especially for bootstrappers: email me your story to test edge cases.


DC Night Owls and Rep. Polis: Organizers, want to host your Congresscritter?

PolitiHacks worked with DC Nightowls to host Rep. Jared Polis last month to talk about his background as an entrepreneur with a $1B+ exit during the first bubble.

If you’re an organizer who wants to teach your congressional Represenative or Senator what startups do in your local community, PolitiHacks can walk you through the process.

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