A look back at some of the biggest small business stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.

Senate approves online sales tax measure

The U.S. Senate last week approved legislation that would empower states to start charging sales tax on online purchases. Some small

One year later, the JOBS Act isn’t living up to some of its grand promises. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

business owners have argued the bill levels the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores, while critics warn it creates administrative nightwares for small merchants who sell across state lines.

Canada beckons foreign entrepreneursnewspaper delivery drones

On Monday, Canada will launch its start-up visa program to encourage more foreign-born entrepreneurs to come start businesses in the country. Meanwhile, similar legislation remains stuck in the U.S. Congress.

Silicon Valley finds new ally in immigration campaign

Not always concerned with the same issues in Washington, traditional small businesses and technology start-ups suddenly find themselves united in pursuit of immigration reform, according to a new poll.

Broker/dealers hedge bets on crowdfunding

A number of broker/dealers are already capitalizing on the emerging popularity of crowdfunding, attempting to team up with platforms that draw both entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Private companies enjoying higher margins

U.S. private firms reported an average net profit margin over the past six months of 7.6 percent, much higher than the 4.6 percent margins they sustained during the same period one year ago, according to a new study.

JOBS Act falling short

Nearing its one-year anniversary, the JOBS Act has not yet lived up to its promise of improving access to capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses, nor has it created the nearly as many jobs as expected.

Consumer spending jumps higher

A steadily improving job market apparently outweighed recent tax increases for shoppers in February, as consumer spending rose 0.7 percent, the Commerce Department reported on Friday.

Atlanta businesses preparing for Final Four madness

Atlanta’s Convention & Visitors Bureau expects the final rounds of the tournament to bring 100,000 visitors and inject $70 million into the local economy — and small business owners are ready to capi­tal­ize.

OSB business of the week: Parrot: The wireless devices company is working with a small French town to begin delivering mail and newspapers via tiny, automated carrier drones.

What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.

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