HB 2481

84(R) - 2015
House Licensing & Administrative Procedures
House Licensing & Administrative Procedures
Licensing & Administrative Procedures

Vote Recommendation

  • Positive
  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


Wayne Smith

Bill Caption

Relating to the licensing and regulation of auctioneers and associate auctioneers; amending provisions subject to a criminal penalty; requiring an occupational license; requiring a fee.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal impact to the State or local governments is expected. Based on the analysis of the Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Department of Motor Vehicles, duties and responsibilities associated with implementing the provisions of the bill could be accomplished by utilizing existing resources.

Bill Analysis

5/21/2015 update:

This bill is has been substantively updated since we reported on it in its original chamber. However, the changes made to this bill do not alter our recommendation.

The Senate sponsor is Sen. Eltife.

First chamber analysis is below:

HB 2481 seeks to make a few substantive changes to Chapter 1802, concerning auctioneers, of the Occupations Code.

The definition of an "auctioneer" under this chapter is changed to any individual who sells or offers to sell property of another person by live bid at auction, with or without receiving consideration. The definition of "personal property" under this chapter is changed to mean any property other than real property.

The name of the board is renamed to the Auctioneer Advisory Board. Appointed Board members would not be prevented from receiving reimbursement for expenses. The Auctioneer Advisory Board will no longer be required to hold quarterly meetings and shall meet at the call of the presiding officer of the commission or the executive director.

HB 2481 would allow the commission to, by rule, adopt standards for advertisement of an auction by an individual licensed under this chapter. The bill repeals a provision requiring that an auctioneer's name and license number be provided on an advertisement. 

HB 2481 recreates a license for "associate auctioneers". "Associate auctioneers" are defined as an individual who is a paid employee under the direct supervision of a licensed auctioneer to sell or offer to sell property at an auction. A person must hold this associate auctioneer license to act as an auctioneer. To be eligible for an associate auctioneer license, a person must be a U.S. citizen or legal alien and employed under the direct supervision of an auctioneer licensed under this chapter.

A person would not be required to hold an associate auctioneer license until March 1, 2016. An individual previously licensed as an associate auctioneer on or before June 14, 2013 may count their previous work experience as an associate auctioneer toward the new eligibility requirements. 

Under HB 2481 an individual may show proof of employment by a licensed auctioneer for at least two years and participation in at least 10 auctions during that time instead of taking and passing a written or oral exam to receive an auctioneer license. For those taking the licensing exam, this bill removes the requirement that the director furnish relevant materials as well as removes the deadline by which the applicant must take the licensing exam.

HB 2481 amends the Occupations Code to exempt the following transactions from statutory provisions regulating auctioneers: a sale of motor vehicles at auction by a person licensed under statutory provisions relating to the sale or lease of motor vehicles or relating to a salvage vehicle dealer, a sale of motor vehicles at auction by a person who holds a wholesale motor vehicle auction general distinguishing number or an independent motor vehicle general distinguishing number issued by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, and an auction of property through the Internet.

The bill removes from that exemption a sale conducted by any person of the person's property if the person is not engaged in the business of selling property at auction on a recurring basis and revises the exemption for a sale or auction conducted outside of Texas to specify that the exemption applies to a sale or auction conducted by an auctioneer while the auctioneer is physically located outside of Texas.

Vote Recommendation Notes

In 2013 the legislature passed a new law adding excessive new occupational licensing regulations to auctioneers. That legislation also did away with the associate auctioneer license which, while we generally disapprove of occupational licensing, provided a way for a person to become an auctioneer that took into account relevant work experience and was less arduous than the alternative method of licensing. By taking that option away, the 83rd Legislature made it more difficult for people to become a licensed auctioneer. 

The 2013 legislation also brought internet auctions under the occupational license requirement, which effectively outlawed eBay in Texas.

HB 2481 would roll back much of the overregulation that was passed last legislative session by removing auctioneer license requirements from a number of people and activities that are currently fall under the auctioneer licensure regime. and would provide legal protection for Internet auctions, essentially legalizing eBay in Texas. This supports free markets and individual liberty.

Occupational licensing creates barriers to entry in a person's chosen profession and protects entrenched business interests against unwanted competition from new entrants into the market place. This abridges free market, individual liberty, and limited government principles. To the extent that this legislation rolls back some of the occupational licensure requirements that currently exist, HB 2481 supports those principles. This bill would also support property rights by allowing people to auction their own property online through a third party out of state vendor without a license. For these reasons we support HB 2481.

While the legislature is taking up the subject of occupational licensing for auctioneers, members may wish to consider taking the legislation a step further and doing away with this licensure requirement altogether.