Group sues Tennessee officials over new auctioneer law

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A free market think-tank is suing Tennessee officials over a new law that requires online auctioneers to be licensed but exempts some big auction websites like eBay.

Representing two online auctioneer groups and the Interstate Auction Association, the Beacon Center of Tennessee sued members of the Tennessee Auctioneer Commission this week in Nashville federal court. The law takes effect Monday.

The lawsuit contends it’s a free speech case, saying auctioneering is entirely speech and people don’t forfeit free speech rights because their speech is an occupation. It also contends the law violates the Commerce Clause.

Lawmakers passed the change without any “no” votes on the House or Senate floor.

A spokesman for the state Department of Commerce and Insurance, which includes the auctioneer commission, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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