Remember “he wants you to a pay a litter tax (on your) newspaper?”

Dean Simrell isn’t a huge fan of Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, talks to the press in April in Olympia about the Columbia River Crossing project.

But when Simrell, who lives in the 17th Legislative District, received Benton’s newsletter in the mail he thought maybe the senator had accomplished something that would help him.

“I was looking through this thing, it’s talking about fighting for our environment and is a brochure basically about what a great person Don Benton is,” Simrell said, when he noticed it said, “in big letters: my veteran driver’s license bill becomes law.”

Simrell, 77, is a veteran and had just renewed his driver’s license in August. He called the DMV to see about getting this new designation.

The measure, Senate Bill 5775, allows veterans to get a special designation on their license so they don’t have to pull out their Department of Defense discharge papers to prove their status.


Sounded like a good idea to Simrell. But what the newsletter doesn’t say is the law doesn’t take effect until 2017.

“He’s leading anyone to read this to believe they can go and it get it done now and well you can’t,” Simrell said.

“If I went in (to the DMV) with getting that in mind, sat in there and waited, sometimes they are busy, you can wait for an hour … Well, that would make you a little upset,” Simrell said.

And hey, maybe Simrell will change his mind about Benton, because the senator agreed.

“Upon further review, Senator Benton agrees that the section is unclear. He will include clarifications in his upcoming print and digital communications. He apologizes for any inconvenience caused by this miscommunication,” Matt Hunter, his legislative assistant, wrote in an email.

No, Simrell said, his opinion still stands.

“He can’t change it, he’s already put it in there,” he said.

But while Benton is being responsive, Simrell has a list of other items he would like to talk to the senator about.

Remember “he wants you to pay a litter tax for (on your) newspaper?”  Simrell said.


Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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