One of the veteran Democrats in the Alabama House, Rep. Richard Laird of Roanoke, has announced he's becoming an independent.
Laird said Monday the Democratic Party today is much different than it was when he was first elected to the House in 1978. He said the party has lost its conservative core.
Laird said he will meet with the Republican caucus in the House, even though he's not joining the House's majority party.
Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard said he had been encouraging Laird to leave the Democratic Party and is happy to have him caucus with House Republicans.
Laird joins Sen. Harri Anne Smith of Slocomb as the only independents in the Legislature.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.