Rep. Laird leaves Democrats to be independent

One of the veteran Democrats in the Alabama House has announced he's becoming an independent.{} Representative Richard Laird of Roanoke officially made the announcement Monday.{} He says he will meet with the Republican caucus in the House, even though he's not joining the Houses' majority party.{} Laird says today is much different than it was when he was first elected to the House back in 1978 and that his party has lost its conservative core.{} Republican House Speaker, Mike Hubbard, said he has been encouraging Laird to leave the Democratic Party and is happy to have him caucus with House Republicans. Laird joins Senator Harri Anne Smith of Slocomb as the only independents in the Legislature.{}