Longest-serving Va. Lawmaker, Putney, To Retire

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The longest-serving legislator in Virginia history, 84-year-old Del. Lacey Putney of Bedford, is retiring after 52 sessions in the Virginia General Assembly.

Putney, a conservative independent who began his tenure in the House as a Democrat in 1962, announced his decision to retire in a statement Wednesday night.

He was diagnosed last year with throat cancer and missed several days of the 2013 legislative session because of illness. There's no mention of health concerns in his 350-word statement.

Putney's final day on the House floor is likely to be April 3, a one-day reconvened session to consider gubernatorial amendments and vetoes.

But Putney's role as chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee will keep him involved through December.