RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Republican Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell says he’s blocking the appointments of three recently resigned Democratic state lawmakers who took new jobs in state government. Howell’s office announced Monday that the speaker won’t allow the House of Delegates to confirm the appointments by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe until he’s given guidance by federal prosecutors on whether they are legal. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Howell said he was motivated to seek guidance because of the federal probe into former Democratic Sen. Phil Puckett. A possible job offer to Puckett by the GOP-controlled Virginia tobacco commission at the time of his resignation is the subject of an FBI investigation. The appointees are former Delegates Algie Howell and Bob Brink and Sen. Henry Marsh.