Utah Legislature returns for 2014 session

This Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 photo shows representatives on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Utah lawmakers return to the state Capitol on Monday for their annual legislative session.

The Republican controlled-legislature has to pass a balanced budget and address about 500 bills that lawmakers are already working on.

One of the top issues for 2014 is expected to be air quality.

A bipartisan group of legislators planning more than a dozen bills to address Utah’s smog, and thousands of protesters descended on the Capitol over the weekend to demand action from state officials.

Legislators are also expected to address gay marriage, tobacco use and campaign laws, in addition to perennial issues such as alcohol and guns.

The whirlwind, 45-day session ends March 13.

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Posted in Local