Rep. Hutchings Speaks at UNITE Interfaith Conference in Pakistan

Rep. Hutchings Speaks at UNITE Interfaith Conference in Pakistan

Representative Eric Hutchings, co-chair of the Utah International Relations and Trade Commission, spoke on “The Quest for Peaceful Interfaith Co-existence” at the Universal Nexus for Interfaith Trust and Engagement (UNITE) conference in Islamabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Nov. 24. 
UNITE believes that religious minorities in Pakistan need to be better protected from the violence that is so often occurs in that country, and that their rights and safety should be ensured.  
The head of UNITE, Mufti Abu Huraira Mohiuddin, believes that the best way to do this is through the teaching of patience and tolerance to the youth in Pakistan. This organization is meant to provide dialogue among representatives of different faiths which will lead to solutions for religious harmony, respect and greater security within the country.
“I believe the role we can play as states, in moving forward meaningful dialogue and relations with entities in other nations, is important in creating increased understanding among many different peoples throughout the world,” explained Hutchings. “The bridges we build through these relationships can lead to greater cooperation, tolerance and ultimately to peace. My grandfather, Theron Hutchings, traveled to Pakistan at the request of the federal government in 1957 to assist in training the people on best practices in soil management, and Utah was one of the first responders to Pakistan when they experienced catastrophic flooding in 2010. I firmly believe that we should seek out opportunities to build on past dialogue and cooperation, with an eye toward greater safety and stability for all of us.”
Rep. Norm Thurston, Utah House of Representatives host naturalization ceremony held at capitol

Rep. Norm Thurston, Utah House of Representatives host naturalization ceremony held at capitol


One hundred twelve people from more than 40 countries became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Utah State Capital earlier this week.

The event, hosted by Rep. Norm Thurston and the Utah House of Representatives, was the first to be held at the Capitol in recent memory.

“I hope this establishes a new tradition for the House of Representatives. I was so pleased to participate in such a special day and to host this ceremony in the People’s House,” said Rep. Thurston.  “I understand the sacrifices many here have made in order to become part of the fabric of our society. I welcome them as equal partners in democracy.”


Lynn Hemingway sworn in as newest House member

Lynn Hemingway sworn in as newest House member

Rep. Lynn Hemingway has been sworn in by House Speaker Greg Hughes as the newest member of the Utah House of Representatives.

Hemingway was chosen by Democratic delegates to replace Rep. Justin Miller, who resigned last month, and was officially appointed by Governor Gary Herbert last week. He will represent House District 40.

Rep. Hemingway previously served in the Utah House as a representative of the same district from 2006 until his retirement in 2014.

Draper Elementary Students Meet Chinese Peers online

Draper Elementary Students Meet Chinese Peers online

Draper Elementary fifth-graders learning Mandarin Chinese made some new friends across the globe when they joined with their English-studying Chinese peers in a bilingual video conference exchange earlier this week.

The fifth-graders, part of Draper Elementary’s Mandarin Chinese Dual-Language Immersion program, conversed with students at their newly designated Chinese sister school, Shenyang Wanghulu Primary School in China’s Liaoning Province, from the school’s media center. Earlier this year, Draper Elementary was selected by China’s Education Ministry and the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah to house “Confucius Classrooms.”

Draper Elementary Chinese immersion students communicate with their peers in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China, as area Legislators watch.

Draper Elementary Chinese immersion students communicate with their peers in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.


Legislators and school officials observe the video conference.

Utah legislators and Canyons School District  officials observe the bilingual video conference.

The unique event was the result of a recent trade mission by Legislative leaders to Liaoning Province, where Utah has enjoyed a 10-year relationship with its Chinese counterpart.

“Liaoning is one of the most interesting, productive provinces in China. We’re privileged to have such a close relationship with Liaoning and excited to extend that to Utah’s schoolchildren,” said Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, who attended Monday’s event. “I believe the new friendships between Utah students and Shenyang students will last a lifetime, and bear results for generations.”

Another event attendee, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, noted, “China has, in recent years, emerged as an economic powerhouse and has strongly signaled that it has no intentions of relinquishing this new role. Utah’s Chinese dual-immersion programs place our students ahead of the curve by providing them with valuable skills that will allow them greater opportunity in the challenging and changing world they are inheriting.”

Legislative leaders plan to facilitate future teleconferences between Utah Dual-Language Immersion students and their cohorts abroad.

Additional photos of the event can be seen at:

Assembly of State Legislatures’ Meeting in SLC

Assembly of State Legislatures’ Meeting in SLC

ASL Utah House ChamberLast week the Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) met in Salt Lake City in order to continue working to establish procedural rules to hold a state-led convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

While Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes states to call a convention, it has never before been done.

Over 80 legislators, representing 29 states and both political parties, came together to continue the process that has been ongoing since December 2013, when the group first met at Mount Vernon in Virginia. ASL is not considering or endorsing any specific constitutional amendments, but is ocused only on establishing the rules for a convention, if the states choose to call one at some point in the future.

During three days of meetings at the Utah Statehouse, participating lawmakers debated and amended portions of a working draft to address all facets of the rules needed to hold such a convention.

The updated working draft will be posted at, as will the date and location of the next ASL meeting when determined.