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STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

BAKER FAVORS CURRENT POLICIES ON IN-STATE TUITION

Commenting on the revival of a debate about in-state tuition rights in the Commonwealth, Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated his position on Wednesday that students legally able to work in Massachusetts should have access to public higher education. “Our position for quite some time has been that if you can work here in the Commonwealth, upon graduation, then we believe you should be allowed to access taxpayer supported higher education because it helps to improve your skills and your capabilities and that’s good for everybody. But that’s pretty much as far as we go on this,” Baker said after attending a community development block grant press conference at the State House. Baker’s comments came after a Joint Committee on Higher Education hearing immigration advocates, students and educators testified for several hours in support of bills that would expand in-state tuition to all undocumented students looking to attend colleges. Former Gov. Deval Patrick signed an executive order in 2012 making clear that certain undocumented children who have been granted “deferred” status allowing them to work in Massachusetts under President Barack Obama’s new federal immigration policy qualify for in-state tuition under university policy. Baker said he supports that executive order, but any expansion would “depend on the details.” The governor said he hopes the issues surrounding immigration will be solved on the federal level because “that’s really where this needs to get fixed.” – Antonio Caban/SHNS

WALSH TO PUSH PRIORITIES AT VATICAN CITY CONFERENCE

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and other urban leaders plan to visit Vatican City this month to attend a conference where they’ll call on the United Nations to consider human trafficking a “crime against humanity” and to adopt sustainable development goals that reflect climate change. Walsh’s office early Wednesday afternoon announced his plans to leave Boston Sunday, July 19 and return on Thursday, July 23 after attending a Pontifical Academy of Sciences conference. While there, Walsh plans to attend a reception with the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Ken Hackett. The trip to Rome gives Walsh a high-profile platform to make his case on issues he’s made priorities early on in his mayoralty. According to City Hall, Walsh and ten other mayors launched an effort in February targeting men who solicit sex from women on the streets or online. Walsh has also outlined an action plan featuring steps the city can take address causes of climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while preparing for its impacts. – Michael Norton/SHNS

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