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Gov. John Bel Edwards addresses the possibility that some of the state's residents might not get the COVID-19 vaccination because of political loyalties, as he speaks at a press conference updating COVID-19 restrictions, Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at the State Capitol.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said pay raises for K-12 teachers, increased funding for higher education and new rules for sexual misconduct on college campuses are among his top priorities going into the legislative session starting April 12. 

Edwards' previously announced plan to boost teacher pay by $400 per year has been met with mixed reaction, with some teachers' group calling it a "slap in the face." The proposal also includes $200 raises for support staff. 

In a press release outlining his priorities Thursday, Edwards said those pay raises could be bumped up further if the the state's Revenue Estimating Conference increases its budget forecast in the coming weeks. 

The governor's $36 billion spending plan also includes an $80 million increase in funding for public colleges. That would include pay raises for faculty, a boost to the Go Grant program that provides financial aid for needy students and more money for the TOPS college program. 

Amid a widening probe into sexual misconduct allegations at LSU, Edwards also threw his weight behind House Bill 409 from Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, which would add teeth to the requirements that employees of colleges and universities report misconduct and abuse allegations, creating a chain of accountability all the way to the board that oversees the school.

Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater