Kate Masters

Kate Masters

Kate grew up in Northern Virginia before moving to the Midwest, earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She spent a year covering gun violence and public health for The Trace in Boston before joining The Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Md. Before joining the Mercury in 2020, she covered state and county politics for the Bethesda Beat in Montgomery County, Md. She was named Virginia's outstanding young journalist for 2021 by the Virginia Press Association.

Lawmakers pivot to ‘lab schools’ as Senate committee kills charter legislation

By: - February 11, 2022

Republican hopes of adding more charter schools in Virginia were squashed within 10 minutes on Thursday as Democrats in the Senate Education and Health committee quickly killed a pair of bills aimed at making it easier to start them. Now, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s campaign pledge to foster school choice largely rests in laboratory schools — […]

Virginia Senate votes to give parents final say over sexually explicit classroom materials

By: - February 9, 2022

The Virginia Senate passed a bill that would require local school districts to adopt policies informing parents of any sexually explicit content used in class — and provide alternative materials on request.  Sens. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, and Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, joined Republicans Wednesday in supporting the legislation, which is all but certain to sail through […]

For the 18th straight year, House and Senate panels reject nursing home staffing mandates

By: - February 9, 2022

It wasn’t the first time lawmakers had rejected a push for minimum staffing requirements in Virginia nursing homes. But Tuesday’s vote by a House panel to kill legislation aimed at raising workforce standards was particularly frustrating for advocates amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has contributed to more than 4,700 deaths within the state’s long-term […]

House and Senate panels reject push to insure undocumented children in Virginia

By: - February 8, 2022

A push to expand state health insurance to undocumented children in Virginia ended Tuesday after House and Senate panels blocked bills aimed at adding to the state’s coverage. The legislation, filed by Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, and Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax, would have directed the state’s Medicaid program to develop an insurance option for Virginians […]

Senate committee rejects attempt to regulate hospital-owned insurance plans

By: - February 8, 2022

For the fourth time in as many years, a Senate committee killed legislation aimed at resolving a feud between two Hampton Roads hospital systems. The debate, though, extends beyond the region to all vertically integrated health carriers — a term for hospitals that own their own insurance plans. This year’s bill, sponsored by Sen. Chap […]

In push for school choice, Youngkin’s hope may lie in a lesser-known option

By: - February 7, 2022

Late last week, Gov. Glenn Youngkin gathered more than two dozen leaders from Virginia colleges and universities to tout an educational initiative that’s largely faded from the state’s lexicon.  The governor was urging General Assembly lawmakers to support his push for “lab schools” — partnerships, he said, between institutions of higher learning and K-12 school […]

The Youngkin administration is denying FOIA requests on the governor’s education orders

By: - February 4, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigned on a platform of involving parents in public education, signing an executive order to root out “divisive concepts” in school curriculum that he’s described as troubling to families across Virginia.  But over the last week, both the governor’s office and Virginia Department of Education have been denying or delaying public records […]

Virginia House passes legislation to reverse admissions changes at elite governor’s schools

By: - February 2, 2022

The Virginia House of Delegates narrowly approved a bill aimed at reversing admissions changes at some of the state’s prestigious governor’s schools. The legislation, which passed the chamber Wednesday in a 50-48 party-line vote, would forbid any of the elite public schools — some frequently listed among the best high schools in the country —from […]

Youngkin requests exemption to federal vaccine mandate for health care workers

By: - January 31, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is requesting an exemption to a federal rule requiring many health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In a Monday letter, co-signed with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, Youngkin asked the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services for a “limited waiver” that would give Virginia hospitals more flexibility when it […]

Senate committee scraps legislation aimed at controlling prescription drug costs

By: - January 31, 2022

Citing a lack of support, Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, withdrew legislation on Monday aimed at controlling prescription drug prices in Virginia. A Senate committee unanimously supported Petersen’s request to carry the bill over to next year’s session. The legislation would have created a Prescription Drug Affordability Board with the authority to review sudden price increases […]

‘We don’t need a study’: Health officials can’t offer evidence to support Youngkin’s mask order

By: - January 28, 2022

A day after Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order giving students the ability to opt out of school masking policies, Dr. Colin Greene, the newly appointed state health commissioner, addressed the directive in an email to local health district directors. “I suspect there are those who find this rule hard to hear,” he wrote, […]

Senate committee rejects bill aimed at explicit materials in schools

By: - January 27, 2022

Democrats in the Senate Education and Health Committee narrowly voted down a bill aimed at controversial instructional materials in public schools — a political flashpoint that’s roiled local school boards and became a key issue in the Virginia governor’s race.  The legislation, which died Thursday in an 8-7 party-line vote, isn’t the only bill this […]