Happening today:

10 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins LG Driscoll, Economic Development Secretary Hao, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Tepper, Reps. Whipps and Blais, Undersecretary Ashley Stolba, Sen. Comerford, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, and local elected officials for Greenfield Community Farm visit | Just Roots/Greenfield Community Farm, 34 Glenbrook Dr, Greenfield

10 a.m. | Gambling expands as the Mass. Gaming Commission allows mobile sports betting companies to begin accepting wagers. The mobile betting operators expected to launch Friday are Barstool Sportsbook (Penn Sports Interactive), BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and WynnBET.

11 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins LG Driscoll, Secretary Hao, Secretary Tepper, Undersecretary Stolba, Sen. Comerford, Rep. Blais, and local elected officials for a Williams Farm Sugar House tour and "rural communities announcement" | Williams Farm Sugar House, 491 Greenfield Rd, Deerfield

12:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins LG Driscoll and cabinet members at Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce outlook event, which organizers call "the premier legislative and economic forecasting event of the year." Congressman Neal and Doug Howgate of Mass. Taxpayers Foundation are also scheduled to speak | MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St, Springfield. | MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield

12:30 | Mayor Wu gives remarks at the 47th Annual South Boston Boys & Girls Club St. Patrick's Day Luncheon | Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, 450 Summer St, Seaport

Text message inboxes, streaming platforms and Facebook pages are the latest frontier for pestering political ads.

The trend toward online campaigning that took center stage in the 2016 presidential election is a growing focus for national races. Democrats spent 75% of their advertising budget on Facebook advertising and the 2022 midterms saw campaigns turn to the uncharted frontier of streaming platforms in an attempt to meet voters.  

It’s become a tactic in state races as well.  

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spent nearly $1.5 million on Facebook ads last year — 11 times her 2018 spend.

But it’s a trend from which Massachusetts voters have been largely spared so far — at least when it comes to local races, campaign finance data and political consultants say. 

Bay State candidates are keeping to tried and true old school methods. Phone banks, snail mail, fundraising events and door knocking still reign supreme, says Democratic strategist Gregory Maynard.

Maynard, of consulting firm Maynard Strategies, chalks the lack of online ad spending in Massachusetts politics to strict campaign finance laws limiting donations and barring business contributions, little competition and low voter turnout. 

Gov. Maura Healey ran virtually unopposed last year. Municipal elections typically see voter turnout in the 20% range, he added.

Attleboro’s special mayoral election spurred a four-way race but less than $1,000 total in digital ad spending, according to to Meta’s political ad library, tracking spending on Facebook, YouTube and Google.

City Councilor Cathleen DeSimone, who came out on top, spent less than $100 on Facebook. Acting Mayor Jay DiLisio, who lost by less than 400 votes spent $885.

The two other candidates stayed offline with their ads completely. 

The candidates running in Salem’s special election to replace now-Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll are more familiar with advertising online. All five have spent at least some on online ads ranging from $500 to around $2,000.

A preliminary election on March 28 will cut the field to two candidates so online ads could come into play ahead of the May election.

Feeling lucky: Mobile sports betting launches in Mass.

Mobile sports betting goes live in Massachusetts on Friday at 10 a.m.

Massachusetts now joins a majority of U.S. states in allowing people to wager on sports games from their phones. And Boston-based DraftKings, one of the largest companies in the mobile gambling market, is preparing for big business. But ads are already under scrutiny.

WBUR | CBS Boston

Nowhere fast: MBTA imposes slow zones on all T lines

MBTA officials announced late Thursday night they would immediately impose speed restrictions across all four subway lines “out of an abundance of caution” following a Department of Public Utilities site visit, an unprecedented step that will cause immediate disruptions for riders.

State House News | Commonwealth Magazine

Biden offers ‘downpayment’ for Cape bridge replacements

Massachusetts elected officials who for years have been seeking federal funding to help replace the aging bridges across the Cape Cod Canal got a major ally Thursday: President Joe Biden.

Biden’s fiscal year 2024 national budget proposal calls for directing $350 million toward replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, and the White House said that “initial” investment would represent part of “a commitment of $600 million.”

State House News

Eviction: Bay State College owes landlord over $700K

A for-profit college in Boston is facing eviction. As of Feb. 1, court documents show that Bay State College owed an alleged $725,122.96 in unpaid rent and fees to its landlord, OMV Park Square, for its use of the second floor of a Back Bay high-rise. The college has disputed the amount and said it’s working toward a settlement.


Mass. gets first climate chief

Gov. Maura Healey’s new climate chief, Melissa Hoffer, is taking on a role that is not only a first in Massachusetts but in the country as well: a Cabinet-level post with a mandate to do nothing less than reshape the state government to focus on climate.

The Boston Globe

Low ridership the new norm on MBTA

The MBTA will have to dip further into its reserves to balance its fiscal year 2024 budget, to account for a significant dip in ridership that agency leadership says will likely never recover to anywhere near pre-pandemic levels.

Boston Herald

Holden is latest town to resist state mandate for housing zoning 

Officials in Holden are indicating the town will join the list of cities and towns to resist complying with a new state law requiring land near MBTA stations be zoned for high-density housing. The Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton reports the town is one of four–along with Middleborough, Berkeley and Marshfield–still considered out of compliance. 

Telegram & Gazette

Sullivan will seek third term as mayor of Brockton 

Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan will run for a third term this November, saying he wants to continue his work to redevelop the city’s downtown, Chris Helms of the Enterprise reports.No other candidate has yet to step forward to challenge Sullivan, who won 70 percent of the vote in 2021 and has $70,000 stashed in his campaign war chest.

Brockton Enterprise

His time to shine: Markey’s crusade against clock-changing continues 

As the clocks spring forward once again this weekend, Dan Diamond of the Washington Post updates the efforts of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey to move the country to daylight saving time permanently.  Markey has earned the nickname “Sun King” for his efforts on the topic, which includes authoring two bills that extended daylight saving time but admits the prospect of a permanent shift are dim in the current Congress.

Washington Post

Weekend political and policy talk shows

Keller@Large | 8:30 a.m. Sunday | WBZ-TV | Political analyst Jon Keller interviews Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll where they’ll be discussing rent control, how the administration plans to pursue affordable-housing-friendly zoning, proposed capital-gains and estate tax cuts, and concerns about sports betting fueling addiction.

On The Record | 11 a.m. Sunday | WCVB-TV | Boston’s Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, Segun Idowu, is the guest on WCVB’s On The Record this Sunday. Topics will include the ongoing controversy in the North End over outdoor dining regulations, expanding business diversity in the Seaport, the impact of the MBTA’s troubles on Boston business, and the post-pandemic landscape for commerce in the city. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Rob Gray join the roundtable discussion.

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MASSterList editor Erin Tiernan is an award-winning reporter who brings a decade's worth of experience covering state and local politics from the halls of the State House to city streets. Her work can be found in The Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, MassLive and Wicked Local. She was the New England Newspaper and Press Association's 2019 Reporter of the Year.