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Daystarter: Officers see challenges in the new texting-while-driving ban; power outage prompts 43-minute delay at Trop; are most Americans overpaying for health care?

Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published May 13

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• We'll have a good chance of showers and thunderstorms today throughout the Tampa Bay area, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.

• It costs money to produce quality journalism. Please support the Tampa Bay Times by buying a digital subscription to Florida's best newspaper and its redesigned website tampabay.com.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.

• A common thread in cops stories of distracted motorists is the increase in texting while driving — a problem so sweeping it's rare to drive without seeing someone doing it. In Florida, texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning an officer would have to see a driver break another law — say, speeding — before issuing a citation for it. But this year, state lawmakers passed a bill making texting while driving a primary offense, and agencies in the Tampa Bay area are gearing up to enforce it.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is now the star cop in Florida politics. Who is he, and how did he get there? The spotlight has followed him through immigration, stand-your-ground and Parkland.

• Recently, a 757-pound swordfish was wrestled into a boat off the Florida Keys after an eight-hour battle. When the story of the record-breaking catch went public, many wondered about the ethics of pursuing a fish for hours on end.

• The difference between Medicare and private coverage rates matters substantially for the approximately 156 million Americans under age 65 who get insurance through work-sponsored health plans, researchers said. For them, higher hospital prices aren't an abstraction. Those charges ultimately translate to individuals paying more for medical services or monthly premiums.

• A sinking boat attracts rapt attention. The 48-foot derelict boat, with holes cut into its hold, will add a habitat and hidey-hole for sea life from bait fish to lunkers and green turtles on the flat, sand-based Gulf floor, Fulford said. He represents the project's lead agency, the Hernando Beach Port Authority.

• The shift to storms and sweat happens every year, of course, and leaves residents with the ominous knowledge that summer is coming (and it'll stick around through November). How will you remember cool weather? Send thoughts and photos to Kristen Hare at epilogue@tampabay.com, and we'll share them on Instagram @werememberthem.

• Plant City school Terrie Campbell bus driver for her students over the last 21 years was honored for being a mom to hundreds. The Plant City High School band joined hundreds of students, staff and Good Morning America to surprise Campbell as the show's Mother's Day "Breakfast in Bed" winner.

A state inspection of the Clearwater Airpark found several security issues, most notably a lack of security at a number of gates along the perimeter. "We use old-fashioned keys, and the keys haven't been changed in a long time," There are many keys out there that we can't account for; they're not lost, but given to somebody else." Ed Chesney, the city's Marine and Aviation director.

• The Florida Legislature has finished the 2019 session. But what exactly did lawmakers do? The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau has coverage of all the fallout coverage from the state capital at the The Buzz.

President Donald Trump blamed Democratic lawmakers for standing in the way of hurricane disaster money for northwest Florida. "Getting ready to leave for one of my favorite places, the Florida Panhandle, where we've given, and are giving, billions of $$$ for the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael. Even though the Dems are totally in our way (they don't want money to go there) we're getting it done!" Trump tweeted May 8.

• At last week's Hillsborough County Commission meeting, commissioners decided to increase development fees for the first time in 30 years — by 90 percent. With a growing number of fixes on its to-do list, a county commission now dominated by Democrats is ready to put every option on the table.

• Sheriff's documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times reveal new details about the bizarre shooting that unfolded at the Publix at 2121 Collier Parkway. It was one of several recent incidents in which guns were inadvertently fired in public across the bay area, including an instance where a construction worker fatally shot a coworker in Riverview.

• The Tampa Bay area is a hot spot for hepatitis A infections, which are on the rise across Florida. But only a handful of cases are from food service workers. Here's what you need to know about the infection and how it might affect you.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

• Check out the Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

• The Times online Arts and Entertainment page tells you everything you need to know about what to do, see, eat and experience around town.

• Check out the Times photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals.

• Read the Tampa Bay Times online Sports page with the latest news about the Lightning, Bucs, Rays, Bulls, Gators, Noles and high school sports. Times sportswriter Rick Stroud has the latest reaction and analysis from the whole team via our Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast.

• The Rays have started this season strong, but can they keep it up? Rays beat writer Marc Topkin will be there every step of the way. Follow him at @TBTimes_Rays.

• The Rays' home game against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field was delayed 43 minutes after the dome's lights went out in the top of the ninth inning. The Rays dropped their rubber match with the Yankees 7-1, allowing the Yankees to leave town trailing Tampa Bay by just a half-game for the AL East lead.

• Get the latest Bucs news as coach Bruce Arians gets ready for the 2019 season and follow Rick Stroud at @NFLSTROUD on Twitter and fellow beat writer Eduardo A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard.

• The Lightning face a long, painful offseason. Follow beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello at @faiello_mari to see how Tampa Bay puts the pieces back together.

• Alex Killorn brings consistency to the ice, but his $4.5 million contract creates questions about his future in Tampa Bay.

• All the Bulls news you can use is right here from Times beat writer Joey Knight. Follow him on Twitter for the latest at @TBTimes_Bulls.

• Bucs lineman Donovan Smith's nephew, Aiden, has nonverbal autism. His journey inspires Smith to help raise awareness with events like Monday's bowling event for Austism Speaks. "If (Donovan's) upset because he had a bad game, Aiden can speak to Donovan on the (device)," Smith's brother and Aiden's father, Dwayne Thomas said. "He's there smiling and they start talking and you get that smile out of Donovan. He's a great kid. He's just full of life."

• Get the latest on the Gators and Seminoles this spring from Times college football beat writer Matt Baker and follow him on Twitter at @MBakerTBTimes.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
    The shooting happened on the 5100 block of Matanzas Avenue, police said.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
    Charges in the incident are pending, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  3. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.
  4. Jessica Stoneking, Seven Springs Elementary School art teacher, and a group of kindergarten children enjoy a colorful floor rug during instruction time.  The rug is one of the many flexible seating options art students have in Stoneking's class. Gail Diederich
  5. President Donald Trump listens to music by military musicians during a State Dinner in the Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP
    Allies of Joe Biden, the early front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, seized on the developments to portray him as the candidate Trump least wants to face next fall.
  6. Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil says religious leaders must be empathetic to the needs of families members of those who die by suicide. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Attitudes have evolved with understanding about mental illness
  7. Rabbi Reb Tuviah (Paul Schreiber) is rarely seen without his guitar. He will sing at the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at Temple Beth David in Spring Hill. Paul Schreiber
  8. Joshua Michael Nichols, 21, was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday in connection to the early morning shooting death of an unidentified man during an argument outside a Spring Hill home. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    One person is in custody. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
  9. Yesterday• Pasco
    Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, received his third “Paul Harris Award.” the highest recognition from the Rotary Club, on Aug. 15. The pin was presented to Dr. Musunuru, a nationally-recognized cardiologist, by Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins in recognition of his humanitarian and philanthropic services to the people of Pasco County and the State of Florida for nearly 40 years. Pictured: Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, (left) and Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins. Jemith Rosa/Hudson Rotary Club
    News and notes about your neighbors
  10. A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy walks around the Old Skool Sports Bar and Grill, the scene of a shooting early in the morning, north of Lancaster, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  Lancaster County Sherriff's Office said in a statement that the agency was investigating a fatal shooting that also injured several people.  (Jessica Holdman/The Post And Courier via AP) JESSICA HOLDMAN  |  AP
    Two adult males were shot and killed.
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