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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 for the latest breaking news and developments.
Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published May 13, 2019

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

• 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, 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.