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News at noon: Tampa airport to allow non-fliers to try its airside cuisine; things to know about the texting while driving ban headed to Ron DeSantis' desk; and more

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Tampa airport to allow non-fliers to try its airside cuisine

When Tampa International Airport brought in 70 new restaurants, bars, shops and spas as part of its billion-dollar makeover, it went looking for distinctive local brands: Mise en Place, Goody Goody, RumFish Grill, Ducky's. But soon after those places opened, the airport began hearing from bay area residents that they couldn't because the restaurants were at the airsides behind Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. So on Tuesday airport officials announced a new "all access" program to allow a limited number of non-travelers to go to the airsides on Saturdays.

Things to know about the texting while driving ban headed to DeSantis' desk

A bill that would make texting while driving a primary offense has reached its last hurdle, but what does that actually mean for motorists in Florida? On Monday, the Florida House voted 108-7 to approve a bill that would allow officers to ticket people just for texting while driving. Now, it's headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval. As it stands today, texting while driving is illegal, but it's a secondary offense. If the measure is signed into law, Florida will join 43 states that already make texting while driving a primary offense if the bill is signed into law.

Cross-Bay Ferry wraps up its season today, but looks to return in a big way

For the last time this season, the Cross-Bay Ferry sets sail between Tampa and St. Petersburg on Tuesday, boasting a substantial ridership increase from its pilot season in 2017. Any plans to make the ferry a year-long, permanent attraction won't start until 2022 at the earliest. But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman hopes to secure money from local governments to keep the seasonal route in place until then. That means after today people will have to wait until Nov. 1 to take the ferry across Tampa Bay again, providing Kriseman's efforts are successful.

Sanctuary cities' debate not over in Florida, and time is running out

After hours and hours of excruciatingly emotional debate last week and over the past few months, a set of bills that would ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in Florida passed off the floor in both chambers. But after the House passed its version of the bill and sent it to the Senate, the Senate chose to take up its own version which has been tossed back to the House. What is left is a set of very different bills, amendments that even further deepen the divide between the two and a House Speaker who says he is not amenable to taking up the Senate version.

Will the Bucs be the haunted or the haunters?

The NFL Draft ended last Saturday and we're still wondering who won. The winners and losers won't emerge for a while, maybe even years. But, wouldn't you know it, the Bucs and their top five draft picks, all on defense, led by Devin White, might be a test case. I can't say the Bucs will be haunted by other teams' draft picks, Times sports columnist Martin Fennelly writes, but it doesn't feel like they're going to be the haunters, either.

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