Florida: 5 Things To Know For March 27

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

SENATE PASSES STUDENT DATA PRIVACY BILL

School districts in Florida will no longer be able to collect certain types of student data under a bill passed by the Florida Senate on Wednesday. It came in the wake of complaints about the state’s move to Common Core State Standards.

REPORT RANKS ST. JOHNS AS FLORIDA’S HEALTHIEST COUNTY

A report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks St. Johns as the state’s healthiest county. Union County in the Panhandle is listed as the state’s least healthy county. The report was released on Wednesday.

CHARGE AGAINST JUDGE DROPPED; SHE WILL RETIRE

A central Florida judge accused of approving false time sheets has given up her position in exchange for prosecutors dropping a criminal charge against her. Circuit Judge Beth Harlan sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday announcing her retirement. Prosecutors then filed a court document in her criminal case saying the charge was dropped. Prosecutors had charged her with aiding or abetting grand theft, a third-degree felony.

NEW RIDE SET TO DEBUT AT BUSCH GARDENS

Thrill seekers take note. A new attraction at Busch Gardens in Tampa will whisk riders to the top of a 335-foot tower and then plunge in a six-second fall. The riders will be seated upright on the way up and the seat will pivot 90 degrees so guests are looking straight down before the fall. Falcon’s Fury is set to open May 1.

CARNIVAL SHIP PICKS UP MIGRANTS

A cruise ship came to the rescue of 41 Cuban migrants on an overloaded vessel that was taking on water in the Florida Straits. The Coast Guard says the Carnival Ecstasy spotted the vessel on Tuesday evening and crewmembers pulled the 41 migrants to safety. They’ll likely be returned to Cuba under the so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy.

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