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Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Steve Bousquet

Steve Bousquet is the Tampa Bay Times' Tallahassee bureau chief. He joined the Times in 2001 after 17 years at the Miami Herald, where he held a variety of positions including Tallahassee bureau chief, and he previously was a reporter at TV stations in Miami and Providence, R.I. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Rhode Island and a master's in history from Florida State University.

Bousquet was a contributor to two editions of The Almanac of Florida Politics and to The Miami Herald Report: Democracy Held Hostage, an account of the 2000 presidential recount in Florida.

Phone: (850) 224-7263

Email: sbousquet@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SteveBousquet

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  1. In Tallahassee, Republican family feud grinds legislative session to a halt

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Republicans in the Florida Legislature have met the enemy, and it is them.

    They can't agree on using federal money for people with no health care and as a result, budget negotiations are in disarray in a year with a $1 billion surplus. Unable to resolve their differences after months of refusing to compromise, Republican lawmakers will end the regular session next Friday without completing the one task they are required to do: passing a state budget....

    Traffic blurs by Florida's historic Old Capitol building with the new Capitol building in the background. Inside, Republicans in the Florida Legislature  can't agree on using federal money for people with no health care and as a result, budget negotiations are in disarray in a year with a $1 billion surplus. Unable to resolve their differences after months of refusing to compromise, Republican lawmakers will end the regular session next Friday without completing the one task they are required to complete: passing a state budget. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  2. Senate passes abortion waiting period, sends bill to Gov. Scott

    Blog

    After the most emotionally-charged debate of the session, the Florida Senate on Friday passed a requirement for a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can undergo an abortion. The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it.

    The vote was 26-13, as every Republican voted for it and every Democrat present voted against it. Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, was excused Friday to attend a funeral....

  3. Not a threat, a promise: Senate won't confirm Scott agency heads

    Blog

    Senate President Andy Gardiner says he has no plans to confirm a dozen of Gov. Rick Scott's agency heads before the May 1 end of the regular legislative session.

    The Orlando Republican said two weeks ago he wouldn't play political games with Scott's agency heads, and he reiterated Thursday that he isn't. If they aren't confirmed, Scott can reappoint them within 45 days. If they're not confirmed in the 2016 session, they'll lose their jobs....

  4. Gov. Rick Scott, state officials use Canadian firm to attract jobs to Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the state hired a Canadian company to persuade Pennsylvania companies to bring jobs to Florida, contradicting the "Think Florida" policy at the state's economic development agency.

    Scott's 36-hour jaunt to Philadelphia in February cost more than $43,000. Taxpayers paid about $10,000 and the rest was paid by private donations to Enterprise Florida Inc., a public-private entity chaired by Scott that promotes economic development....

  5. Gov. Scott and Florida used Canada-based firm to lure Pa. jobs jobs on Pa. trip

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott's two-day job-poaching jaunt to Philadelphia in February ran up a tab of more than $43,000 in public and private money -- and nearly half of it went to a company based in Canada to attract jobs to Florida.

    The cost of the 36-hour trip was shared by Florida taxpayers and private money that's controlled by Enterprise Florida Inc., the public-private partnership that promotes economic development in Florida....

  6. Senator: Gov. Scott's use of 'nuclear option' makes matters worse

    Blog

    Republican senators swapped stories on the Senate floor Wednesday after they held one-on-one meetings with Gov. Rick Scott. Lawmakers said Scott reminded them of his priorities of tax cuts and school spending and threatened to kill their bills and veto their budget items.

    One GOP senator who was not invited to Scott's inner sanctum was Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who has criticized Scott for shifting his position on Medicaid expansion and for Scott's unwillingness to negotiate a resolution to the health care budget stalemate. ...

  7. Gov. Scott says he'll call special session if lawmakers don't act

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott unexpectedly announced Tuesday that if the Legislature can't settle its budget differences before May 1, he plans to call lawmakers into a special session next month and ask the Senate and House to adopt a "continuation budget" to fund critical needs of the state next year at existing levels.

    Scott issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that said: "I believe that a compromise can be reached that allows for a significant tax cut and historic per student education funding, while supporting critical state services if the House and the Senate begin working immediately working on allocations that set aside adequate reserves to wait for the federal government's decision on the LIP (low income pool) amendment."...

  8. Sen. Lee: Gov. Scott, House should avoid 'blood on their hands'

    Blog

    Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, met with Gov. Rick Scott Monday evening and they discussed the health care impasse that will send the 2015 session into overtime.

    Lee called their face to face meeting a productive sign and that "the door has been cracked" on using federal money to expand health care access in Florida. But he did not elaborate and he predicted it would be "the dark days of June" before the Legislature and governor come to a critical health care funding agreement that is the lynchpin of budget negotiations....

  9. Senate sends Scott a message with freeze on nominees

    State Roundup

    In the eighth week of the nine-week legislative session, the Florida Senate has not yet confirmed more than a dozen of Gov. Rick Scott's agency heads. All 13 remain bottled up in the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, which is not set to meet again before the scheduled end of the session May 1.

    Holding up confirmation of the governor's appointees to state agencies, boards and commissions is a time-honored way for senators to express their displeasure with the executive branch, and the Senate GOP's inner circle is displeased with Scott's public opposition to its plan for a modified form of Medicaid expansion....

  10. Bousquet: Sen. Gaetz keeps 'ethics conversation' going in Tallahassee

    State Roundup

    "Ethics in government" might strike some people as an oxymoron. But it's a serious subject, it's back before the Legislature, and ethics watchdogs like what they see.

    Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is the main sponsor of an ethics bill (SB 1372) that passed the Senate Rules Committee on Monday. The bill includes these changes:

    • Every city and county must require that any lobbyist — someone who has paid to influence decisions — register as a lobbyist and pay an annual fee of up to $40. The registration requirement, which already applies to the state's five water management districts, would be extended to similar special districts that oversee hospitals, airports and seaports, expressway authorities and children's services....

    Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is the bill’s main sponsor.
  11. New Mexico is latest state to pass online voter registration law

    Blog

    Add New Mexico to the list of states with a new law that allows voters to register or update their voting information online. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez signed the "paperless registration" bill into law after it passed the state Legislature without a single dissenting vote....

  12. A dozen of Gov. Scott's agency heads remain stuck in Senate

    Blog

    In the eighth week of the nine-week legislative session, the Florida Senate has not yet confirmed a dozen of Gov. Rick Scott's agency heads. All 12 remain bottled up in the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee, which is not scheduled to meet again before the scheduled end of the session May 1.

    Holding up confirmation of the governor's appointees to state agencies, boards and commissions is a time-honored way for senators to express their displeasure with the executive branch, and the Senate GOP's inner circle is displeased with Scott's public opposition to its plan for a modified form of Medicaid expansion....

  13. Lawmakers denounce Florida elections chief a second time

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's elections chief faced open hostility from Senate Republicans for a second time Thursday for opposing a bipartisan bill to allow online voter registration by 2017.

    Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he doesn't have a plan to implement the change. He's worried about having to coordinate with 67 counties while his agency and the state highway safety department are both upgrading their databases — the backbone of the system used to verify voters' identities....

    Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner says adding online registration now would be risky.
  14. Scott's voting chief: 'Forces of evil' could harm online registration

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott's elections chief got roughed up again Thursday in the Senate as he continues to oppose a bipartisan bill for an online system of voter registration by 2017, which already exists in 20 states.

    Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said his agency has no plan to implement the change and he's worried about having to work with 67 county supervisors of election, 67 tax collectors and the state highway safety agency. He raised a flurry of potential problems, including "distractions" from the 2016 presidential election and the "high risk" of computer hacking, cyber-attacks and "the forces of evil" that seek to disrupt Florida elections....

  15. Gov. Rick Scott sues feds over health care money, Medicaid expansion

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday he will sue the federal government for allegedly coercing Florida to expand Medicaid.

    "It is appalling that President (Barack) Obama would cut off federal health care dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into Obamacare," Scott said in a statement.

    The legal maneuver, which comes amid a tense standoff between the House and Senate over Medicaid expansion, was simultaneously lauded and lambasted. It also complicates negotiations over this year's budget....

    “We will fight to protect the health care of Floridians, and their right to be free from federal overreach.”
Gov. Scott