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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. Surprise, surprise: Atwater's office knew FDLE chief was doomed

    Blog

    Florida Cabinet members have said they were blindsided by Gov. Rick Scott's decision to oust former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey on Dec. 16. "(It) caught a lot of us by surprise," Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater told Capitol reporters last month.

    Really? It wasn't a complete surprise to Atwater, whose office began lobbying for a top aide to get the FDLE job before the ink was dry on Bailey's letter of "departure" (he refused to use the word resignation)....

  2. High-level changes in Insurance Commissioner McCarty's shop

    Blog

    With Gov. Rick Scott trying to push state insurance regulator Kevin McCarty out the door, several high-level staff changes are afoot at McCarty's Office of Insurance Regulation. But a knowledgeable source says the personnel moves have been in the works for a long time and are unrelated to the turmoil swirling around McCarty's job status and those of other Cabinet agency heads.

    McCarty's chief of staff, Rebecca Matthews, will leave at the end of next week to be the executive director of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, and Richard Koon, deputy commissioner of property and casualty insurance, is also leaving for a private sector post....

  3. Gov. Scott faces big hurdles to push his legislative agenda

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE

    On the night he won re-election in November, a beaming Gov. Rick Scott bolted on stage to rowdy chants of "Four more years!" Dismissed by pollsters as a likely loser, Scott clawed his way to victory, using his personal fortune to pay for a pounding barrage of TV ads that doomed rival Charlie Crist. Near midnight, a giddiness filled the ballroom of the Hyatt in Bonita Springs as a relieved Scott declared an end to a long, brutal campaign....

  4. Putnam's staff wrote hard-hitting opinion piece on Bailey fiasco

    Blog

    At the height of the outcry over the forced ouster of an FDLE commissioner by Gov. Rick Scott's office, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was poised to go public with a strongly-worded denunciation of the Gerald Bailey fiasco, including a reference to "key actions" made in secret that deny Floridians the constitutional right of access.

    The words, under Putnam's byline, are in the form of a draft opinion piece for newspaper editorial pages that was never submitted....

    A copy of draft op-ed by Putnam's staff on the "breakdown in the Cabinet process" in the FDLE controversy.
  5. Gov. Rick Scott faces concern from fellow Republicans over 'tax increase' to fund schools

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — In touting his plan for record school spending, Gov. Rick Scott is ignoring a fact that concerns some of his fellow Republicans: He wants property taxpayers to pay more.

    Scott's $77 billion budget, awaiting review by the Legislature, includes $842 million more for public schools, raising per pupil spending to its highest level.

    More than half of the increase would come from higher property taxes paid by homeowners and business owners as a result of growth in property values....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives his State of the State address to a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
  6. Scott's 'record' school budget includes tax hike, Republicans say

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott doesn't talk about how his "record" budget for schools requires the state to collect more taxes from Floridians. But some of his fellow Republicans say it's true.

    Scott's $77 billion budget proposal now before the Legislature includes $842 million more for schools, bringing per pupil spending to its highest level. But nearly half of Scott's increase would come from higher property taxes paid by homeowners and businesses due to growth in property values....

  7. Florida news outlets suing Gov. Rick Scott want emergency order protecting public records

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida news outlets and First Amendment advocates want a judge to order Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members to safeguard all relevant materials in an open meetings lawsuit, even their aides' cellphone text messages.

    The media outlets' emergency motion, filed in state court Monday, focuses squarely on Scott's controversial record in maintaining public records. They cited the mass deletions of emails by Scott's transition team in the hectic weeks that preceded his taking office in January 2011 and a policy by Scott's office that allows employees to subjectively destroy records they consider "transitory" and not subject to the state public records law. ...

  8. Bousquet: Gov. Rick Scott cuts state losses in long voting fight

    Legislature

    Gov. Rick Scott doesn't like to lose.

    But he lost an important court case dealing with voting rights and last week he decided to cut his losses, along with those of Florida taxpayers who have footed the bill for more than 2 ½ years.

    Scott dropped his appeal of a federal court order that said the state's efforts to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens during the 2012 presidential campaign violated a federal law that prohibits "systematic" removals less than 90 days before a federal election. And he issued a statement that signaled a new willingness to work with county elections supervisors, who opposed the purge....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott has dropped his appeal of a federal court order that said the state’s efforts to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens during the 2012 presidential campaign violated a federal law that prohibits “systematic” removals less than 90 days before a federal election.
  9. Media outlets ask court to protect relevant materials in FDLE suit

    Blog

    Florida news outlets asked a state judge Monday to issue an emergency "preservation order" to compel Gov. Rick Scott and all three Cabinet members to protect and preserve any materials that may be relevant to their lawsuit alleging a Sunshine Law violation in the ouster of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

    Attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen filed a 10-page emergency motion with Circuit Judge George Reynolds in Tallahassee that covers virtually all forms of what's known in legal circles as ESI, or electronically stored communication, including text messages on a smart phone....

  10. ICYMI: National Review Online on Gov. Scott's 'bunker mentality'

    Blog

    Allies of Gov. Rick Scott are abandoning him left and right. Mostly right. The conservative National Review excoriates Scott for his decision, announced last week, to end the state's appeal of a long-running lawsuit over the Scott administration's problem-plagued efforts to rid the Florida voter rolls of suspected noncitizens.

    In a National Review Online piece headlined "Not Great Scott," writer John Fund saves the best for last, as Scott's handling of the botched dismissal of FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and the subsequent damage control are now drawing criticism from national publications. Fund writes of Scott: "His allies find his behavior inexplicable, his critics are emboldened, and he is increasingly retreating into a bunker mentality." The NRO piece is here....

  11. Gov. Scott won't appeal rejection of his voter purge program

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that his administration won't appeal a federal court ruling that the state illegally tried to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens too close to the 2012 presidential election.

    The announcement was a victory for the League of Women Voters and other voter advocacy organizations that accused Scott of seeking to disenfranchise minority voters who likely were inclined to support President Barack Obama. ...

  12. Gov. Scott won't appeal federal court's ban on voter purge efforts

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that his administration won't appeal a federal court ruling that the state illegally tried to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens too close to the 2012 presidential election.

    Scott's decision is a major victory for the League of Women Voters and other voter advocacy groups that accused him of seeking to disenfranchise minority voters who were inclined to support President Barack Obama....

  13. 'This means war': Pa. paper mocks Gov. Scott's job-poaching trip

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott's upcoming job-poaching trip to frigid Philadelphia is attracting attention up there, but perhaps not the kind Scott and his messengers would like. The state capital paper in Harrisburg, The Patriot-News, has good-naturedly declared "war" on Scott, calling him Florida's "carpetbagger-in-chief" in an editorial that urges readers to write angry letters to him.

    "Tell him that for every Pennsylvania job he poaches, we're taking at least one Disney character back to Pennsylvania," the Patriot-News warns. (Can you picture Goofy in Scranton?)...

  14. Latvala blasts Scott aide on sports money: 'You punted on this'

    Blog

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, has criticized Gov. Rick Scott's administration, saying officials are not complying with a 2014 law that requires the Department of Economic Opportunity to evaluate and rank applications for highly-sought sports stadium grants.

    It was the Senate's turn to join this legislative brawl Wednesday. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, took DEO Secretary Jesse Panuccio to the woodshed at a meeting of his Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. At issue was a bill Latvala sponsored last year (SB 1216) that set up a mechanism for competing sports stadiums to be ranked when they apply for a limited pot of money for stadium improvements. Panuccio defended DEO's legal interpretation of the law, which was that DEO was not required to rank applications filed between March 2013 and July 2014, and that lawyered-up explanation did not appease Latvala....

  15. Petitions urging FDLE probe given to state, federal prosecutors

    Blog

    Petitions signed by more than 10,000 people were delivered Wednesday to the Tallahassee offices of State Attorney Willie Meggs and U.S. Attorney Patricia Marsh. The petitions, collected by Progress Florida, a liberal public advocacy group based in St. Petersburg, ask for investigations into Gov. Rick Scott's forced ouster two months ago of Gerald Bailey as the state's top law enforcement official....

    Damien Filer of Progress Florida with a booklet listing more than 10,000 names of people calling for an investigation of FDLE chief Gerald Bailey's ouster.