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


Twitter: @SteveBousquet

  1. Pockets of anti-Crist resistance are not hard to find in Broward


    As the Democratic Women's Club of Broward gathered for its monthly meeting Wednesday, a table was filled with leaflets promoting Nan Rich's candidacy for governor, but not a piece of Charlie Crist literature could be seen.

    Long-time club member Joanne Sterner greeted guests as she stood in front of a sign that read "Stand with Nan." Sterner says she's scared by the talk that Crist, a former Republican governor, is the heavy favorite to be the Democratic nominee for governor....

  2. Steve Bousquet: Crist at risk of putting hug with Obama in racial terms

    State Roundup

    A white Florida politician shows support for a black leader and click! Cameras capture the moment with grave consequences for the white politician.

    Partisan politics? Racism? Both?

    The white politician is Charlie Crist, whose 2009 hug of President Barack Obama in Fort Myers cost him dearly with Republicans. "It killed me," he says.

    But the hug that was so troublesome for Crist a few years ago as a Republican is now a badge of honor, a calling card to prove to fellow Democrats his unwavering support for a president with his own popularity issues....

    Charlie Crist says race was a factor in the damage done to his 2010 U.S. Senate campaign by his hug with President Obama.
  3. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch this week in Tallahassee


    It figures to be a very quiet week in Tallahassee because of the Passover and Easter holidays. Here are five things to watch this week:

    • The hills around the capital will be alive Monday with the sound of ... motorcycles. Even though legislators won't be around, motorcyclists by the score will descend on the Capitol Courtyard for their 18th annual Freedom Rights Rally. The event is promoted on ABATE of Florida's website,
    • Lawmakers are out of town, but their full-time professional staff members will be at work all week long in the Capitol. Staff members from the House and Senate appropriations committees will develop documents that compare the two chambers' budgets. The so-called side-by-sides are of invaluable assistance to lawmakers in the session's last two weeks, when all key budget decisions are made.
    • Speaking of the budget, United Faculty of Florida chapter at Florida State University will hold a rally and press conference at noon Wednesday on the front steps of the historic Old Capitol to call attention to the fees that graduate assistants must pay each year at Florida universities.
    • Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, will hold a workshop for residents of Santa Rosa County in an effort to prevent the spread of citrus canker. A horticulturist from the University of Florida will attend the workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Tiger Point Community Center, 1370 Tiger Park Lane, Gulf Breeze.
    • Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist will open his first regional headquarters in Broward County on Saturday. The office is at 320 S. University Dr., Plantation.

  4. In GOP-dominated Legislature, black lawmakers caucus struggles

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — When the last cocktail had been poured and the last guests had floated away from the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators' annual Scholarship Gala last month, thousands of dollars had flowed into the nonprofit foundation, courtesy of five-figure checks from a variety of special interests with stakes in pending legislation.

    How much was raised at the March 21 gala, VIP reception for donors and Scholarship Golf Tournament that weekend? Lawmakers won't say. They don't have to....

  5. Thrasher: Rancourt 'doesn't count' as GOP supporter of Crist


    One of Democrat Charlie Crist's better-known Tallahassee supporters is a Republican: David Rancourt, the former super-lobbyist and co-founder of the Southern Strategy Group lobbying firm, who wrote a $50,000 check to Crist's campaign last November.

    Rancourt and Crist go way back: Both devoted 'Noles, they also were members of the same fraternity at Florida State University (Pi Kappa Alpha) and Rancourt managed Crist's 2000 campaign for education commissioner, his first victorious statewide race. Rancourt is now managing partner of Land South, a Lakeland real estate investment company....

  6. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee


    As the spring days get longer in Florida's capital, the time left in the legislative session gets shorter. Lawmakers have a busy schedule today and here are five things to watch:

    • The House of Representatives' floor session is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with final votes scheduled on bills dealing with abortions, school vouchers and concealed weapons.
    • The Senate schedule is from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and includes final votes on 30 bills, including requiring background checks for certain youth sports coaches and prohibiting businesses from soliciting people by sending text messages if they are on the state's "do not call" list.
    • Motorists could legally drive 75 mph on certain limited access interstate highways under a bill before the House Economic Affairs Committee. The bill (HB 761) is sponsored by Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Fort Myers.
    • The House Judiciary Committee will vote on the proposed Florida Civil Rights Act (HB 105), which bans discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in public places and lodging establishments. The bill's sponsor is Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana.
    • Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, will discuss proposed changes to the "stand your ground" self-defense law at a news conference. His bill (SB 130) is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

  7. Charlie Crist to House Democrats: 'I think we're gonna do it'


    Is Charlie Crist paying too much attention to polls?

    For somebody who expects to face an opponent with $100 million, he didn't sound worried about his chances in the governor's race in a Thursday night stump speech to a small but influential group: the House Democratic caucus.

    "We're almost there. We're almost home," Crist said. "It's going to be good because I think we're gonna do it. And I think they know it."...

  8. 1 million heavy truck owners won't receive full tag-fee reduction


    Another group that won't get the full $25 tag fee reduction are owners of heavy trucks, defined in state law as trucks that weigh more than 5,000 pounds, many of which are used commercially. The state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles says 1,017,756 trucks of that size were registered in the state in March.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed the tag-fee reductions into law on April 2 and touted it as helping Florida families "keep nearly $400 million of their hard-earned money in their own pockets — because it’s their money!” At the bill-signing ceremony last week, Tom Feeney of Associated Industries of Florida hailed the reduction as "a win for Floridians who register their family car and for businesses who register fleets."...

  9. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee


    The controversial issue of pension reform will again take center stage at the Legislature today. Here are five things to watch:


    • Teachers, police, firefighters, prison guards and others will mobilize to oppose two bills that would make major changes to the state pension system. The public employees claim two pending bills (SB 1114 and HB 7173) would create "risky retirement plans" and will testify before the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee and House Appropriations Committee.
    • More and more substantive bills are moving through the budget-writing appropriations committees at this point in the session. The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider two dozen bills, including a package of sales tax breaks and bills dealing with hospital trauma centers and professional sports franchises.
    • State officials, legislators and religious leaders will speak at the Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition and Florida Right to Life 2014 Prayer Breakfast at the Tallahassee's Doubletree Hotel. Speakers include Ralph Reed of the National Faith & Freedom Coalition, a group that supports repeal of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
    • Gov. Rick Scott travels to Pinellas Park to honor Florida veterans at an honor medal ceremony at the Congressman C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center.
    • Today is the next deadline for Scott and other statewide political candidates to report campaign-related contributions and expenditures.


  10. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee


    The Florida House will be a busy place today, as a key Senate panel takes up the session's tax-cut package. Here are five things to watch at the state Capitol:

    • The House has slated a six-hour floor session, with lots of debate likely on bills dealing with abortion restrictions and to allow people without concealed weapons permits to carry guns in emergencies.
    • The Senate Finance & Tax Subcommittee will workshop the House-passed package of tax cuts, without taking a vote. The bill (HB 5601) includes a three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday starting Aug. 1, a 12-day sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness items starting June 1, a four-day sales tax holiday for energy-efficient appliances starting Sept. 19 and a week-long sales tax break on gym memberships starting Sept. 1.
    • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education considers one of the session's most intensely-debated issues: allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to attend colleges and universities at cheaper in-state tuition rates. The bill (SB 1400) is sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and the House version has already cleared that chamber easily.
    • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will take up legislation that would set up guidelines for telemedicine, or allowing doctors to use teleconferencing to provide services. The bill (SB 1646), which has drawn some consumer protection concerns, is sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.
    • It's Hillsborough County Day in Tallahassee, a chance to showcase the county's pride, from Plant City strawberries to the Moffitt Cancer Center to its bustling airport and seaport. 

  11. As session slips away, Florida correctional officers argue for 'equal pay'

    State Roundup

    The 2014 legislative session is at the point when people do whatever they can to call attention to what appear to be lost causes.

    Frustrated state correctional officers, along with Teamsters Union representatives, held a news conference and called on lawmakers Tuesday to raise their pay to levels equal with other state law enforcement officers such as state troopers, FDLE agents and game wardens. That would cost about $30 million, Teamsters say, and it's affordable in a year when the state has a projected $1 billion surplus....

    Lizbeth Benacquisto is running for Congress.
  12. Frustrated state correctional officers seeking pay increase


    The 2014 legislative session is at the point when people do whatever they can to call attention to what appear to be lost causes.

    Frustrated state correctional officers, along with Teamsters Union representatives, held a news conference and called on lawmakers Tuesday to raise their pay to levels equal with other state law enforcement officers such as state troopers, FDLE agents and game wardens. That would cost about $30 million, Teamsters say, and it's affordable in a year when the state has a projected $1 billion surplus....

  13. New Pew report faults Florida voting, but state says problems are fixed


    TALLAHASSEE — A new nonpartisan study says Florida lagged behind other states in its handling of the 2012 election, but Gov. Rick Scott's administration says the problems were cured by changes to voting laws that will be used statewide this fall for the first time.

    The study by Pew Charitable Trusts said states generally did a better job managing the 2012 election than in 2008. The notable exception was Florida, which had the nation's 49th-longest wait times to vote. Average wait times swelled by 16 minutes in Florida and decreased an average of three minutes elsewhere....

    Voters wait in long lines outside a polling place during November's elections on County Line Road in Spring Hill.
  14. Report faults 2012 Florida vote but state says problems are fixed


    A new report by the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts says states generally fared better in 2012 than previously in their handling of elections and voting. But the report singled out Florida as an exception, concluding that wait times for voters increased by 16 minutes, when elsewhere in the U.S., wait times decreased by three minutes.

    Pew's main conclusion: "Florida is neither a high- nor low-performing state, and though its overall EPI (Elections Performance Index) score increased slightly between 2008 and 2012, the boost was less than the average improvement across the country. Florida was held back to a large degree by dramatic spikes in average wait time to vote and rejected registrations."...

  15. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee


    Today marks the 36th day of the 60-day legislative session, so the Capitol's clock is starting to become a factor. Here are five things to watch:

    • A bill to limit abortions will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon. The bill (SB 918) by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, cites evolving medical advancements and would ban abortions in cases where a fetus can survive outside the womb unless the procedure would threaten the mother's health.
    • The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee takes up a bill (HB 227) that would make it easier for a victim of wrongful incarceration to be compensated. The bill, by Rep. Dave Kerner, D-Lake Worth, would benefit James Richardson, who spent 21.5 years in prison for the murder of his daughter, but after his release was denied money because he was unable to prove actual innocence, even though a hearing officer in his case found there was not enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • For the fourth straight week, a Senate committee will consider legislation by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, to allow people to carry guns during emergencies such as a hurricane even if they don't have a concealed weapons permit. The controversial bill (SB 296) is an NRA priority but Brandes has postponed a committee vote for three straight weeks in the same committee -- usually a sign of trouble.
    • Corrections officers will demand wage parity with law enforcement officers at one of several press events aimed to call attention to issues not on the Legislature's radar. Prison guards say that with a projected budget surplus of more than $1 billion, lawmakers should close the salary gap between officers who work in prisons and cops on the street. Their legislative champion is Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker.
    • A contentious bill to improve transparency on the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (SB 772) will be debated in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.