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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


Twitter: @SteveBousquet

  1. Gov. Rick Scott, Cabinet okay national searches for two agency heads

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The bosses of two of the state's biggest agencies got new job titles Tuesday that they didn't expect: "interim."

    Commissioner Rick Swearingen of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Secretary Jon Steverson of the Department of Environmental Protection will keep their $150,000-a-year jobs for now. But they have to fight to keep them, because they are the first state officials affected by new personnel rules that require a nationwide search when a vacancy arises at the helm of a state agency that reports to Gov. Rick Scott and the three elected Cabinet members....

    Secretary Jon Steverson of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, will keep his job for now, but a nationwide job application process has begun. 
  2. Senate snub prompts Gov. Rick Scott to reappoint 16 agency heads

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott acted swiftly Monday to reappoint the heads of 16 state agencies who slipped into political limbo when the Senate refused to confirm them in the 2015 legislative session.

    The group includes heads of major agencies that oversee health care, Medicaid, transportation, prisons, elections and the environment, as well as the executive director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement....

    Florida Governor Rick Scott addresses a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, March 3, 2015 during his State of the State address. [SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES]
  3. Scott reappoints FDLE, DEP chiefs, who also need Cabinet's OK


    Gov. Rick Scott on Monday reappointed two state agency heads on an interim basis, subject to ratification by the Cabinet at Tuesday's meeting. Scott reappointed FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen and Jon Steverson, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. Neither agency head was confirmed by the Senate in the regular session that adjourned on Friday.

    In his statement announcing the interim reappointments, Scott noted that the newlyt-adopted Cabinet governance guidelines allow for him to name interim appointees subject to Cabinet approval at the next regular Cabinet meeting or at an emergency meeting. By coincidence, Scott and the Cabinet meet Tuesday. Ironically, the governance guidelines Scott cited were inspired by the controversy over the forced retirement of Swearingen's predecessor, who was ousted from his job at FDLE in December....

  4. Fasano raises doomsday scenario of no state budget by July 1


    Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano on Monday raised the possibility of a fiscal doomsday -- the start of a new fiscal year on July 1 with no budget in place. Legislative leaders have said they won't let that happen, but the House and Senate are locked in a bitter stalemate and it appears at the moment that a budget would not be completed until June.   ...

  5. Gov. Scott reappoints 14 agency heads, with two others in limbo


    Gov. Rick Scott on Monday reappointed the heads of 14 state agencies after the Senate adjourned sine die without confirming any of them, and the status of two others was not immediately clear.

    Scott's office issued a statement announcing the reappointments of state technology officer Jason Allison; surgeon general John Armstrong; transportation secretary James Boxold; children and families secretary Mike Carroll; juvenile justice secretary Christy Daly; AHCA secretary Liz Dudek; Secretary of State Ken Detzner; corrections secretary Julie Jones; business and professional regulation secretary Ken Lawson; lottery secretary Cynthia O'Connell; director Barbara Palmer of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities; employment opportunity secretary Jesse Panuccio; management services director Barbara Palmer; and elder affairs secretary Samuel Verghese....

  6. Capitol meltdown leaves Gov. Rick Scott's agenda in shambles

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As the 2015 legislative session stumbled to a close Friday, Gov. Rick Scott's agenda lay in shambles, another victim of the Capitol's worst political breakdown in decades.

    Fellow Republicans who control the Legislature failed to pass a budget, so Scott's call for more money for schools remains unfulfilled. He did not get $673 million in tax cuts he wanted, a freeze on graduate school tuition, repeal of the sales tax on college textbooks or a permanent end to the sales tax on manufacturing equipment....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks with reporters Wednesday morning in front of the Orlando Eye, the city’s new 400-foot observation wheel.
  7. Sharply divided Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott can't agree on next step


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and a bitterly divided Legislature darted in four different directions Thursday as Scott called for budget talks, senators suggested a special session in June, the House did not favor either idea and Democrats sued the House.

    As Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, proposed a three-week session starting June 1 to craft a state budget, Senate Democrats marched to the Florida Supreme Court with an emergency petition that asks justices to rule on whether the House violated the state Constitution by adjourning Tuesday afternoon. Senators say it's unconstitutional for one chamber to shut down for more than 72 hours without the other's consent....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants the Legislature to resume budget talks. 
  8. Gov. Scott says he'll work 'immediately' with Legislature on budget


    Gov. Rick Scott has not been visible this week as the legislative session collapsed amid round after round of insults and threats of a lawsuit between his fellow Republicans. Scott's Thursday schedule showed "no scheduled events" and Scott's press office did not respond to two requests to identify where he is.

    But Scott's office issued this news release in which Scott said he will begin working immediately with the Senate and House on a budget that will continue "critical programs." Scott's statement does say that any conversation on changes to health care policy should involve "thoughtful debate" -- which is what the Florida Senate has been seeking from the House for weeks....

  9. Scott gets commission plan going

    State Roundup

    As the 2015 legislative session melted down on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott moved forward with his proposed Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding.

    Scott suggested the idea earlier this month, when he said he would readily call a special session to resolve outstanding budget issues.

    "A thoughtful analysis of how taxpayer money supports Florida hospitals, insurance and health care providers will guide us in a special session and aid in the development of the (Fiscal Year) 2016-17 budget," he said in a statement. "This analysis will also help us prepare for the loss of (Low Income Pool) funding if the federal government decides to decline our amendment request before October."...

  10. Senate accuses House of violating Constitution, demands return to session Friday

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Legislature's chaotic session hit a new dysfunctional low Wednesday as an irate Senate demanded that House leaders bring lawmakers back to work or risk violating the state Constitution.

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, who had sent members home a day earlier, showed no signs of backing down. With increased vitriol on both sides, it appeared less likely than ever the House and Senate could come together for critical budget talks. ...

    The Florida House chamber was empty on Wednesday except for a group of pages who were given a history lesson of the House. Senate leadership said on Wednesday that the House was violating the state Constitution by adjourning early, as it did on Tuesday.
  11. 'Not as good' PSC reforms headed to Gov. Scott after Senate vote


    The Senate Wednesday passed and sent to Gov. Rick Scott a bill that seeks to reform the Public Service Commission that regulates Florida's biggest utilities. The 40-0 vote followed an impassioned speech by the bill's sponsor, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who accused the House of bowing to lobbying pressure from Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility. ...

  12. Online voter registration bill heads to Scott after Senate approval


    The Florida Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a bill requiring the state to create an online voter registration application by October 2017. The vote was 37-3. Senators agreed with a House amendment that requires the online portal to comply with state cybersecurity provisions and that it be tested before it's implemented.

    Gov. Rick Scott can sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. Scott's chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, spent much of the session trying to kill the legislation, saying he did not have a plan for its implementation and that it's a "high risk" undertaking. Detzner's persistent opposition played a role in the Senate's decision not to confirm his appointment as a state agency head....

  13. 'So long, Sarge': Senate honors Don Severance on retirement


    With lots of time on their hands and few bills to consider on the final day, members of the Florida Senate took nearly an hour Wednesday to honor their long-time sergeant at arms, Don Severance, who's retiring after nearly four decades.

    The sergeant at arms oversees Senate security and helps members with logistical, family and health issues. It may not be in the job description, but "Sarge" also knows the personal preferences of every senator, from what kind of bourbon they like to their favorite vacation spots. More than once, a sergeant has extricated a senator from a troublesome or potentially compromising situation.  ...

    Florida Senate sergeant at arms Don Severance is hugged, Wednesday, 4/29/15 on the floor of the Senate by Senator Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, as Severance was honored for his 39 years of service, 16 as sergeant.
  14. Cracks in Crisafulli's House: Pilon 'surprised, very disappointed'


    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli has spoken frequently this session about his commitment to a members-first style of leadership. But rank and file House members say Crisafulli didn't forewarn them that he was about to shut down the House on Tuesday. As a result, they realize they look like lemmings in a top-down driven House, and they're turning on him.

    "We were given no notice ahead of time. No indication it was coming. We figured maybe it was the next day, or the following day," said Rep. Ray Pilon, a blindsided Sarasota Republican who saw a few of his bills fall victim to the shutdown. "I was very surprised and very disappointed that it was handled that way."...

  15. Senate warns that intervention by Gov. Scott would be 'paternalistic'


    The sudden shutdown of the Florida House that derailed the 2015 session Tuesday makes it even more difficult for the Legislature's presiding officers to agree on the framework for a special session. The ugliness between House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner won't easily subside, and Gov. Rick Scott has already said he would consider calling a special session if the Legislature's leaders can't pull it off....