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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. Pinellas elections chief balks at request for additional early voting site in St. Petersburg

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The pastors of two predominantly black churches in St. Petersburg demanded an additional site for early voting Friday in what they called an issue of civil rights, but the county said its existing plan is fair to all voters.

    Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, who aggressively urges voters to vote by mail, said she will not add any additional sites and defended her voting setup as "solid" and fair to all voters in the county....

    The Rev. Louis Murphy is joined by the Rev. Manuel Sykes, right, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and others Friday. 
  2. Black pastors want new early voting site in St. Pete; Pinellas says no, and says existing plan is good for 'all voters'

    Blog

    The pastors of two predominantly black churches in St. Petersburg called for an additional early voting site in South St. Pete Friday, and were joined by Mayor Rick Kriseman in what one pastor called an issue of "civil rights."

    Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark heard their concerns but she held firm on her existing plan for five early voting sites, calling it "solid" and in the best interests of all county voters....

  3. Black pastors want new early voting site in St. Pete; Pinellas says no, and says existing plan is good for 'all voters'

    Blog

    The pastors of two predominantly black churches in St. Petersburg called for an additional early voting site in South St. Pete Friday, and were joined by Mayor Rick Kriseman in what one pastor called an issue of "civil rights."

    Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark heard their concerns but she held firm on her existing plan for five early voting sites, calling it "solid" and in the best interests of all county voters....

  4. A fortunate few in Florida regain voting rights weeks before 2016 election

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — It took 30 years, but Gilberto Hernandez of Miami finally feels like an American citizen again.

    He can vote.

    Hernandez was one of the few fortunate ones Wednesday as Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet sat in judgment of four dozen people seeking to regain their civil rights, decades after they ran afoul of the law and weeks before what could be the most important election of their lifetimes....

    Clockwise from top left: Richard Bennetti, David Money, Gilberto Hernandez and Learlean Rahming sought to have their civil rights restored Wednesday. Bennetti, Money and Hernandez succeeded; Rahming did not.
  5. For a few, the right to vote is restored -- but in time for Nov. 8?

    Blog

    It took Gilberto Hernandez three decades to regain the right to vote. But he did it.

    The 64-year-old Miami man was one of the lucky ones Wednesday as Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members, meeting as the Board of Clemency, considered requests from four dozen people to restore their civil rights, just a few weeks before what may be the most important election of their lives....

    Gilberto Hernandez, 64, of Miami after his voting rights were restored in Tallahassee on Wednesday.
  6. With support from feds, Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet agree to release mob informer

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In a unique and sensational case, Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Wednesday ended the long prison sentence of a robber-turned-mob informer whose testimony, prosecutors say, helped break up the Gambino crime family in Florida and New York.

    The four Republican statewide elected officials commuted the sentence of Kevin Bonner, who is serving a 24-year sentence at an undisclosed prison and is in the federal witness protection program....

    U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, made an extraordinary request of Florida's Cabinet and Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday: to put Kevin Bonner, a convicted member of the Gambino and Gotti crime families, on probation, with five years left on his 24-year prison sentence. Gov. Rick Scott and the three Cabinet members agreed.  [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
  7. More than 10% of Florida voters already awaiting mail ballots

    Blog

    More than one of every 10 Florida voters are already awaiting their mail ballots for the November election.

    Daily figures posted Tuesday on the state Division of Elections website show that 1,306,253 voters have standing requests for mail ballots. The figure is actually much higher because 26 counties have not yet forwarded their standing requests to the state. They include Miami-Dade, the state's most populous county, and three other big counties: Lake, Polk and Seminole....

  8. Bondi breaks silence, does not regret taking Trump's $25,000

    Blog

    Attorney General Pam Bondi on Tuesday morning broke her silence on the political mess surrounding her office and a $25,000 political contribution she accepted from Donald Trump for her 2014 re-election bid.

    Bondi appeared on the defensive as she confronted reporters in her first public appearance since the Trump story made national headlines two weeks ago. Her comments came at a last-minute press conference that turned testy with reporters digging in on questions about whether she is fit to do the job of the state's top legal officer. ...

  9. Pam Bondi breaks silence, defends handling of Trump University issue

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Embattled Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi broke a long silence Tuesday and defended taking a $25,000 campaign check from Donald Trump while her staff reviewed a complaint about Trump University, a focus of lawsuits in two other states alleging fraud.

    At a sometimes testy press conference at the state Capitol, Bondi said she had no regrets about taking Trump's money because her office had no active investigation when she sought the donation in August 2013....

    “I would never, ever trade any campaign donation — that’s absurd — for some type of favor to anyone,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said.    
  10. Governor, Cabinet to consider FDLE counter-terrorism plan

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Tuesday will consider the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's request for new laws and more agents from the 2017 Legislature to fight terrorism at the state level. The request, coming three months after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando in which 48 bar patrons were killed, is expected to win support from the four statewide officials.

    "Our current threat environment has seen a vast expansion and evolution of terrorist-related threats in recent years," an FDLE staff report says....

  11. Atwater 'disappointed' as state fire lab suffers new setback

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has failed a second time to regain full accreditation for a state lab that investigates thousands of cases of fire debris every year for evidence of arson.

    The latest blow to the lab's credibility is a report last week by a three-member appeals board that upheld nine of 11 critical findings in its fire debris section, forcing the lab to remove all references to national accreditation from its website until the problems are resolved....

    Jeff Atwater, Florida’s chief financial officer, questioned the accred?iting agency’s motives.
  12. Days before Florida ballots go out, Independents fight rejection

    Blog

    Days before the first Florida voters begin getting their presidential ballots, the Independent Party of Florida wants Gov. Rick Scott's administration to reconsider the decision to block its candidate from the ballot and deprive voters of an alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

    Independent Evan McMullin filed papers with the state Division of Elections by the Sept. 1 deadline. But the state denied his petition, saying he had not been nominated by a "national party," which the state defines as "a political party that by definition is registered with and recognized as a qualified national committee of a political party by the Federal Election Commission."...

  13. Atwater 'disappointed' as state fire lab suffers new setback

    Blog

    Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has failed to regain full accreditation for a state lab that investigates fire debris for evidence of arson on behalf of law enforcement agencies. As state fire marshal, Atwater runs the lab, which analyzes thousands of cases every year across the state.

    A three-member appeal board upheld nine of 11 negative findings against the lab. The American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) launched an investigation last year after saying it had "several complaints," including one from John Lentini, a private investigator in Islamorada who repeatedly questioned the lab's work, citing one case in which a North Florida man was wrongly accused of arson and insurance fraud in a boat fire based on lab results....

    Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater
  14. Long before Trump cash, Bondi showed no interest in complaints against seminars

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's acceptance of $25,000 from Donald Trump has fed allegations the past three years of pay-for-play involving complaints about his real estate seminars.

    But an overlooked irony is that Bondi didn't need the contribution.

    During her lopsided 2014 re-election victory, she raised twice as much money as her Democratic challenger. The political committee that received the check has an unspent balance of $157,000....

    This is a photocopy of the check the Donald J. Trump Foundation gave to And Justice for All, the PAC supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, in September 2013.
  15. Bypassing Don Gaetz, UWF promotes provost to president

    Blog

    Trustees of the University of West Florida voted Friday to make provost Martha Saunders the school's next president, bypassing a better-known finalist for the position, Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

    The vote was 9-4 with Saunders getting nine votes and Gaetz four.

    Saunders will succeed Judy Bense as president of the Pensacola university. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the state university system's Board of Governors....