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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. NRA, Republican leaders shape gun law debate in Tallahassee

    Blog

    Marion Hammer’s phone rang as news bulletins reported that five tourists were shot to death at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

    The longtime Florida gun lobbyist said a friend told her that the Jan. 6 shootings probably ended any chance of the Legislature’s passing a law to allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons in airport common areas.

    But Hammer said the shooting helped her cause, proving that more guns in places like airports were needed....

    Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, speaks in favor of the guns at work bill during a House committee meeting in 2007. That bill failed.
  2. Recent mass shootings spark fresh debate over Florida gun laws

    Blog

    By Steve Bousquet, Kristen M. Clark and Michael Auslen

    In the past seven months, mass shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport have brought renewed scrutiny to Florida’s gun laws. The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau examined two competing ideas to change those laws: One would ease access to guns in hopes that armed bystanders could prevent more tragedies. The other would restrict gun access, making it harder for would-be killers to obtain weapons. But in a state Capitol where guns are a divisive and sometimes politically toxic topic, dramatic change is almost certain to fail....

    Miami Police detectives register guns collected from the public during a gun buy back event hosted by the department and the Rickia Isaac Foundation at Dorsey Park in Miami, December 17, 2016
  3. FLORIDA GUNS, PART 3: Shootings boost prospects for gun groups

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Marion Hammer's phone rang as news bulletins reported that five tourists were shot to death at Fort Lauderdale-International Airport.

    The longtime Florida gun lobbyist said a friend told her the Jan. 6 shootings probably ended any chance of the Legislature passing a law to allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons in airport common areas.

    But Hammer said the shooting helped her cause, proving that more guns in places like airports were needed....

    Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association's longtime Tallahassee lobbyist, (right) prior to the Florida House Judiciary Committee hearing about open-carry gun legislation last year. She's talking with Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart.
  4. Gov. Rick Scott helps a Tallahassee law firm mark a milestone

    Blog

    It began on a Saturday afternoon in 1967 at a delicatessen in Miami Beach. At Wolfie's, legend has it.

    Three South Florida lawyers -- Mel Greenberg, Larry Hoffman and Bob Traurig -- met and formed the law and lobbying firm known today as Greenberg Traurig, which claims to have about 2,000 lawyers in 38 cities in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East....

    Fred Baggett and Cesar Alvarez at the Governor's Club.
  5. Gov. Scott to name Justin Senior to lead health care agency

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott will name Justin Senior the secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, his office confirmed Wednesday.

    Senior, 45, has been serving in the job as interim secretary since October, when the previous secretary, Liz Dudek, left the agency. He earns $142,000 a year.

    As secretary, Senior will oversee one of the state’s largest budgets and the department that runs Florida’s Medicaid program. He’ll face confirmation from the state Senate, but the Republican-controlled chamber almost never rejects appointees of the Republican governor....

    Justin Senior
  6. Corcoran targets tourism and jobs councils, college foundations

    Blog

    Having secured the scalp of Visit Florida's CEO, House Speaker Richard Corcoran is quickly moving on to other equally inviting targets of fiscal scrutiny: Florida's tourism councils, economic development boards and college and university foundations.

    Dozens of groups are receiving letters on the official House letterhead that demand a wide array of information, in some cases under the threat of subpoena if they don't comply very quickly....

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, talks about the upcoming Florida Legislative session and a tight state budget during a press conference on Nov. 22 at the Florida Capitol.
  7. Negron will renew push to end insurance industry's jobs credit

    Blog

    Florida's insurance industry has a political fight on its hands in the upcoming legislative session.

    Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, will renew his effort to eliminate an industry sacred cow: a 15 percent tax credit on the salaries insurance companies pay to full-time employees in Florida.

    With Negron as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate four years ago voted to repeal the 30-year-old tax break and redirect the proceeds to lower car registration fees, which a few years earlier had risen dramatically to close a budget gap in 2009....

  8. Is government lobbying government a necessity or a waste of tax dollars?

    Blog

    Three decades ago, lobbyist Ron Book persuaded a public hospital to pay him to protect its interests in a faraway Capitol, just as private businesses do.

    Book still represents the South Broward Hospital District, and he earns more than $1 million a year lobbying for nearly three dozen local governments, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas counties — all paid by local taxpayers in Florida....

    Lobbyist Ron Book checks his phone in the state Capitol as Joe Negron, R-Stuart, now the Senate president, speaks on the Senate floor.
  9. Taxpayers will keep paying for lobbyists in Tallahassee, despite House speaker, who calls it a 'disgrace'

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Three decades ago, lobbyist Ron Book persuaded a public hospital to pay him to protect its interests in a faraway Capitol, just as private businesses do.

    Book still represents the South Broward Hospital District, and he earns more than $1 million a year lobbying for nearly three dozen local governments, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas counties — all paid for by local taxpayers in Florida....

    Speaker Richard Corcoran tried and failed to outlaw taxpayer-funded lobbying.
  10. Lobbyist Ron Book is runaway leader in government contracts

    Blog

    For the first time, the Florida House is posting copies of contracts between lobbyists and local governments online and more than a third of the first set of contracts posted are with one lobbying firm, Ron Book of Aventura.

    Book has been a fixture in the halls of the Capitol for four decades and has built local government lobbying work into a cottage industry in Florida. He is among the first lobbyists in Tallahassee to comply with a new requirement to disclose all local lobbying activity....

    Lobbyist Ron Book, right, with Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
  11. Florida's death penalty system will face renewed stress in 2017

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's death penalty system, under sustained legal assault for the past year, faces renewed pressure in 2017 that will strain courts, victims and taxpayers in ways sure to rekindle a debate over capital punishment.

    A series of federal and state court rulings will bring upheaval to a system long criticized for racial disparities and for seemingly endless and unjust delays. Now the state must confront the enormous impact of a case known as Hurst vs. Florida, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that constitutional rights of defendants were violated because their juries had too little say in recommending sentences of death....

    Florida's Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 22 that half of the state's 383 inmates on death row could still be executed, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2016 that their constitutional rights were violated because juries had too little power in recommending either a life sentence or the death penalty. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  12. Richard Corcoran won't take attorney general's job if Scott offers

    Blog

    With Pam Bondi's departure for the Donald Trump administration seen as likely, Gov. Rick Scott may soon have the luxury of appointing a replacement attorney general through the next election in 2018, giving him two votes on the four-member Cabinet. Speculation is rampant about possible choices, but here's one name you can scratch off the list of possibilities: House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes....

  13. Florida's 29 presidential electors vote for Trump

    Blog

    In a ceremony that was historic and devoid of suspense, all 29 Florida presidential electors voted for Donald Trump on Monday and did their part to make him the next president of the United States.

    The ceremony ended weeks of efforts by disappointed and angry voters across the country who wrote letters, fired off emails, filed lawsuits and finally staged protests in an effort to prevent Trump from becoming the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20, 2017....

    Presidential electors state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, and Tallahassee lobbyist Brian Ballard sign certificates of vote after the state's 29 members of the electoral college cast their votes for Donald Trump.
  14. BREAKING: With help from Florida's 29 electoral votes, Trump gets 270 needed to become president

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In a ceremony that was historic but devoid of suspense, all 29 Florida presidential electors voted for Donald J. Trump on Monday and did their part to make him the next president of the United States.

    The ceremony ended weeks of efforts by disappointed and angry voters across the country who wrote letters, fired off emails, filed lawsuits and finally staged protests in an effort to prevent Trump from becoming the nation's 45th president on Jan. 20, 2017....

    A smattering of protesters gathered at the Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday to encourage Florida's 29 electors, picked by Gov. Rick Scott based on a Republican Party of Florida recommendations, to oppose Donald Trump. [Kristen M. Clark | Miami Herald]
  15. Florida's 29 electors ready to vote for Trump, ending pressure and lawsuits

    Blog

    Florida's 29 presidential electors will convene Monday in Tallahassee, where all are expected to cast written ballots for Donald Trump to become the 45th president of the United States.

    Under state election law, the Florida electors must vote for the candidate chosen by their party. They were selected by Gov. Rick Scott based on a Republican Party of Florida recommendation and include GOP officeholders, party donors and grass-roots activists. Among them are Attorney General Pam Bondi; Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart; Tallahassee lobbyist and Trump fund-raiser Brian Ballard; Susie Wiles of Ponte Vedra Beach, a public affairs specialist in Ballard's firm and political consultant who was placed in charge of Trump's Florida effort in September; Robert Watkins, co-owner of a Tampa accounting firm that provides bookkeeping services for many Republican politicians; Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, chairman of the state GOP; and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee....

    Florida presidential elector Nick DiCeglie tweeted a photo of his Indian Rocks Beach mailbox stuffed with one day's mail.