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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. Senate panel OKs death penalty fix; requires unanimous juries

    Blog

    The Senate Criminal Justice Committee Monday passed a rewrite of Florida's death penalty sentencing law and rewrote history, too, in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the law and found that a jury, not a judge, must find each fact necessary to impose a death sentence.

    The Senate bill goes beyond its House counterpart with a groundbreaking requirement that all 12 jurors in future cases must unanimously agree on the death penalty. Florida is one of three states in which a simple majority of seven jurors is sufficient to recommend a death sentence....

  2. Bondi threatens to sue rental car companies over toll charges

    Blog

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says there's a possibility her office will sue rental car companies over their billing practices in Florida. Bondi's Consumer Protection Division has an online form for consumers to send complaints directly to her office. Since November alone, Bondi's office has received more than three dozen complaints from people who rented cars in Florida and were charged as much as $15 a day as a "service charge" in addition to highway tolls that renters couldn't pay because the "cash-less" toll booths are automated....

  3. As consumer outrage grows, state Legislature refuses to cap rental car toll charges

    State Roundup

    UPDATE: Gov. Rick Scott's administration provided a statement Monday in response to this article. The following is from the Department of Management Services, which says that the current contract with Enterprise, Alamo and National will save taxpayers $1.9 million over five years.

    "All rental vehicle companies who bid for this contract included fees for this service," DMS said. "We negotiated the best possible rate for the State of Florida. The state encourages its agencies to provide renters with transponders in order to avoid use of the service." ...

    A view of the I-275 northbound Sunpass lane at the Skyway Bridge photographed from a reporter's car last year. Tourists have flooded Attorney General Pam Bondi's office with complaints over high rental car fees for covering electronic highway tolls.Yet, state lawmakers have killed a push for capping the fees. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Dozens of death row inmates expected to challenge sentences

    Blog

    TALLAHASSEE - They live on death row, convicted of some of the worst crimes in Florida.

    A Miami man stabbed an elderly woman 58 times in her Little Havana apartment. A Broward teenage gang member randomly executed a man walking down the street in a "body count contest." A Pasco County lawn man raped and murdered a woman who was 94 years old.

    They are among dozens of condemned inmates whose sentences could be reduced to life without parole or who could get new sentencing hearings in the first wave of legal challenges to a Florida death penalty sentencing system struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court....

  5. Dozens of Florida death row inmates expected to challenge sentences

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — They live on death row, convicted of some of the worst crimes in Florida.

    A Miami man stabbed an elderly woman 58 times in her Little Havana apartment. A Broward teenage gang member randomly executed a man walking down the street in a "body count contest." A Pasco County lawn man raped and murdered a woman who was 94 years old.

    They are among dozens of condemned inmates whose sentences could be reduced to life without parole or who could get new sentencing hearings in the first wave of legal challenges to a Florida death penalty sentencing system struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court....

    Khadafy Mullens pleaded guilty to killing a store owner and a customer during a 2008 robbery of a food mart near St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field, a crime captured on the store's video surveillance camera. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times (2013)]
  6. The warning shot that condemned Orville Lee Wollard to prison and changed Florida

    State Roundup

    SNEADS — Lee Wollard's life slowly spirals away, following the trail of the gunshot he fired into a wall.

    He feels as if he already has died, but he's very much alive in a Florida prison, where to many he's a symbol of the injustice in America's justice system.

    Orville Lee Wollard III is serving 20 years for firing a warning shot.

    Eight years ago, in a flash of fear and rage, he grabbed his gun. He says it was not to kill anyone but to scare away his teenage daughter's live-in boyfriend....

    In this photo shown at Lee Wollard’s commutation hearing, State Attorney Jerry Hill said the warning shot Wollard fired at his daughter’s boyfriend caused the strap damage to the boyfriend’s bag. The strap was never tested for gunshot residue.
  7. Cop killer Dontae Morris seeks to overturn death sentence

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — The convicted killer of two Tampa police officers wants his death sentence reduced to life as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Florida's death penalty sentencing law.

    Dontae Morris, 30, is on death row at Florida State Prison in Starke, where he is also serving a life term for a third Tampa murder.

    He was sentenced to death for killing Tampa police officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab in 2010. He shot both officers in the head at close range as he was being taken into custody during a traffic stop....

    A jury last year found Dontae Morris guilty of first-degree murder in the May 2010 shooting of Derek Anderson, a slaying that took place 42 days before the defendant killed two Tampa police officers.  (JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times)
  8. House panel moves tax cuts but without Gov. Scott's No. 1 goal

    Blog

    The Florida House Finance & Tax Committee on Wednesday passed a package of tax cuts that's just short of $1 billion over two years. It's a lot less than Gov. Rick Scott wants from the Legislature and it leaves out the centerpiece of Scott's tax cut plan: the repeal of corporate income taxes on retailers and manufacturers.

    As presented by the panel's chairman, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, the biggest piece of the tax-cut pie is a priority of Florida businesses: a reduction of the sales tax on commercial leases from 6 percent to 4 percent over two years with a net savings to businesses of $269.5 million. The permanent elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment would save businesses another $73 million, a House analysis shows....

  9. Sen. Tom Lee faults Gov. Rick Scott's budget, built 'on the backs of local taxpayers'

    Blog

    You can add the influential voice of Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, to the list of Republicans howling about Gov. Rick Scott's budget -- and its heavy reliance on higher property tax bills.

    As Lee's committee prepares to wade through, amend and pass its first budget proposal Wednesday, Lee had choice words for Scott's plan to increase spending for public schools by taking advantage of higher property values for homes and businesses....

  10. Florida Supreme Court blocks scheduled execution

    Blog

    The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a stay of execution to a death row inmate, adding new uncertainty to the future of capital punishment in the nation's third-largest state.

    Without explanation, six justices issued a brief statement blocking the scheduled Feb. 11 execution of Michael Lambrix "pending further order of this court." The justices denied a motion by Lambrix's attorney to move the case back to the trial court for a full evidentiary hearing....

  11. Florida Supreme Court blocks execution of death row inmate Michael Lambrix

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The state Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked next week's execution of a death row inmate, adding more uncertainty to a Florida death penalty system already in turmoil because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

    Hours after a hearing, justices granted a stay of execution to Michael Lambrix, 55, who has been on death row since 1984 after being convicted of the murders of two people in Glades County at a second trial....

    Michael Lambrix, 55, was scheduled to be executed Feb. 11 for a 1983 double murder.
  12. Lawmaker bows to GOP pressure, drops cap on rental car fees

    Blog

    Motorists angry over being hit with extra fees to cover unpaid highway tolls when they rent cars in Florida won't be getting any help from the Legislature.

    A bill that would have capped the fees at $10 a day moved ahead in the House Tuesday, but only after it was amended to eliminate the fee cap. The amended bill won support from lobbyists for rental car companies....

  13. 'Once a senator, always a senator' at nostalgic Capitol reunion

    Blog

    The Florida Senate happily turned back the clock Tuesday as it carried on its tradition of a reunion with dozens of former members.

    The returning ex-senators included former Secretary of State Katherine Harris, former Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson, Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice and Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist. Others from the Tampa Bay area included John Grant, Dennis Jones, Don Sullivan, Paula Dockery and Jim Hargrett. Several of them didn't have to travel far -- they work as lobbyists in the Capitol....

  14. Senate and House spending plans clash with Gov. Rick Scott's priorities

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE —The state Legislature on Friday promoted spending plans for next year that threaten Gov. Rick Scott's priorities of tax cuts and a pool of money to attract jobs.

    "I'm not very patient," Scott said, sensing trouble ahead.

    Over dinner Thursday and at breakfast Friday, Scott rallied his most loyal cheering section, the board of Enterprise Florida, an economic development group that wants $250 million now to spend over the next three years as incentive money to compete for new jobs with other states....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott reacts to the applause from members of the Florida Legislature as he gives his State of the State address on Jan. 12, 2016. (Scott Keeler  |  Times)
  15. Senate: Reduce property tax load on schools and call it a tax cut

    Blog

    As work on a new state budget moves forward, Senate leaders are crafting a plan that would reduce the burden on local property taxpayers to pay for a boost in school funding, and make it part of Gov. Rick Scott's call for $1 billion in tax cuts.

    Scott's call for a "historic" increase in K-12 funding relies overwhelmingly on growth in the value of businesses and homes, which means higher property tax bills. Some Republicans say this is a tax increase....