Make us your home page

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. Meet the Republicans eying Fla attorney general's office


    Yesterday we noted some the the Democrats seen as contenders to succeed Pam Bondi as attorney general in 2018. What about the Republicans, you ask?

    Well, the Florida GOP has a deeper bench than the Democratic party, and quite a few credible Republicans are in the mix for a potentially crowded primary. Among them: State Rep. Richard Corcoran of Wesley Chapel; state Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart; State Sen. Rob Bradley of Orange Park; state Rep. Dana Young of Tampa; U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney of Okeechobee....

  2. Florida Cabinet chal­leng­es plan to make getting your driver's license slower or more expensive

    State Roundup

    ST. AUGUSTINE — Two skeptical Cabinet members urged caution Tuesday on a controversial state plan to mail driver's licenses to motorists like other states do, rather than issuing them over the counter the way Florida does now.

    Under the proposal, motorists could wait up to two weeks to get their licenses in the mail.

    As state officials met in this historic city in the week of its 450th birthday, Cabinet members recalled more recent history — and its effect on millions of Floridians who get or renew their licenses every year. ...

    Edwin Rivera, 24, of Tampa waits to be helped at the Drew Park Hillsborough County Tax Collectors office on Friday. 

Currently, Floridians receive and renew their drivers licenses at tax collectors' offices, but the state is considering having a public vendor issue all licenses. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  3. Key Cabinet member urges 'time out' on driver's license revamp


    Two influential members of the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday sided with critics of a proposed revamping of the state system of issuing driver's licenses from a county-by-county over-the-counter system to a centralized issuance system by mail that's used in most states.

    Under the current system, drivers get their licenses immediately. Under a revamped system, they could wait up to two weeks to get them in the mail....

  4. On the road again: Gov. Scott and Cabinet head to St. Augustine


    America's oldest city welcomes the Gang of Four Tuesday.

    Gov. Rick Scott and the three Cabinet members gather in St. Augustine in conjunction with the city's 450th anniversary that begins Friday and runs through Labor Day weekend. The top state officials will adopt measures to evaluate the job performances of FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen and Terry Rhodes, executive director of the highway safety agency, and a five-year plan for land acquisition under the Florida Forever program....

  5. Controversy grows over plan to revamp issuance of millions of Florida driver licenses


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida motorists enjoy getting their shiny new driver licenses on the spot, but the state is studying a possible change to a new system that's stirring warnings of a possible "disaster" with drivers waiting up to two weeks for their cards.

    The state's top highway safety official says no decision has been made and won't be without a statewide consensus.

    Florida prints five million licenses each year and most are issued by county tax collectors, elected officials with local clout whose re-election depends on good over-the-counter service....

    Edwin Rivera, 24, of Tampa, waits to be helped at the Drew Park branch of the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office last Friday. 

Currently, Floridians can receive and renew their drivers licenses at Tax Collectors offices on the same day, but it could take up to two weeks under a proposed change. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
  6. Tax collectors alarmed over possible new driver license system


    You can't get completely away from politics in Florida. One of many things that make the state such a unique place is that the person who renews your driver's license and provides your license tags is likely to be an elected official.

    Yes, a politician. Your county tax collectors, and their front-line employees. (The licenses and tags are produced using equipment owned by a vendor under contract to the state). State highway safety officials are quietly studying a possible change to a new system of issuing driver licenses. No decision has been made, and wouldn't be without the approval of Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. But just the idea of changing things has stirred up a lot of controversy. More here.  ...

  7. Florida Lottery secretary resigns under fire

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell, one of Gov. Rick Scott's original agency heads, has resigned in the wake of media reports of questionable travel expenses and absenteeism.

    O'Connell's resignation via a letter dated Friday came as she also faced internal questions about her use of her state credit card for personal items, although those issues were resolved....

    Cynthia O’Connell, the head of the Florida Lottery, is resigning effective 
Oct. 1.
  8. 'Alarming' delay in Sunshine Law training for Gov. Scott, Cabinet


    A little more "sunshine" in state government is proving tough to accomplish.

    It has been nearly six months since Gov. Rick Scott and the three elected Cabinet members agreed that they needed a refresher course in Florida's public records and open meeting laws. They agreed to do it by the end of the year at a public Cabinet meeting but the training has not been scheduled and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's office calls the foot-dragging "alarming."...

  9. Latvala's lost Senate pledge: 'He never looked me in the eye'


    State Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, may prove to be the decisive vote to break the deadlock for Senate president in 2016 between Sens. Joe Negron of Stuart and Jack Latvala of Clearwater. But tensions continue to simmer.

    It was an open secret in the 2015 session that Altman had flipped his support from Latvala to Negron, but it wasn't official until Negron issued a statement Wednesday listing the senators (including himself) who make up his 14 supporters in the 26-member Senate Republican caucus....

  10. One notable omission at first storm briefing: No sign language


    After a prolonged period of hurricane-free weather in Florida, some residents may be rusty about the need to make plans for an approaching storm. The state appeared to be rusty, too, but officials promise to quickly correct the oversight.

    At Thursday morning's first statewide TV briefing on Tropical Storm Erika after his return from a Colorado vacation, Gov. Rick Scott stayed on message ("Stay prepared!") and was responsive to most questions. But a fixture for decades of these televised briefings was missing: a signer-interpreter from the Department of Education to provide the governor's message to Floridians who are hearing-impaired....

    A sign language expert (left) helps hearing impaired TV viewers at a storm briefing with Gov. Rick Scott in 2013.
  11. Back from Colorado, Gov. Scott reports to emergency center


    Gov. Rick Scott cut short his Colorado vacation and flew home late Wednesday night as Tropical Storm Erika slowly gained strength in the Caribbean. Scott's temporary base of operations will be the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Tallahassee, the statewide command post for hurricane preparations.

    In Florida, the threat of severe weather is always a crucial moment that tests every governor's leadership skills. Floridians rely on the state's elected leader to provide calm reassurance, provide accurate information, help people prepare for the worst and direct all recovery efforts....

  12. Negron claims victory in Florida Senate power play, but Latvala won't concede

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The drama in Florida's Capitol intensified Wednesday as Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart declared victory in his marathon battle with Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater to become Senate president next year.

    Latvala scoffed at the claim and said the fight is far from settled.

    Negron released the names of 14 of 26 Republican senators, including himself, to form a majority that would secure the powerful two-year post, and Senate President Andy Gardiner scheduled a caucus vote in early December to seal Negron's long climb to power....

    State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, says he has the majority support needed to become Senate president next year. 
  13. From Colorado, Gov. Scott to be briefed on Tropical Storm Erika


    As Tropical Storm Erika moves on a path toward the Florida peninsula, state, county and city emergency planners are watching closely, especially in South Florida. Gov. Rick Scott is still on vacation in Colorado, and his office says he will be briefed twice Wednesday by phone from Bryan Koon, the state director of emergency management, at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Below is the detail for the first briefing as it appears on Scott's official state schedule....

    Image courtesy National Hurricane Center
  14. As Gov. Rick Scott lays low, his poll numbers go higher


    TALLAHASSEE — Avoiding the political spotlight in the Capitol is doing wonders for Gov. Rick Scott's poll numbers.

    For the first time since shortly after he took office in 2011, a new statewide poll shows that Scott's job approval is more good than bad, by the barest of margins: a single point.

    But that's real progress for the least-popular governor in the modern history of Florida, especially when he has been feuding with Senate Republicans, spending tax dollars to settle public records lawsuits and generally staying away from the Capitol, most recently with trips to Colorado and France this month....

    Rick Scott can take solace in a new statewide poll showing that his job approval has inched upward and is more good than bad — by 1 percentage point — for the first time since soon after he took office in 2011. [Associated Press]
  15. Gov. Rick Scott's approval rating positive for first time since 2011


    A new statewide poll in Florida by Quinnipiac University largely comes up empty by finding that every major candidate for U.S. Senate in both parties is so unknown that "none has achieved enough voter recognition for a valid measure of their favorability."

    And in a small sign of progress for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, his job approval edged upward, with a divided electorate approving of his performance by 45 to 44 percent. That's hardly a ringing endorsement, but it marks the first time since February 2011, one month after Scott took office, that he scored a positive approval rating with voters. The previous Q-poll in late June had Scott underwater, with 39 percent approving of his job performance and 49 percent disapproving....