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. Charlie Crist blasts Rick Scott in speech as 'a disaster' for Florida


    TALLAHASSEE — Facing a friendly Democratic crowd Tuesday, Charlie Crist called Gov. Rick Scott "a disaster" for Florida and predicted "the nightmare will be over" when he wins in November.

    In a 30-minute luncheon speech laced with scorn for his successor, Crist addressed about 300 members of the Capital Tiger Bay Club in Tallahassee, many with ties to his alma mater, Florida State. Ignoring the club's tradition of light frivolity, Crist was all business as he challenged the crowd to help him defeat Scott, who has said he will spend $100 million to win a second term....

    Charlie Crist made the remarks at an event in Tallahassee.
  2. Scott makes tuition push; calls Senate 'extremely disappointing'


    Gov. Rick Scott summoned reporters to his office late Tuesday afternoon to say it's "extremely disappointing" for students that the Senate Appropriations Committee blocked in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Florida. It's a Scott priority viewed as critical to his re-election and the Republican Party's effort to mend fences with Hispanics, but is strongly opposed by some conservatives....

  3. Crist on Scott's record: In six months, 'the nightmare will be over'


    Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist, speaking Tuesday to a packed house at the Capital Tiger Bay Club, called Gov. Rick Scott "a disaster" who's "essentially pleading the fifth" every time he dodges a question.

    In a lunchtime talk to a predominantly Democratic crowd at the Tallahassee Civic Center, Crist blistered every aspect of Scott's record. But he spoke mostly about the record fine for fraud paid by Columbia/HCA, the hospital chain Scott used to run. As Crist spoke the dollar amount of the fine slowly for maximum emphasis -- "one point seven billion" -- the microphone popped as he said the letter B....

  4. Steve Bousquet: Victims of negligence are left in the lurch


    Justice delayed is justice denied in Tallahassee.

    Dozens of victims of gross negligence by the state, cities and counties will have to wait for justice at least one more year because the 2014 session will end without the Legislature doing its job.

    When someone is abused, maimed or killed at the hands of government, he or she can't collect more than $200,000 in damages, even when a jury awards more money or when the government admits wrongdoing. The doctrine of sovereign immunity is designed to protect governments — and taxpayers — from damage awards that could bankrupt them....

  5. Scott: Immigrant kids deserve 'same chance' as other students


    Gov. Rick Scott was in Jacksonville Monday to meet with Duval County students, and used the event to call on senators to pass legislation that would grant in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants.

    The bill has passed the House, 81-33, with strong bipartisan support, but it is stalled in the Senate, where two of its most powerful members -- Senate President Don Gaetz and Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron -- remain opposed. A third influential senator, Senate Rules Committee Chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who's also Scott's campaign chairman, supports the bill....

  6. Weaker ethics bill moves in House, likely part of horse trading


    The House on Monday took up a high-priority Senate ethics bill for the first time and advanced its own weaker version -- a sure sign of horse-trading between the two chambers in the session's crucial final days.

    As the eighth week of the nine-week session began, the House State Affairs Committee passed a version of the ethics bill after removing the Senate's stricter language and substituting its own on SB 846, which is sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. The 33-page strike-all amendment, which some Housel members had not read, was offered by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Fort Myers, chair of the House ethics subcommittee, which did little of consequence this session. The original Senate bill was deliberated in the session's first week, an indication that the House may not share the Senate's enthusiasm for stronger ethics laws....

  7. Charlie Crist's gubernatorial challenge: motivating South Florida Democrats


    WEST PALM BEACH — Sam Oser is 88, and he wants to live long enough to see a Democrat get elected governor of Florida again — even one who used to be a Republican.

    So Oser is ready to embrace Charlie Crist, a career politician of changing stripes who's a Democratic newcomer. No matter, says the West Palm Beach retiree: Democrats are doomed to irrelevance until they reclaim the Governor's Mansion after a 16-year absence....

    “Our political clout in the village is totally dependent on how many people vote.”
Mae Duke, president of the United Democratic Club of Century Village
  8. Pockets of anti-Crist resistance are not hard to find in Broward


    As the Democratic Women's Club of Broward gathered for its monthly meeting Wednesday, a table was filled with leaflets promoting Nan Rich's candidacy for governor, but not a piece of Charlie Crist literature could be seen.

    Long-time club member Joanne Sterner greeted guests as she stood in front of a sign that read "Stand with Nan." Sterner says she's scared by the talk that Crist, a former Republican governor, is the heavy favorite to be the Democratic nominee for governor....

  9. Steve Bousquet: Crist at risk of putting hug with Obama in racial terms

    State Roundup

    A white Florida politician shows support for a black leader and click! Cameras capture the moment with grave consequences for the white politician.

    Partisan politics? Racism? Both?

    The white politician is Charlie Crist, whose 2009 hug of President Barack Obama in Fort Myers cost him dearly with Republicans. "It killed me," he says.

    But the hug that was so troublesome for Crist a few years ago as a Republican is now a badge of honor, a calling card to prove to fellow Democrats his unwavering support for a president with his own popularity issues....

    Former Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins, center, talks with the Rev. Andrew Young, left, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., right, in Selma, Ala. Collins later lost a 1968 Senate race.
  10. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch this week in Tallahassee


    It figures to be a very quiet week in Tallahassee because of the Passover and Easter holidays. Here are five things to watch this week:

    • The hills around the capital will be alive Monday with the sound of ... motorcycles. Even though legislators won't be around, motorcyclists by the score will descend on the Capitol Courtyard for their 18th annual Freedom Rights Rally. The event is promoted on ABATE of Florida's website,
    • Lawmakers are out of town, but their full-time professional staff members will be at work all week long in the Capitol. Staff members from the House and Senate appropriations committees will develop documents that compare the two chambers' budgets. The so-called side-by-sides are of invaluable assistance to lawmakers in the session's last two weeks, when all key budget decisions are made.
    • Speaking of the budget, United Faculty of Florida chapter at Florida State University will hold a rally and press conference at noon Wednesday on the front steps of the historic Old Capitol to call attention to the fees that graduate assistants must pay each year at Florida universities.
    • Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, will hold a workshop for residents of Santa Rosa County in an effort to prevent the spread of citrus canker. A horticulturist from the University of Florida will attend the workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Tiger Point Community Center, 1370 Tiger Park Lane, Gulf Breeze.
    • Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist will open his first regional headquarters in Broward County on Saturday. The office is at 320 S. University Dr., Plantation.

  11. In GOP-dominated Legislature, black lawmakers caucus struggles

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — When the last cocktail had been poured and the last guests had floated away from the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators' annual Scholarship Gala last month, thousands of dollars had flowed into the nonprofit foundation, courtesy of five-figure checks from a variety of special interests with stakes in pending legislation.

    How much was raised at the March 21 gala, VIP reception for donors and Scholarship Golf Tournament that weekend? Lawmakers won't say. They don't have to....

  12. Thrasher: Rancourt 'doesn't count' as GOP supporter of Crist


    One of Democrat Charlie Crist's better-known Tallahassee supporters is a Republican: David Rancourt, the former super-lobbyist and co-founder of the Southern Strategy Group lobbying firm, who wrote a $50,000 check to Crist's campaign last November.

    Rancourt and Crist go way back: Both devoted 'Noles, they also were members of the same fraternity at Florida State University (Pi Kappa Alpha) and Rancourt managed Crist's 2000 campaign for education commissioner, his first victorious statewide race. Rancourt is now managing partner of Land South, a Lakeland real estate investment company....

  13. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee


    As the spring days get longer in Florida's capital, the time left in the legislative session gets shorter. Lawmakers have a busy schedule today and here are five things to watch:

    • The House of Representatives' floor session is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with final votes scheduled on bills dealing with abortions, school vouchers and concealed weapons.
    • The Senate schedule is from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and includes final votes on 30 bills, including requiring background checks for certain youth sports coaches and prohibiting businesses from soliciting people by sending text messages if they are on the state's "do not call" list.
    • Motorists could legally drive 75 mph on certain limited access interstate highways under a bill before the House Economic Affairs Committee. The bill (HB 761) is sponsored by Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Fort Myers.
    • The House Judiciary Committee will vote on the proposed Florida Civil Rights Act (HB 105), which bans discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in public places and lodging establishments. The bill's sponsor is Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana.
    • Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, will discuss proposed changes to the "stand your ground" self-defense law at a news conference. His bill (SB 130) is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

  14. Charlie Crist to House Democrats: 'I think we're gonna do it'


    Is Charlie Crist paying too much attention to polls?

    For somebody who expects to face an opponent with $100 million, he didn't sound worried about his chances in the governor's race in a Thursday night stump speech to a small but influential group: the House Democratic caucus.

    "We're almost there. We're almost home," Crist said. "It's going to be good because I think we're gonna do it. And I think they know it."...

  15. 1 million heavy truck owners won't receive full tag-fee reduction


    Another group that won't get the full $25 tag fee reduction are owners of heavy trucks, defined in state law as trucks that weigh more than 5,000 pounds, many of which are used commercially. The state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles says 1,017,756 trucks of that size were registered in the state in March.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed the tag-fee reductions into law on April 2 and touted it as helping Florida families "keep nearly $400 million of their hard-earned money in their own pockets — because it’s their money!” At the bill-signing ceremony last week, Tom Feeney of Associated Industries of Florida hailed the reduction as "a win for Floridians who register their family car and for businesses who register fleets."...