Rain77° FULL FORECASTRain77° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

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

link
  1. Walton County goes shopping on eBay for new Confederate flag

    Blog

    It has been two days since Walton County voted to replace its Southern Cross Confederate flag with an earlier "stars and bars" version. But in the latest twist to this controversy, a different flag is fluttering outside the North Florida courthouse: a rebel flag with seven stars, not the 13-star version commissioners approved after three hours of acrimonious debate Tuesday....

    Walton County's temporary Confederate flag until the "stars and bars" version arrives from eBay.
  2. Gov. Scott orders investigation of Planned Parenthood in Florida

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday he has ordered an investigation of Planned Parenthood's 16 Florida offices "to ensure they are in full compliance with the law."

    A release from Scott's office said he has asked the Agency for Health Care Administration's director, Secretary Liz Dudek, to send staff members from AHCA's licensure offices to the 16 offices in Florida that perform abortion procedures. "If a Planned Parenthood office is not following the law," Scott's release said, "we will move quickly to take legal and regulatory action against them."...

  3. Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet to settle property lawsuit with Tallahassee lawyer

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members will settle a three-year-old legal battle next week that will give the state access to property it wants to acquire to build a park near the Governor's Mansion.

    The four officials plan to approve a settlement of three separate lawsuits at a Cabinet meeting next Wednesday. But that won't completely end the legal wars between Scott and Steve Andrews, an outspoken and politically active personal injury lawyer who called Scott "the corporate spawn of Satan" when he first ran for governor in 2010....

    Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will settle a lawsuit over access to property the state wants to acquire as part of a project to enhance the Governor's mansion. [Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP]
  4. Scott and Cabinet to settle property lawsuit with lawyer Andrews

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will settle a lawsuit over access to property the state wants to acquire as part of a project to enhance the Governor's mansion.

    The four officials plan to approve the settlement of three separate cases at a Cabinet meeting next Wednesday in a legal battle begun three years ago by Tallahassee lawyer Steve Andrews, who tried to prevent the state from acquiring the land that houses Andrews' law office to create a park adjacent to the Governor's Mansion. As the case unfolded, Andrews raised claims that Scott was using a private email account for official business. The public records issues remain unresolved and are not part of the proposed settlement....

  5. Walton County votes to replace one Confederate flag with another

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Bucking a national trend, a defiant Walton County voted Tuesday after an emotional hearing to replace one Confederate flag with another one at its courthouse in the Florida Panhandle.

    Under intense pressure from a deeply divided citizenry, county commissioners agreed to remove the controversial flag with the X-shaped Southern Cross design that has flown at the courthouse in DeFuniak Springs since 1964, the year President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act....

  6. Walton County votes to replace Confederate flag with another

    Blog

    After two hours of sharply divided emotional debate by residents of the Panhandle, the Walton County Commission voted Tuesday to remove its Confederate flag that has flown on the lawn of the county courthouse for 51 years and replace it with a version known as the stars and bars.

    As commissioners voted 4-0 to replace the rebel flag with a version that depicts 13 white stars on a blue background and red and white horizontal bars, a burst of applause broke out in the hearing room. But flag opponents were angry at the result, and an NAACP leader, Dale Landry, raised the possibility of economic boycotts in South Walton County, a resort community that's a magnet for business conferences....

  7. Detzner tells counties that updated voter database 'ready to go'

    Blog

    Secretary of State Ken Detzner's office is telling Florida's 67 election supervisors that updated hardware on the state voter database is "ready to go live." An alert from Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews went out Monday evening after details emerged of a critical state audit of the agency's management of the Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS). In addition, county election supervisors, who have repeatedly criticized Detzner for a lack of communication, called the audit findings "troubling."...

  8. Auditor general's report critical of how Florida handles voter information

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A highly critical state audit casts new doubt on whether Florida is ready to count votes in the 2016 presidential election and puts added pressure on Gov. Rick Scott's top elections official to show improvement.

    The report by the state auditor general, an independent officer hired by the Legislature, criticizes the Department of State for its handling of the voter registration database in the nation's biggest electoral battleground, a state with nearly 12 million voters and a long history of controversy involving voting....

    Secretary of State Ken Detzner has clashed with county supervisors of elections.
  9. Breakdowns, lax security cited in audit of state voter database

    Blog

    With planning for the 2016 presidential election underway, a new auditor general's report sharply criticizes Gov. Rick Scott's administration for its handling of the backbone of democracy in Florida: the electronic system that holds vital data on 12 million voters in the nation's biggest battleground state.

    The audit found that internal security controls need improvement; a disaster recovery plan has not been tested since 2011; 14 state employees had "inappropriate and unnecessary access privileges" to the database; no mechanism exists to ensure that production changes are "properly authorized, tested and approved'; security training for employees hired during the past year were not done on a timely basis; and measures to protect confidential and exempt voter information need improvement....

  10. Confederate flag battle in Panhandle pits North against South

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — For more than 50 years, a Confederate flag has fluttered outside the Walton County Courthouse in Florida's Panhandle.

    It's said to be the last rebel flag outside a Florida courthouse, and its days may be numbered.

    Inside, flag supporters and opponents will square off today in a pitched emotional battle featuring an ironic North-South twist: Residents in the county's rural northern tier have a stronger sense of local history and are more fond of the flag than newcomers living in beach communities in the south. ...

  11. Confederate flag battle in Panhandle pits North against South

    Blog

    Supporters and opponents of the Confederate flag will square off again on Tuesday, this time in a Florida Panhandle community with a geographic twist as "northerners" may be more supportive of the flag than people in the South. The place is Walton County, sandwiched between Panama City and Destin in northwest Florida. Founded in 1824, it's one of the oldest counties in Florida and perhaps best known as the home of Seaside, the photogenic New Urbanism beachfront community used as the setting for the Jim Carrey film "The Truman Show."...

    Map courtesy Almanac of Florida Politics
  12. Term limits? For many ex-lawmakers, it's a path to a second career

    Blog

    It has been more than two decades since Florida voters embedded term limits in the state Constitution when they declared "eight is enough" for most members of the Legislature. 

    But while term limits broke the grip that career politicians held on the state Capitol, it created a wealth of political opportunities for them at the local level to be county commissioners or constitutional officers -- well-paying jobs that in many cases don't come with term limits....

  13. Lawmakers dodge term limits and land big pensions through local politics

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators keep finding ways to dodge the career-ending trap of term limits, often with richly rewarding results — paid for by taxpayers.

    It has been more than two decades since voters emphatically declared that eight years in an office was enough as they broke the grip that career politicians had on the state Capitol.

    Since then, dozens of lawmakers who were forced out by term limits soon resurfaced in local elected offices. Their new jobs, which often paid six-figure salaries, have not only prolonged their political careers but also fattened their retirement accounts. ...

    Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, giving a tour of his office, spent 19 years in the Florida Legislature.
  14. State citrus agency names new leader after boss' sudden exit

    Blog

    From the News Service of Florida:

    Shannon Shepp was named interim executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus Wednesday. She replaces Doug Ackerman, who resigned Monday following his arrest last week on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge. Shepp has been the department's deputy director since August 2013.

    "Her appointment today was without controversy," Citrus Commission Chairman Marty McKenna said in a statement. "She has served our industry well for many years, and she will continue to do so now in this interim role. We aren't hitting a 'pause button.' It's still full speed ahead."...

  15. Governing magazine's take on the Florida redistricting battle

    Blog

    Governing magazine offers its take on the upcoming special session in Tallahassee to redraw Florida's congressional map, in addition to a special session on redistricting in Virginia. The story can be found here