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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


Twitter: @SteveBousquet

  1. Bousquet: Some advice for Gov. Rick Scott's fifth State of the State speech


    Gov. Rick Scott will deliver his fifth State of the State address to the Legislature on Tuesday.

    It marks the beginning of the 2015 session, but it could be a lot more than just another speech by a politician.

    For Scott, it's a golden opportunity to exceed others' expectations of him, and to prove that he meant what he said on Election Night.

    "The campaign is over," Scott said in November. "It's time to put all the division behind us and come together. Forget the partisanship."...

  2. Tampa foodie Gonzmart will get State of State salute from Scott


    Richard Gonzmart, the "triple threat" Tampa restaurateur (Goody Goody, Ulele and the venerable Columbia) will be a guest of Gov. Rick Scott at Tuesday's State of the State address in the Capitol, the governor's office confirmed Monday, and will be mentioned in the annual State of the State speech for his business success. (Any free samples of that famous Spanish Bean soup?)...

  3. A conversation with Crisafulli: 'I got picked after I was proven'


    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, covered a wide range of topics in a pre-session Times/Herald interview in his Capitol office. Some highlights:

    * Being speaker: As the replacement for the defeated Rep. Chris Dorworth, Crisafulli became speaker by accident, but he says it was the right way. "My path to this position was exactly what most of y'all in the press say is what's wrong with the process, that you're picked before you're proven. I got picked after I was proven. So it should be, in y'all's minds, the conventional way of coming to this position."...

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island.
  4. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee


    Today is the calm before the storm: the day before the start of the 2015 legislative session. Here are five things to watch in Florida's Capitol:

    • The date of Florida's 2016 presidential primary will be debated in the House Rules Committee as the panel considers a bill to set the date for March 15 to comply with national political party rules. The nation's biggest swing state could play a bigger role in 2016 with the expected candidacies of former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
    • Stores in poor areas with few grocery stores could reap a "food desert" tax credit under a bill before the Senate Agriculture Committee. That's desert, not dessert. The bill (SB 610), by Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, could benefit chains such as CVS and Walgreens if they collect at least 20 percent of their gross receipts from sales of fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat products.  
    • The Department of Health will try again to set up a regulatory framework for nurseries to enter Florida's pot-for-profit industry under a 2014 law that allows limited medical marijuana use for patients with severe spasms or cancer. The first proposed rule was tossed out by a hearing officer and an attorney for the Legislature says the new rule is too vague.    
    • The day before the start of the session is the last day lawmakers can solicit and collect campaign contributions from lobbyists and their clients until the session ends. Dozens of them will have receptions, the Republican Party of Florida holds a fundraiser, and Senate Democrats host a "drink, drop and dash" reception at the Governor's Club. The "drop" refers to checks of up to $1,000 each.  
    • Associated Industries of Florida, a lobby group for business, holds its traditional pre-session reception for lawmakers from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at its headquarters north of the Capitol. Platinum-level sponsors include Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Florida Power & Light and U.S. Sugar, and invitations carry a note that because of Florida's gift ban, legislators have to pay their own way at $25 a ticket.

  5. As Florida's 2015 session begins: 5 people and 5 issues to watch


    TALLAHASSEE — The 2015 session of the Florida Legislature begins Tuesday here with new leaders facing fresh challenges and competing demands for a projected $1 billion budget surplus.

    Gov. Rick Scott ceremonially starts the session Tuesday when he delivers the annual State of the State speech to lawmakers. The 60-day session is scheduled to end May 1.

    Republicans outnumber Democrats 26-14 in the Senate and 80-39 in the House, with one House seat in Tampa vacant....

    Traffic passes Florida’s historic Old Capitol building at the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee on Saturday night. Behind it, the Capitol awaits Florida’s lawmakers, who begin their annual 60-day legislative session on Tuesday. 
  6. Coming in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times: 'The Elephant in the Room'


    Coming in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times: The most comprehensive package of news, commentary and opinion on the Florida legislative session that opens Tuesday. You can find it all in the Perspective section.

    Front and center is a story about a newly emboldened Legislature that appears ready to challenge Gov. Rick Scott on a number of issues. The strongly-Republican Legislature is literally the "elephant in the room" -- a concept expertly captured by Times illustrator Steve Madden. ...

    The 'elephant in the room' is obvious: It's the Legislature, not Gov. Rick Scott, weakened by mistakes at the start of his second term.
  7. Surprise? CFO Jeff Atwater's office knew FDLE chief was doomed


    Florida Cabinet members have said they were blindsided by Gov. Rick Scott's decision to oust former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey on Dec. 16. "(It) caught a lot of us by surprise," Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater told Capitol reporters last month.

    Really? It wasn't a complete surprise to Atwater, whose office began lobbying for a top aide to get the FDLE job before the ink was dry on Bailey's letter of "departure" (he refused to use the word resignation)....

  8. High-level changes in Insurance Commissioner McCarty's shop


    With Gov. Rick Scott trying to push state insurance regulator Kevin McCarty out the door, several high-level staff changes are afoot at McCarty's Office of Insurance Regulation. But a knowledgeable source says the personnel moves have been in the works for a long time and are unrelated to the turmoil swirling around McCarty's job status and those of other Cabinet agency heads.

    McCarty's chief of staff, Rebecca Matthews, will leave at the end of next week to be the executive director of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, and Richard Koon, deputy commissioner of property and casualty insurance, is also leaving for a private sector post....

  9. Gov. Scott faces big hurdles to push his legislative agenda

    State Roundup


    On the night he won re-election in November, a beaming Gov. Rick Scott bolted on stage to rowdy chants of "Four more years!" Dismissed by pollsters as a likely loser, Scott clawed his way to victory, using his personal fortune to pay for a pounding barrage of TV ads that doomed rival Charlie Crist. Near midnight, a giddiness filled the ballroom of the Hyatt in Bonita Springs as a relieved Scott declared an end to a long, brutal campaign....

  10. Putnam's staff wrote hard-hitting opinion piece on Bailey fiasco


    At the height of the outcry over the forced ouster of an FDLE commissioner by Gov. Rick Scott's office, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was poised to go public with a strongly-worded denunciation of the Gerald Bailey fiasco, including a reference to "key actions" made in secret that deny Floridians the constitutional right of access.

    The words, under Putnam's byline, are in the form of a draft opinion piece for newspaper editorial pages that was never submitted....

    A copy of draft op-ed by Putnam's staff on the "breakdown in the Cabinet process" in the FDLE controversy.
  11. Gov. Rick Scott faces concern from fellow Republicans over 'tax increase' to fund schools


    TALLAHASSEE — In touting his plan for record school spending, Gov. Rick Scott is ignoring a fact that concerns some of his fellow Republicans: He wants property taxpayers to pay more.

    Scott's $77 billion budget, awaiting review by the Legislature, includes $842 million more for public schools, raising per pupil spending to its highest level.

    More than half of the increase would come from higher property taxes paid by homeowners and business owners as a result of growth in property values....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives his State of the State address to a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
  12. Scott's 'record' school budget includes tax hike, Republicans say


    Gov. Rick Scott doesn't talk about how his "record" budget for schools requires the state to collect more taxes from Floridians. But some of his fellow Republicans say it's true.

    Scott's $77 billion budget proposal now before the Legislature includes $842 million more for schools, bringing per pupil spending to its highest level. But nearly half of Scott's increase would come from higher property taxes paid by homeowners and businesses due to growth in property values....

  13. Florida news outlets suing Gov. Rick Scott want emergency order protecting public records

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida news outlets and First Amendment advocates want a judge to order Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members to safeguard all relevant materials in an open meetings lawsuit, even their aides' cellphone text messages.

    The media outlets' emergency motion, filed in state court Monday, focuses squarely on Scott's controversial record in maintaining public records. They cited the mass deletions of emails by Scott's transition team in the hectic weeks that preceded his taking office in January 2011 and a policy by Scott's office that allows employees to subjectively destroy records they consider "transitory" and not subject to the state public records law. ...

  14. Bousquet: Gov. Rick Scott cuts state losses in long voting fight


    Gov. Rick Scott doesn't like to lose.

    But he lost an important court case dealing with voting rights and last week he decided to cut his losses, along with those of Florida taxpayers who have footed the bill for more than 2 ½ years.

    Scott dropped his appeal of a federal court order that said the state's efforts to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens during the 2012 presidential campaign violated a federal law that prohibits "systematic" removals less than 90 days before a federal election. And he issued a statement that signaled a new willingness to work with county elections supervisors, who opposed the purge....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott has dropped his appeal of a federal court order that said the state’s efforts to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens during the 2012 presidential campaign violated a federal law that prohibits “systematic” removals less than 90 days before a federal election.
  15. Media outlets ask court to protect relevant materials in FDLE suit


    Florida news outlets asked a state judge Monday to issue an emergency "preservation order" to compel Gov. Rick Scott and all three Cabinet members to protect and preserve any materials that may be relevant to their lawsuit alleging a Sunshine Law violation in the ouster of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

    Attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen filed a 10-page emergency motion with Circuit Judge George Reynolds in Tallahassee that covers virtually all forms of what's known in legal circles as ESI, or electronically stored communication, including text messages on a smart phone....