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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. Winners, losers under new House rules for hometown projects


    When it comes to hometown porkbarrel spending in Florida's next budget, this should be a good year for Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties for two reasons: Key members of House Speaker Richard Corcoran's inner circle are from Miami, and the Senate's lead budget-writer is Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater.

    But projects must clear new hurdles this session, and some clear winners and losers are emerging. Corcoran and the House instituted new rules for projects that require that each one must be filed as a standalone bill, must be heard by a House committee and must be paid for with one-time, nonrecurring money....

    Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami: 'You have to work your stuff.'
  2. Richard Corcoran talks of 'consequences' at prayer breakfast


    On a day when stark differences in priorities by the House and Senate came into sharper focus, House Speaker Richard Corcoran spoke at the annual legislative prayer breakfast Wednesday at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee. The yearly event is sponsored by the Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition, part of the national conservative group founded and led by Ralph Reed and based in suburban Atlanta....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran spoke at Wednesday's Legislative Prayer Breakfast in Tallahassee.
  3. Should vacation rentals be regulated by local government? House bill says no way.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Despite opposition from a group of beach communities across the state, a Florida House subcommittee on Tuesday passed a bill that prevents cities and counties from passing new ordinances that restrict vacation rentals of private homes.

    The 9-to-6 vote by a House subcommittee sends the measure to the 30-member Commerce Committee, which is top heavy with lawmakers from South Florida, where opposition to short-term vacation rentals has been intense, and five lawmakers from Tampa Bay....

    “Individuals’ private property rights have been violated.”
Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, sponsor of HB 425
  4. Over city and county protests, vacation rentals bill gains ground


    Despite intense opposition from Miami-Dade County, the city of Miami and several beach communities, a second House subcommittee passed a bill Tuesday that blocks cities and counties from adopting new restrictions on the use of private homes for vacation rentals. But ordinances that were in effect as of June 1, 2011, are grandfathered and can stay in effect.

    The 9-6 vote in the Careers & Competition Subcommittee sends the bill to the full Commerce Committee, a 30-member panel that is top-heavy with members from South Florida, one of the nation's hottest tourist destinations and where passions on both sides of the short-term rental controversy run very high....

  5. Cities and counties battling Florida Legislature over home rule


    You really can fight City Hall. Especially if you're in the Florida Legislature.

    Cities and counties are furious over what they see as a power grab by Tallahassee politicians, but House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, says local governments have used the cloak of "home rule" to enact what he sees as "runaway regulations. Story is here....

    The downtown Miami skyline
  6. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties


    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    That's what Florida cities and counties are saying as they battle legislators who want to limit the power of local government, led by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes.

    "Our founders got it right," Corcoran says. "When they set up a Constitution, they basically said that the federal government exists with these enumerated powers. What's not enumerated, all of it, belongs to the states. Every bit of it."...

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  7. Troubled by Richard Corcoran's firm's legal work, Rick Scott's office demands action from state agencies


    Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff on Monday directed every state agency to report cases in which the agency pays a law firm that also employs a member of the Legislature, saying it "could easily be perceived as a conflict of interest." ...

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes
  8. Five budget battles to watch this week


    Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

    The House and Senate will propose separate budgets of their own for Florida's 20 million residents this upcoming week.

    Scott's plan is to spend $83.5 billion, more than $1.5 billion higher than the current budget....

    Lake Okeechobee
  9. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion



    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

    The House and Senate will propose separate budgets of their own for Florida's 20 million residents this upcoming week.

    Scott's plan is to spend $83.5 billion, more than $1.5 billion higher than the current budget....

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  10. Rep. Cary Pigman facing DUI charge after stop on Turnpike


    State Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, was charged with driving under the influence early Friday after a state trooper stopped his Jeep on Florida's Turnpike in St. Lucie County and a Breathalyzer test showed that his blood alcohol level was .15, nearly twice the legal limit.

    A Florida Highway Patrol arrest affidavit said Pigman's vehicle, with the Florida license tag H55, was weaving in and out of its southbound lane as the lawmaker headed home to Okeechobee County after the third week of the legislative session in Tallahassee....

    Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park
  11. 'Trial lawyers are on the march' and Florida Chamber's 'Capitol Days' are more like 'Dreary Days'


    One by one, Republican lawmakers delivered dreary news at the Florida Chamber of Commerce's "Capitol Days" Tuesday in Tallahassee. On issue after issue, pro-business bills are stalled, from curbing growing abuses in property insurance claims to changing the workers' comp system. Business is battling a lawyer-friendly bill to require courts to add interest payments in cases won by plaintiffs.

    "Trial lawyers are on the march," Steve Knopik, CEO of the Bealls clothing retailer, told Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, who didn't argue. "It feels like we're just getting trampled on."...

     Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said it's "just wrong" for Richard Corcoran to force House members to go on record on such a controversial issue when it has no chance of passage because a similar bill isn't teed up in the Senate.
  12. Rick Scott's spokeswoman calls Richard Corcoran 'hypocritical'


    Gov. Rick Scott's chief spokeswoman, Jackie Schutz, called out House Speaker Richard Corcoran Tuesday for being "very hypocritical" in his efforts to abolish Enterprise Florida as the state's taxpayer-funded program to attract jobs to the state.

    Schutz asked the Times/Herald if she could comment in response to a story about an unusual coincidence in which Corcoran's law firm, Broad & Cassel, has earned more than $235,000 doing legal work for Enterprise Florida and two related corporations over the past three years. Corcoran, who has called Enterprise Florida an "absolute cesspool," had no role in any of the legal work and said he was not aware that his firm did work for Enterprise Florida. (The previous reporting is here)....

    Jackie Schutz (left) is Gov. Rick Scott's chief spokeswoman
  13. Small world: Enterprise Florida and Richard Corcoran's law firm


    A priority for House Speaker Richard Corcoran in this year's legislative session is abolishing Enterprise Florida, the "unreformable" taxpayer-supported program that uses state money to attract private employers that Corcoran considers a complete failure.

    Clearly, Enterprise Florida is no fan of Corcoran, so it may come as a surprise that the agency has repeatedly given legal work to Broad & Cassel, the law firm that employs the House speaker....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes
  14. Speaker Richard Corcoran: 'We're ready' for a special session


    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, told business and civic leaders in Pensacola that he and the House are ready for a special session this spring.

    He made the remark to the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club Friday in a luncheon speech about the House's insistence that Enterprise Florida be abolished. He called EFI an "absolute cesspool" that's "unreformable." What's needed, Corcoran said, is "a true and fair and just free market system," a remark that brought applause from the audience of about 200 people.  Here's Corcoran, verbatim, on the need for a special session if necessary to abolish Enterprise Florida:...

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, center, spoke with former Senate President Don Gaetz, left, after his Tiger Bay speech.
  15. Why is Richard Corcoran hitting the road now?


    As most Florida lawmakers headed home over the weekend, House Speaker Richard Corcoran hit the road and continued to build a statewide profile.

    Corcoran delivered what sounded like a stump speech Friday to 200 people at the monthly meeting of the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola, in a solidly-Republican city that twice supported Gov. Rick Scott, his top enemy in the current furor over jobs and tourism....

    Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes