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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. Supporters of state parks tell Rick Scott: 'Veto this bad budget'


    Another statewide advocacy group wants Gov. Rick Scott to reject the state budget and call the Legislature back to work. Supporters of state parks asked Scott to "veto this bad budget" the Legislature approved two weeks ago, accusing lawmakers of turning their backs on land conservation and park protection.

    In a release, the Friends of Florida State Parks called the 2017 session "a huge disappointment for our environment and specifically our state parks. Not only did the Legislature zero out dollars for any land acquisitions in Florida Forever, but it also completely rebuffed efforts by Gov. Scott and the Department of Environmental Protection to fully fund the land management requests of DEP."...

    Tubing at popular Itchetucknee Springs State Park
  2. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    School superintendents from Miami to Pensacola want him to trash the entire $23.7 billion public school budget that would increase spending $24 per pupil next year.

    That would force Scott and the Legislature to start over in a special session, with the new fiscal year only six weeks away.

    The last time an education-only veto happened was in 1983, when Gov. Bob Graham blasted his fellow Democrats for their "willing acceptance of mediocrity" in public education....

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  3. What would a veto of Florida's education budget do?


    Every day brings Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature closer to an inevitable clash over the state budget.

    County school superintendents from Miami to Pensacola want Scott to trash the K-12 education chunk of the budget that increases spending by $24 per pupil next year. A similar education-only veto of that size hasn't happened since 1983 when Gov. Bob Graham blasted his fellow Democrats' "willing acceptance of mediocrity" in public education....

  4. If Rick Scott vetoes public school budget, here's what happens


    Every day brings Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature closer to an inevitable clash over the state budget.

    County school superintendents from Miami to Pensacola want Scott to trash the K-12 education chunk of the budget that increases spending by $24 per pupil next year. A similar education-only veto of that size hasn't happened since 1983 when Gov. Bob Graham blasted his fellow Democrats' "willing acceptance of mediocrity" in public education....

    This faded AP dispatch from 1983 describes how Gov. Bob Graham dramatically vetoed the public school budget after midnight in his Capitol office.
  5. Election experts begged lawmakers for new tool to fight voter fraud, but got nothing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As President Donald J. Trump repeatedly makes unfounded claims of people having voted twice in the last election, Florida had an easy way to make it much less likely.

    But the state Legislature did nothing.

    Ignoring pleas from county election experts across the state, lawmakers ended the 2017 session last week without passing a law that would improve the reliability of voter rolls by making it easier to find voters who are registered to vote in Florida and another state or who are registered in Florida and died in another state....

    White House chief strategist Steve  Bannon was registered to vote in two states, New York and Florida, before he contacted Sarasota County to remove his name from the voter rolls in November. A bill that would have allowed Florida to join a nationwide database that would better detect double registrations failed to pass this year's legislative session. [Associated Press]
  6. Rick Scott names Jackie Schutz Zeckman as new chief of staff


    Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday appointed his communications director and chief spokeswoman, Jackie Schutz Zeckman, to succeed Kim McDougal as chief of staff.

    "Jackie has been on my team since my first year in office and has done a great job leading my communications efforts and conveying my vision of Florida as the best destination for families and businesses," Scott said in a statement. "Along with her work on my communications team, Jackie was an integral part of my reelection efforts and has continued to be a trusted advisor in all aspects of implementing our agenda for Florida. I have full confidence that she will do an outstanding job as my chief of staff.”...

    Jackie Schutz Zeckman is Gov. Rick Scott's new chief of staff
  7. With Latvala alongside, Rick Scott renews threat to veto budget


    MIAMI -- Gov. Rick Scott blasted the Florida Legislature again Monday for refusing to support VISIT Florida's tourism marketing efforts and he again floated the threat of vetoing the entire budget.

    At a press conference at Jungle Island, a Miami tourist attraction, Scott was joined by Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who joined in the governor's criticism and said he hopes Scott calls a special session that would restore VISIT Florida's money....

    Gov. Rick Scott at Jungle Island in Miami Monday.
  8. Citizens Insurance CEO helped his boss sell his business, then got $100,000 in raises

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The chief executive of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. assisted the chairman of Citizens' board in selling his company at a time when that board member was granting raises to the CEO.

    Citizens chief executive Barry Gilway confirmed he acted as a go-between for Christopher Burr Gardner, who was trying to sell his longtime Winter Park insurance agency, and a Chicago businessman who became its buyer....

    Citizens CEO Barry Gilway got a $50,000 raise in 2015, bringing his annual salary to $500,000. He got another one months later.
  9. All eyes on Gov. Rick Scott as he considers budget veto options


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott keeps a veto pen on his desk, but considering his total frustration with the 2017 Legislature, it looks more like a machete.

    Now the question is whether he's willing to use it.

    Ignored by his fellow Republicans, Scott is considering massive line-item vetoes in the new $82.4 billion budget. He's also considering something more drastic: a veto of the entire budget, which hasn't happened in 25 years....

    State Senate President Joe Negron hopes to speak with Scott soon.
  10. Richard Corcoran calls for special session on medical marijuana


    House Speaker Richard Corcoran is joining the ranks of those calling for a special session to pass medical marijuana legislation after lawmakers failed to reach agreement on the issue last Friday.

    "I think there should be a special session on medical marijuana," Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, told the Times/Herald on Wednesday.

    Last Friday, lawmakers hit an end-of-session deadline without finishing a deal to implement Amendment 2, which passed with 71 percent of voters' support in the November election. Since then, activists including United for Care chairman John Morgan and Florida for Care executive director Ben Pollara, the men behind the medical marijuana campaign....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran
  11. Rep. Jay Fant enters Republican primary for attorney general


    Rep. Jay Fant didn't waste any time. On the morning after the legislative session ended, the two-term state House member from Jacksonville declared his candidacy for attorney general Tuesday, jumping into what's expected to be a crowded Republican primary for one of three wide-open Cabinet seats in 2018.

    Julian Fant III is a 49-year-old member of a prominent Jacksonville family, a University of Florida law school graduate and father of four children who launched his campaign with stops in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. His wife Lauren attended the Tallahassee kickoff as did Capitol lobbyists for hospitals, banks and small business owners. (Attorney General Pam Bondi is barred from running again because of term limits)....

    Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, is running for attorney general.
  12. FSU's John Thrasher on USF: It wasn't us


    Tampa Bay legislators were still being pounded with criticism from local leaders and the USF community Monday as they returned to the Capitol for a one-day overtime session.

    "Phone calls, texts, emails, you name it,"said Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, most of whose district is in Hillsborough. "It's a real hornet's nest."

    The Legislature is poised to pass and send to Gov. Rick Scott a bill that will delay USF's plan to become the state's third preeminent state university — and get the tens of millions of dollars that go with it....

    FSU President John Thrasher
  13. Despite Bull backlash, lawmakers pass bill that costs USF millions

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — An outraged USF "Bull Nation" could not stop the Legislature from passing a bill Monday that makes it harder for the school to become the state's third "preeminent" university and reap many millions of new dollars each year.

    In a one-day extra session, lawmakers voted to require 60 percent of a university's students to graduate in four years as a condition of preeminence....

    Sen. Darryl Rouson, D- St. Petersburg, said Monday he and other Tampa Bay legislators are getting besieged with texts, emails and phone calls over a bill that tooks some funding away from USF. "It's a real hornets nest," Rouson said.  The bill had the full support of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  14. Joe Negron: USF's allegations 'entirely unsupported by facts'


    As the Legislature returns to pass a budget Monday, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has written an op-ed column for the Tampa Bay Times. In it, Negron rejects USF's contention that it was a victim of a legislative maneuver to deny the Tampa university preeminent status and millions of dollars a year now enjoyed by UF and FSU.

    Negron is the Legislature's leading proponent of moving to a new four-year graduation standard of 60 percent for a university to reach preeminence, and that standard awaits an up-or-town vote Monday by both houses....

    Senate President Joe Negron
  15. USF to lose out on millions because of last-minute bill change


    TALLAHASSEE — University of South Florida leaders thought this was the year that they would finally claim their prize.

    Bills before the Legislature since January had cleared the way for USF Tampa to achieve a years-long goal — being named one of Florida's "pre-eminent" universities — with all the prestige and millions in extra state dollars that come with it. The school was set to join the ranks of only the University of Florida and Florida State University with the state's highest seal of approval....

    Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said the change for preeminent status shouldn’t surprise USF, as he’s been arguing for it all session.