Make us your home page

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. The nine little words that could cause a legislative train wreck


    The 2017 legislative session begins in Tallahassee in about two-and-a-half weeks and the Senate and House are still hashing out details of a critical joint rule so that writing a budget can get underway.

    Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, tells the Times/Herald that he and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, are making progress, but stumbling blocks remain, including a standoff over nine words in House Rule 5.14: "An appropriations project bill may only request nonrecurring funds."...

    Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart
  2. Richard Corcoran takes his fight with Rick Scott behind closed doors


    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who vowed a "new era of transparency," called a private caucus of Republican lawmakers and urged them to "stand strong" in the face of opposition to his plan to shut down the state's two largest economic development programs.

    Corcoran invited his GOP colleagues to a Wednesday night reception at the Edison, a trendy Tallahassee restaurant where they watched a taxpayer-funded video that accused Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida of "corruption." The video was made public Thursday....

    Despite vowing that he would set a new standard for transparency, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran held a private meeting with his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, refusing to let a Times/Herald reporter to attend. [Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. House Democrats call out Republicans' closed-door meeting


    House Minority Leader Janet Cruz on Thursday responded to a closed-door caucus meeting held by Republicans in Tallahassee to discuss taking down Enterprise Florida.

    "Transparency when conducting the people’s business is of the utmost importance and that’s why our caucus room is always open to the public," Cruz, D-Tampa, said in a statement....

    Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, hugs members of her family at a ceremony where Democrats elected her minority leader of the Florida House.
  4. At closed caucus, House Speaker Corcoran rallies lawmakers to keep fighting Gov. Scott and 'stand your ground'


    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, summoned his fellow Republicans to a private event at an upscale bar and restaurant in Tallahassee Wednesday night, and nearly all of them showed up to hear his message.

    The House Republican caucus meeting at The Edison was closed and a Times/Herald reporter was not allowed to cover what Corcoran said was a social function. The speaker, who has emphasized transparency and accessibility, closed the doors as he played a five-minute video eviscerating Enterprise Florida. The video was produced by the House Majority Office, meaning it was paid for by taxpayers and played at a private event where the media was excluded. The video repeatedly showed the message "No more" and included a graphic that said: "No more picking winners and losers."...

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran rallies his members at a closed-door caucus on Wednesday.
  5. Troubled Pinellas board would face ethics training in House bill


    The Florida House is forging full speed ahead with a plan to impose higher ethics laws on most city and town elected officials and to thousands of political appointees to local boards, including the Pinellas outfit that's the target of a grand jury investigation following a series of reports in the Tampa Bay Times....

    Rep. Larry Ahern supports mandatory ethics training for Pinellas Construction Licensing Board members.
  6. A stony silence between Governor Scott and Richard Corcoran speaks volumes


    In the heated battle over job incentives and tourism money, Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran are goading each other with tweets, press releases and Scott's media events, like the ones in Tampa on Monday and Panama City on Tuesday.

    But are these two strong-willed Republicans actually talking to each other? No, and that's rarely a good sign in Tallahassee....

  7. House Speaker Richard Corcoran's next target: Florida Lottery


    House Speaker Richard Corcoran has demanded extensive financial records from colleges, universities and tourism and economic development boards. He refused to pay "outrageous" legal fees to a state agency. He threatened to sue the chief justice of the state Supreme Court. He planned to impeach a circuit judge.

    Here's the latest. Corcoran plans to file a lawsuit against the Florida Lottery for signing a long-term contract for online games, including a new smartphone app, that costs nearly $700 million but would bind future legislatures, which Corcoran considers a violation of state law. If Corcoran succeeds, the contract would be thrown out and the Lottery would have to bid it all over again....

  8. Angry Corcoran dares Senate to sue him; Negron says it's not happening


     Richard CorcoranFlorida House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Thursday dared the Senate to make good on a threatened lawsuit challenging the House's power to impose new budget-writing rules that affect how the Senate crafts a budget, but Senate President Joe Negron responded by saying it's not going to happen....

  9. Showdown looms as Senate considers new budget-writing rule


    At Florida's Capitol, far from the noise over tourism spending, a bigger clash looms between the House and Senate over stark differences in the Legislature's sole constitutional responsibility: the writing of a state budget.

    For weeks, Senate President Joe Negron and his lieutenants have worked on a proposed new joint rule in response to House changes to the budget process, including a separate bill for each member project and a filing deadline of March 7, the first day of session. The Senate opposes those changes and considers them a procedural straitjacket that gives the House too much control over writing a budget while limiting public access to spending decisions....

  10. Tourism mounts a show of force to fight 'Corcoran's AFP shills'


    As the Florida House prepares to demolish the foundation of Gov. Rick Scott's job-creation agenda, tourism leaders have a chance to show off their marketing skills to the political world Wednesday. The stage is a 1 p.m. meeting of the 15-member House Careers & Competition Subcommittee, which is expected to pass a bill eliminating Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida and mothballing nearly two dozen economic incentive programs....

    The list of incentive programs targeted for elimination by the Florida House fills a full page.
  11. House targets 23 'flawed' incentives for permanent elimination


    The suddenly endangered Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida are getting all the attention, but a House plan to overhaul state economic development programs would wipe 23 specific incentives off the books. The House bill is an assault on Gov. Rick Scott's taxpayer-funded tool kit to attract jobs, as a House analysis says the incentives Scott supports are "impediments to normal market forces, operating in a manner where government selects winners and losers."...

    A House report shows 'flawed' economic incentive programs in bright red for emphasis.
  12. Bousquet: John Morgan, candidate or not, is reshaping Florida politics

    State Roundup

    John Morgan is determined to leave a political mark on Florida, one way or the other.

    The Orlando personal injury lawyer, famously familiar from his ads on TV, buses and billboards, is traveling the state and getting a feel from voters about whether he should run for governor in 2018.

    In so doing, he's teasing Florida Democrats with the notion of something they have never had: a well-known candidate with name recognition who's wealthy enough to fund his own race, just like Rick Scott or Donald Trump....

    John Morgan, head of Morgan & Morgan law firm, already won a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.
  13. Charlie Reed, 'an unruly giant,' is honored and remembered


    Charlie Reed's formidable presence roared back to life Friday inside the Alumni Center at Florida State University. This, after all, is what a memorial service is all about.

    Reed, who died in December at age 75, was the leader of higher education systems in Florida and California for more than three decades and was a feared and respected fixture in Tallahassee, where he also served as Gov. Bob Graham's chief of staff in 1984-85....

    Charlie Reed, as shown on the front of the program at his memorial service.
  14. Florida's six-year lobbying ban would be strictest of all 50 states


    The Florida House's proposed six-year ban on lobbying by legislators and high-level state officers would be the strictest ban of its kind in the country, and no other state even comes close, a state-by-state analysis shows.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures has published an informative report of post-employment lobbying restrictions in all 50 states, which shows that at least 34 states have a form of a cooling-off period but none is more than two years, which is what's in current Florida law and the Constitution. The NCSL report is here....

  15. Jack Latvala sets sights on 2018 governor's race

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — On a quiet Sunday afternoon, Republican Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater invited a group of friends over for drinks, appetizers and political conversation.

    The topic around the pool patio was Latvala's interest in running for Florida governor next year. The consensus on that day in October was that he has as much of a shot as anyone in what could be a crowded field in a wide-open race in 2018. Gov. Rick Scott can't run again and is expected to seek a U.S. Senate seat....

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, 65, has more than $2 million in a political committee, which would provide enough money to kick-start a statewide race.