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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. 1 in 4 Florida adults aren't registered to vote, according to non-partisan group


    TALLAHASSEE — Nearly five million people in Florida who are eligible to vote aren't registered, according to a nationwide non-partisan group that helps improve the accuracy of state voter rolls.

    The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) also estimates that there are also nearly 1 million problematic registrations in Florida. They are people who are registered in another state, two Florida counties, or who have died or changed their names....

    Voters line up in front of the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Petersburg on Nov. 8. A non-partisan group estimates that more than a quarter of Florida's adult-age population isn't registered to vote. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Starting the veto clock? Rick Scott likely to get budget Tuesday


    As a long Memorial Day weekend gets underway, the biggest and most controversial piece of legislation to emerge from the 2017 session, the budget, was still in the Senate's hands on Friday -- a safe distance from Gov. Rick Scott's veto pen.

    A knowledgeable Capitol source says the Senate plans to deliver the $82.4 billion budget to Scott next Tuesday, May 30 (Senate President Joe Negron's office did not confirm that timetable). If that happens, a 15-day clock begins ticking and Scott would have until June 14 to act, but what are expected to be extensive line-item vetoes, along with a possible veto of the K-12 public education funding formula, won't take the governor nearly that long. Last year, Scott issued $256 million in promised vetoes even before he received the budget....

    A breakdown of the proposed new state budget by the Florida Association of Counties.
  3. John Tupps is Gov. Rick Scott's new communications director


    Gov. Rick Scott has named John Tupps as his new communications director, replacing Jackie Schutz Zeckman, who was promoted to chief of staff. The appointment takes effect June 5.

    Tupps, 33, is currently vice president of government relations at VISIT Florida and is a former deputy chief of staff at the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. His new job is a homecoming of sorts as he previously worked in Scott's press office from 2011 to 2016 in various roles, including deputy communications director....

    John Tupps (upper left) is Gov. Rick Scott's new director of communications.
  4. Gov. Rick Scott vetoes 'liquor wall' repeal


    Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday vetoed the hotly-debated "liquor wall" bill that would have repealed a Prohibition-era law that prevents grocery stores from selling hard liquor. The governor offered a hint of his thinking a day earlier when, in response to a reporter's question, he said one factor would be the past struggles with alcoholism among members of his family. But he said the decision came down to his signature issue -- jobs....

    Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday vetoed the hotly-debated "liquor wall" bill that would have repealed a Prohibition-era law that prevents grocery stores from selling hard liquor.
  5. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Scott has the last word on one of the session's most heavily-lobbied issues — one that divided powerful special interests. The bill on his desk would repeal a decades-old law that prohibits groceries from selling vodka, gin and other spirits, even though they can sell beer and wine....

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  6. Environmentalists praise pick of Noah Valenstein as DEP chief


    Two of Florida's premier environmental organizations praised Tuesday's decision by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet to appoint Noah Valenstein as the state's new environmental secretary.

    Representatives of the Everglades Foundation and Audubon Florida both hailed the choice of Valenstein, a former executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District who previously served as Scott's environmental adviser....

  7. Will Rick Scott sign or veto 'liquor wall' bill? Two big clues here


    Gov. Rick Scott has until Wednesday to decide the fate of one of the most heavily-lobbied bills in years, the removal of the so-called "liquor wall" so that Walmart, Target and other big box stores can sell liquor. Publix and local chain liquor stores tried mightily to kill the bill but it squeaked through the Senate, 21-17, and the House, 58-57, after years of intense lobbying on both sides. The lobbying is now aimed at Scott -- and the clock is ticking....

    If a single House member voted differently, the "liquor wall" bill would not be on Gov. Rick Scott's desk.
  8. 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" passed 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
  9. 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.”
  10. 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....

  11. 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.
  12. 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]
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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....

    Barry Gilway, president of Citizens Property Insurance, listens during the Citizens Property Insurance Board of Governors meeting in 2012. [AP Photo | Lynne Sladky]