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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

Email: sbousquet@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SteveBousquet

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  1. As budget talks crash, Corcoran wants 'continuation' budget, no new spending

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A bitter stalemate over spending forced the Legislature to suspend work on a budget Monday, stirring more bad blood among Republicans and putting an on-time adjournment in doubt.

    Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, bargained privately by phone through last Friday and were making progress on issues such as public school spending and raises for state workers....

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes and Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R- Stuart, talk during a joint session of the Florida Legislature in March. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. After private talks crash, Corcoran wants 'continuation budget'

    Blog

    TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Legislature, still getting over the shock of former Miami Sen. Frank Artiles' resignation after a racist tirade, faced a new problem Monday as backroom talks on a new state budget suddenly collapsed.

    That led to a flurry of insults and brought negative comparisons of the Legislature to the perpetually gridlocked Congress, along with talk of extending the 60-day session by at least one week....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes
  3. Talks stall as Senate blasts House's 'continuation budget' offer

    Blog

    Negotiations between the Florida House and Senate on a state budget are at a stalemate after the House on Sunday proposed a "continuation budget" for the fiscal year that begins July 1, meaning that current spending levels would remain flat with no cuts, no new initiatives and no hometown projects for legislators.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, made his offer in response to what he said was a liberal, free-spending Senate obsessed with higher spending and a lack of respect for the House. Corcoran viewed that as a serious offer, in part because it would keep in place the current spending levels for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida for another 12 months....

    Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart
  4. Four extraordinary days at the Florida Capitol: How Artiles went from defiance to resignation

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Last Monday afternoon, at the start of the state Legislature's seventh week of session, Sen. Audrey Gibson raced up three floors to present one of her bills to the Florida Senate's Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

    Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, stood behind the lectern and tried to catch her breath as she told colleagues about a 6-year-old from back home who had been involuntarily committed to a mental-health facility for three days for a "temper tantrum." She filed legislation to require such facilities to speed up their evaluation of the about 30,000 admitted each year under the state's Baker Act....

    Frank Artiles, R-Miami, resigned his seat in the Florida Senate on Friday.  (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
  5. Controversy over Miami lawmaker's racial slur engulfs Florida Legislature

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Controversy raged in the Florida Capitol for a second day over Sen. Frank Artiles' racist and sexist tirade, distracting and slowing down the Legislature on Thursday, just two weeks before the end of the annual lawmaking session and building pressure on the Miami Republican to resign — or risk the potential career-ending condemnation of the Senate.

    The Senate abruptly canceled formal meetings Thursday afternoon as leaders scrambled to find a quick resolution to Artiles' political future. As a Senate lawyer began taking sworn statements about Artiles' Monday-night verbal assault on two black colleagues at a bar near the Capitol, the senator hired a defense attorney who argued Artiles' use of the n-word and other insults are constitutionally protected free speech....

    Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles denied none of the language when he apologized Wednesday on the Senate floor.
  6. Florida's top court green lights voting right for felons ballot question

    State Roundup

    Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

    TALLAHASSEE — Voting rights advocates and civil rights attorneys cheered the Florida Supreme Court's unanimous ruling Thursday approving language of a proposed amendment that would restore voting rights for convicted felons, saying the decision is a major step toward erasing a lingering vestige of Jim Crow.

    "It's a game changer," said Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political scientist who said the ruling could alter the state's political landscape by opening elections up for hundreds of thousands of new voters. If supporters collect the needed signatures to get on the measure on the 2018 ballot, it could energize Democratic-leaning voters in a year when Florida will elect a new governor and a U.S. senator....

    The Florida Supreme Court's ruling that approved the language of a proposed amendment restoring voting rights for convicted felons was hailed by advocates on Thursday.  [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  7. Voting rights ballot initiative clears Supreme Court legal hurdle

    Blog

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that a proposed constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of convicted felons can appear on the 2018 ballot.

    The court's decision, written by Justice Fred Lewis, is an important legal victory for voting rights advocates, who are collecting signatures from around the state to place the question before voters next year....

  8. Legislative complaint seeks to expel Miami lawmaker from Senate over 'racist rant'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Forced by Florida Senate leaders to show contrition, Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles stood on the chamber floor Wednesday morning and told his colleagues he was sorry for insulting them in private using curse words and a racial slur.

    "I extend a heartfelt apology to my colleagues and to all those I have offended," Artiles began, reading from prepared remarks.

    It was not enough....

    State Sen. Frank Artiles, R- Miami, had been reported to Republican leaders for using offensive language directed at state Sen. Audrey Gibson and others. [Scott Keeler | Times]
  9. Another session will end with the reviled write-in loophole intact

    Blog

    Every session of the Florida Legislature is partly defined by what doesn't get done, and the 2017 session is no different.

    Another year will pass without lawmakers closing the notorious "write-in loophole" that candidates, consultants and political parties use to manipulate election outcomes by preventing independent voters from having a voice in primary elections in all 67 counties. A 1998 amendment to the state Constitution says all voters can vote in a primary if the primary winner will have "no opposition in the general election," but state courts have ruled that write-ins are legitimate candidates. Neither the Republican Party of Florida nor the Florida Democratic Party has shown much enthusiasm for closing a loophole that protects Florida's closed primary system....

    Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, presented a workers' compensation bill to the House Tuesday.
  10. On Tom Lee's cue, Richard Corcoran calls for TIA audit

    Blog

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran is demanding that state auditors review a $1 billion expansion project at Tampa International Airport as part of a budget deal to end the legislative session.

    Corcoran told the Times/Herald he has concerns about the project's cost and possible construction delays that can only be answered by an independent review by the state auditor general, who is appointed by the Legislature....

    Corcoran and Lee
  11. Tampa airport expansion trapped in Tallahassee crossfire

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — The biggest public works project in Tampa history, a $2.3 billion expansion of Tampa International Airport, is at the center of a nasty power struggle among local legislators that could derail their work on a state budget.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants state auditors to review the first phase of the airport project, citing possible cost overruns and construction setbacks based on TV reports....

    State Senator Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, right, hugs House Speaker. Richard Corcoran, R- Trinity, left, in the Florida House. Corcoran is supporting Lee's request to audit TIA's finances.  [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  12. Political clash over regional transit divides Tampa Bay senators

    Blog

    Open warfare among Republican Tampa Bay legislators claimed its latest casualty Monday, dooming hopes for legislative unity as a gridlocked region looks for solutions to its chronic transportation problems.

    Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, offered a bill (SB 1672) in a Senate committee to create a revamped Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, the latest in a decade-long and so far ineffective effort to craft a regional approach to transit, including a light rail system linking Tampa and St. Petersburg....

    An iconic image of Tampa Bay is gridlock on the Howard Frankland Bridge.
  13. Rare tie vote defeats Tom Lee's move to kill sports subsidies

    Blog

    A rare tie vote in a Senate committee Monday stopped effort by a Tampa Bay lawmaker to abolish a program to allow pro sports businesses to qualify for state subsidies -- technically keeping alive the possibility that public money could be available to help build a future home for the Tampa Bay Rays.

    In an political issue rife with Tampa Bay tensions, the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee killed a bill (SB 236) by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would have wiped out a 2014 program to give subsidies to qualified sports entities....

    The Trop
  14. See what a Bill Nelson vs. Rick Scott Senate race might be like

    Blog

    Florida's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, has been on the political stage since 1972 -- the year 18-year-olds first got the right to vote, the year of the Watergate break-in and the year of Richard Nixon's re-election as president.

    From that first election to the state House from Brevard County, Nelson has been a member of Congress, the elected statewide treasurer and, since 2000, a member of the Senate. Not since Spessard Holland, who retired in 1970, has Florida had a four-term senator and for Nelson to get there, it's looking like he'll have to cross paths with Gov. Rick Scott. ...

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who has won statewide office five times, says he always runs scared.
  15. Sen. Bill Nelson, 'scared as a jackrabbit,' anticipates showdown with Rick Scott

    Legislature

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has been on the political stage longer than anyone in Florida, since 1972 — the year of Watergate and President Richard Nixon's re-election.

    That's staying power. It's no wonder that at 74, he's not ready to retire.

    Nelson, the only Democrat holding statewide office, has led a charmed political life, winning three Senate races against weak Republicans.

    But that may be coming to an end. He wants a fourth term, and his likely opponent is Republican Gov. Rick Scott....

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., was in the state Capitol last Thursday to bolster the spirits of Democratic legislators by telling them that better days are ahead in 2018. House Speaker Richard Corcoran also invited him to address the House. [STEVE BOUSQUET   |   Times]