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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. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Things went downhill fast Wednesday night as Ahern became a punching bag for all of the city's frustrations with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, the state's most vocal critic of cities and counties.

    It was Corcoran who led the charge for a referendum on a higher homestead exemption in 2018, who wanted to abolish tax-supported community redevelopment agencies and who supported an unsuccessful proposal to require cities to seek legislative approval for local ordinances that affect business and commerce. Corcoran demanded broad new accountability provisions on local tourism boards and he thought cities and counties should be prohibited from hiring outside lobbyists with tax money....

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  2. Rep. Larry Ahern's defense of Richard Corcoran goes off rails

    Blog

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council. Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Things went downhill fast Wednesday night as Ahern became a punching bag for all of the city's frustrations with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, the state's most vocal critic of cities and counties. It was Corcoran who led the charge for a referendum on a higher homestead exemption in 2018, who wants to abolish tax-supported community redevelopment agencies and who supported an unsuccessful proposal to require cities to seek legislative approval for local ordinances that affect business and commerce. Corcoran demanded broad new accountability provisions on local tourism boards and he thinks cities and counties should be prohibited from hiring outside lobbyists with tax money....

    Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, at Clearwater City Hall on Wednesday.
  3. Your guide to what Florida's top Republicans have said about Trump

    Blog

    Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.

    From his news conference Saturday, where he blamed “many sides” for the violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters to Tuesday’s news conference where the president said ”both sides” shared the blame, there’s been much material for the Party of Lincoln to repudiate....

    Trump
  4. What Florida's top Republicans are saying about Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.

    From his news conference Saturday where he blamed "many sides" for the violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters to Tuesday's news conference where the president said "both sides" shared the blame, there's been much material for the Party of Lincoln to repudiate....

    U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement on the violence this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia at the White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlottesville when a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. barreled into a crowd of counter-protesters following violence at the 'Unite the Right' rally. Two Virginia state police troopers were also killed when their helicopter crashed while covering events on the ground. [Getty Images]
  5. The FHP trooper behind quota on speeding tickets will retire Sept. 5

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Florida Highway Patrol official's call for troopers to meet ticket quotas has cost him his job.

    Maj. Mark Welch submitted a one-sentence letter of resignation from his $117,000-a-year job Wednesday, mere hours after Attorney General Pam Bondi called his actions "stupid.

    Welch will retire Sept. 5, ending a law enforcement career of more than 35 years.

    Previous coverage: Did FHP break the law in setting a 'goal' for the speeding tickets?...

    Major Mark D. Welch, Troop Commander of Troop H, wrote an email asking his employees that he wants them to write two citations each hour. "This is not a quota," he wrote. His resignation is effective Sept. 5. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  6. Pam Bondi says Trump 'needed to state the organizations'

    Blog

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a strong supporter of President Donald J. Trump, said Wednesday he was not specific enough in his initial reaction to last Saturday's violent car attack by a driver in Charlottesville, Va., that killed a woman who was protesting white supremacists.

    Bondi said Trump's widely-criticized statement decrying violence "on many sides" was "kind of a catch-all," and she said: "I think he needed to state the organizations, and he did." Trump did, two days later. He cited the groups by name in a prepared statement Monday and called them "criminals and thugs."...

    Pam Bondi spoke to reporters Wednesday in Tallahassee.
  7. Candidate Adam Putnam: Fight hatred, don't fight over statues

    Blog

    MONTICELLO -- Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam told party activists Tuesday night that the violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend "is just awful. And it's hate and it's violent and it's dark, and it's got no place in our society and all of us ought to stand up together and say we're just not going to do that. That's not welcome in our society, that type of white supremacy and hatred and just going after each other."...

    Adam Putnam, left, and Richard Corcoran at a Republican Party barbecue in Monticello Tuesday.
  8. FHP chief vows, again, that ticket quotas are prohibited

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's top highway safety official said Wednesday that state troopers will be reminded that ticket quotas are illegal, as the job status of an official who called for quotas remains "under review."

    Terry Rhodes, executive director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, told Gov. Rick Scott and the three elected Cabinet members that quotas have "never, ever" been used to reward or punish troopers....

    FHP license plate.
  9. Senate shakeup impacts education budget panel

    Blog

    Reshaping his leadership team for his final year in office, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, shook up the Senate power structure in a big way Tuesday as he stripped some veteran Republicans of key committee assignments and rewarded others with new, high-profile assignments.

    The sweeping, highly unusual changes follow a year in which Negron faced private criticism from some GOP senators who felt he too often acquiesced to the demands of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a key piece of Negron legislation on higher education. In June, in an uncharacteristic public display of frustration, the affable Negron lashed out at a "fake narrative" that he guaranteed senators' votes to seal a deal between Scott and Corcoran on key legislation to bring the rocky 2017 session to a close....

    Sen. David Simmons, who openly questioned this year's big education bill, loses his key education budget post in the reorganization.
  10. Senate shakeup: Joe Negron changes many leadership posts

    Blog

    Reshaping his leadership team for his final year in office, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, shook up the Senate power structure in a big way Tuesday as he stripped some veteran Republicans of key committee assignments and rewarded others with new, high-profile assignments.

    The sweeping, highly unusual changes follow a year in which Negron faced private criticism from some GOP senators who felt he too often acquiesced to the demands of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a key piece of Negron legislation on higher education. In June, in an uncharacteristic public display of frustration, the affable Negron lashed out at a "fake narrative" that he guaranteed senators' votes to seal a deal between Scott and Corcoran on key legislation to bring the rocky 2017 session to a close....

  11. Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran teaming up again -- on taxes

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott called for an amendment to the state Constitution Monday to require that any future tax and fee increases in the Legislature must be approved by a "supermajority" vote. 

    Scott issued a five-paragraph press release that did not include a definition of a supermajority or a proposed wording of the amendment, which gave this rollout, to be followed by announcements Tuesday in Jacksonville and on Friday in Tampa, the look of an unfinished work in progress....

    (L-R): Senate President Joe Negron; Gov. Rick Scott; House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
  12. State troopers get days off for writing tickets -- that's wrong, too

    Blog

    The Times/Herald's discovery of a Florida Highway Patrol ticket quota ordered by a high-ranking official has rocked the agency and caused political problems with members of the Legislature.

    "It's really, really, really unfortunate," said Terry Rhodes, executive director of the patrol's parent agency, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, who issued a memo last Thursday emphasizing that ticket quotas are illegal....

    A recent memo to Miami-Dade troopers on citations.
  13. Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran want to make raising taxes super hard

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott wants to make it harder to increase taxes by changing Florida's Constitution to require a new "supermajority" vote by the state Legislature.

    Scott floated the idea for the first time Monday. He provided few details and his staff said he won't for several weeks.

    It will be debated in the next legislative session in January.

    Scott did not clarify whether a supermajority means three-fifths of both houses of the Legislature, or the higher two-thirds threshold. He will be in Jacksonville today and in Tampa on Friday to promote the tax measure....

    Gov. Rick Scott did not specify what he meant by “superma-jority” of legislators for a tax hike. 


  14. GOP wooed by Putnam, Latvala at midsummer gathering

    State Roundup

    ORLANDO — Gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Jack Latvala displayed distinct styles this weekend as they schmoozed with Republican activists at the state party's midsummer gathering.

    Putnam, the agriculture commissioner from Bartow, hosted breakfast Saturday for about 200 county GOP leaders at the Rosen Shingle Creek, where his 20-minute stump speech was partly biographical, partly his "conservative, positive vision" of Florida's future and partly a call to arms for the faithful to get worked up about the 2018 cycle. ...

    "This is perhaps one of the most joyous moments in my life to know that the journeys that my forefathers went through were not lost,?€š€ said Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami.
  15. Putnam and Latvala work the crowd at midsummer GOP event

    Blog

    ORLANDO -- Gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Jack Latvala displayed two distinct styles this weekend as they schmoozed with Republican activists at the state party's midsummer gathering in Orlando.

    Putnam, the agriculture commissioner from Bartow, hosted breakfast Saturday for about 200 county GOP leaders at the Rosen Shingle Creek, where his 20-minute stump speech was partly biographical, partly his "conservative, positive vision" of Florida's future and partly a call to arms for the faithful to get worked up about the 2018 cycle. "The left is coming for us," Putnam told the crowd, warning of how out-of-state liberals like George Soros and Tom Steyer will push for the "Californiaization" of Florida. ...

    Adam Putnam with GOP activists in Orlando on Saturday.