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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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....

  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 


  9. 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. ...

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is introduced before speaking at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting at the Ferguson Law Center in Tampa on Friday, May 19, 2017. In his speech, Levine made it clear he has yet to make a decision about whether he will run for governor, and is not sure what party he would choose if he does run.
  10. 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.
  11. Florida highway chief: There is no FHP speeding ticket quota

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Moving swiftly to tamp down a growing furor in the media and with the motoring public, state highway safety chief Terry Rhodes issued a memorandum late Thursday night to the top brass at the Florida Highway Patrol.

    Her message was blunt and unambiguous: "Quotas have no place within the Florida Highway Patrol."

    Rhodes responded to the Times/Herald's coverage of an internal email coverage of an internal email that FHP Maj. Mark Welch sent to troopers in an eight-county region around Tallahassee, telling them that now that they have received a 5 percent raise, they need to write two tickets an hour while on an overtime traffic enforcement program. The troopers who got the order are in charge of patrolling a nearly 100-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from Madison County west to Gadsden County — a haven for speeders....

    Terry Rhodes, executive director of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, dismissed a directive given by a commander of FHP's north Florida operation that set goals for speeding tickets. "Quotas have no place within the Florida Highway Patrol," Rhodes said in a memo to FHP's top brass late Thursday. [Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles]
  12. Highway safety chief: 'Quotas have no place' at Highway Patrol

    Blog

    Moving swiftly to tamp down a growing furor in the media and with the motoring public, state highway safety chief Terry Rhodes issued a memorandum late Thursday night to the top brass at the Florida Highway Patrol. Her message was blunt and unambiguous: "Quotas have no place within the Florida Highway Patrol."

    Rhodes responded to the Times/Herald's coverage of an internal email that FHP Maj. Mark Welch sent to troopers in an eight-county region around Tallahassee, telling them that now that they have received a 5 percent raise, they need to write two tickets an hour while on an overtime traffic enforcement program. The troopers who got the order are in charge of patrolling a nearly 100-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from Madison County west to Gadsden County -- a haven for speeders....

  13. How Adam Putnam's votes in Congress might haunt his bid for governor

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Adam Putnam was the youngest member of Congress when he went to Capitol Hill in 2001 — six months shy of his 26th birthday.

    Success came quickly to the newcomer from Bartow, whose grasp of policy and skill at messaging made him a protégé of House Speaker Dennis Hastert and No. 3 in the House Republican hierarchy.

    Along the way, Putnam racked up a record of votes, some of which haunt him as he seeks the Republican nomination for governor next year in a field that is yet to take shape....

    When he served in Congress, Adam Putnam was a loyal lieutenant of U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, who served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007. Hastert served 13 months in prison starting in 2016 after admitting he had sexually abused boys he supervised while he worked as a high school wrestling coach. Putnam, far right, is seen here in 2007 along with Rep. Don Young of Arkansas as Hastert speaks. [Getty Images]
  14. FHP brass has no right to demand ticket quota, lawmaker says

    Blog

    A key legislator who oversees the Florida Highway Patrol's budget said a high-ranking FHP official had no authority under state law to order troopers to write more tickets.

    Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, reacted Thursday to a Times/Herald report that Maj. Mark Welch, who oversees troopers in an eight-county region that includes a long stretch of Interstate 10, told his staff in a recent email to write two citations an hour while working overtime. "Two citations each hour," Welch wrote. "This is not a quota." He called it "a goal to reach."...

    Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg
  15. Did FHP break the law in setting a 'goal' for the number of speeding tickets?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A high-ranking Florida Highway Patrol official wants every trooper under his command to write at least two tickets an hour, an order a key legislator says is against state law.

    "The patrol wants to see two citations each hour," Maj. Mark Welch wrote in an email to the troopers in an eight-county region based in Tallahassee that includes nearly 100 miles of Interstate 10. "This is not a quota; it is what we are asking you to do to support this important initiative."...

    Florida law prohibits the FHP from establishing citation quotas.