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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. Hurricane Irma: What we learned

    Hurricanes

    Now that Hurricane Irma has staggered through Florida like a drunken tourist, it is telling that the early lessons from the storm's impact around Tampa Bay are less about life-and-death and more about quality of life.

    We learned the value of having generators on stand-by. Of knowing the rules of the road at intersections without signals. Of knowing your neighbors. And of pre-brewing some good coffee for the morning after the storm....

    As evacuees showed up at shelters with their pets, local officials learned a lesson about the importance of  planning for pets as part of hurricane preparation. Here Samantha Belk says goodbye to her maltese, Gardolf, until after the hurricane in a locker room at John Hopkins Middle School, a St. Petersburg shelter that welcomed pets and people with special needs, on Sunday. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  2. Irma will wreak havoc on state economy and tax revenues, top economist says

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Irma is gone, and Florida is discovering a massive fiscal storm looming on the horizon.

    The Legislature's chief economist says the hurricane's impact on the economy will make the state budget "much worse" next year, and possibly 2019 and 2020.

    Amy Baker delivered that sobering news Friday to lawmakers as part of a revised long-range outlook used as the foundation for critical spending decisions on schools, social services, public safety and other areas that affect nearly 21 million Floridians in a state where a balanced budget is required by the Constitution....

    Recovery costs from Hurricane Irma will be between $25 billion and $46 billion, the state’s chief economist, Amy Baker, told lawmakers in a revision to Florida’s long-range budget outlook.
  3. Historic flooding swamps Florida as Irma sweeps north

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Hurricane Irma's ferocious storm surge and flash floods overwhelmed large sections of Florida with some of the most severe flooding the state has seen in more than 100 years.

    After drenching the vulnerable chain of islands in the Keys, followed by parts of Miami, Naples, Orlando, Tampa and Lakeland, Irma finally left town Monday after inundating Jacksonville with flood waters as it spun toward Georgia....

    People walk through a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs on Monday. [Eric Thayer/The New York Times]
  4. The Long Road Home: Millions of Floridians await return

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The millions of Floridians who are part of the largest evacuation in U.S. history are already itching to go home as Florida mobilizes a post-Irma mass recovery effort of troops, trucks, boats and volunteers from Key West to Jacksonville.

    Some evacuees fled hundreds of miles to escape the storm, and those crowds will soon come flooding back to the state.

    They're likely to be met with traffic delays, a fuel shortage, debris cleanup and possibly blocked access to their communities — which is why state and local officials have a singular message: Don't try to go home yet....

    Interstate 175 is nearly empty Monday morning in St. Petersburg. Officials fear roads will clog as evacuees return.
  5. Latvala raises money with hurricane looming

    State Roundup

    While many of his constituents were focused on Hurricane Irma and mandatory evacuations for parts of Pinellas, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Republican candidate for governor, was thinking about raising campaign money.

    Latvala had scheduled a campaign kickoff fundraiser weeks ago for Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday evening and, while grumbling about Gov. Rick Scott and Pinellas emergency management officials being too alarmist, Latvala said he saw no reason to cancel his event....

    In a handout satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Irma moves towards the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm in the Caribbean Sea, Sept. 8, 2017. Scientists say that a perfect mix of meteorological conditions has conspired over the past week to make the storm unusually large and powerful. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via The New York Times) ?ˆš???€š‚? ̈?€š€ FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY ?ˆš???€š‚? ̈?€š€ XNYT128
  6. Irma evacuation triggers cancellation of Florida Gators' game

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — The University of Florida on Thursday called off a scheduled football game on Saturday that would have put thousands of Gator fans on I-75 on the last day Floridians could use the highway as a hurricane evacuation route.

    "As the hurricane's track has approached the state of Florida, it's become obvious that playing a football game is not the right thing to do," UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement posted on the university's web site. "The focus of our state and region needs to be on evacuation and relief efforts. There is a tremendous amount of stress currently on the roads of this state, and the availability of gas, water and other supplies are at critical levels. Playing a college football game Saturday would only add to that stress."...

    Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, seen here in 2014, was to host the Gators game against the Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday at noon. But concerns about Hurricane Irma forced UF officials late Thursday to cancel the game.  [EVE EDELHEIT | Tampa Bay Times]
  7. Another FHP official retires early because of illegal quota on tickets

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A growing controversy over illegal ticket quotas at the Florida Highway Patrol has cost a second high-ranking trooper his job — this time the agency's No. 2 official.

    Lt. Col. Mike Thomas, the FHP's deputy director, took early retirement as of Sept. 1 and accepted responsibility for an internal email that encouraged troopers to write at least two tickets an hour, even though quotas are forbidden by law....

    This May 31 email from Lt. Col. Mike Thomas led to the early retirement of the 30-year veteran. It encourages troopers to write at least two tickets per hour, a quota that is illegal in Florida. Note that it was received by the supervisor of Thomas, the agency's top ranking official, FHP Director Gene Spaulding. [State of Florida]
  8. Four signs that Richard Corcoran is running for Florida governor

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he won't announce whether he'll run for governor until seven months from now, after the 2018 legislative session.

    But the Pasco County Republican is laying the groundwork for a candidacy in a field where Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has a big head start and where Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has joined the fray....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran will announce his decision in 2018.
  9. How Richard Corcoran prepares for possible run for governor

    Blog

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he won't announce whether he'll run for governor until seven months from now, after the 2018 legislative session. But the Pasco County Republican is laying the groundwork for a candidacy in a field where Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has a big head start and where Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has joined the fray....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Rep. Kim Daniels at a Jacksonville community event in July.
  10. Tampa lawyer leads campaign opposing voting rights for felons

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Tampa lawyer is launching a campaign to oppose a 2018 statewide ballot measure that would restore the right to vote for more than a million convicted felons in Florida, except those convicted of murder and felony sex crimes.

    Attorney Richard Harrison has formed a nonprofit group, Floridians for a Sensible Voting Rights Policy, and created a website to reach voters.

    Harrison is taking on the American Civil Liberties Union and others, including the Clearwater-based group Floridians for a Fair Democracy, who are trying to change the state's requirement that convicted felons wait at least five years after leaving prison before they can seek restoration of their civil rights, including the right to vote....

    Richard Harrison formed Floridians for a Sensible Voting Rights Policy.
  11. Richard Corcoran has tough words for a dozen local tourism councils

    Blog

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, sent letters Friday to a dozen local tourism councils that have cut ties with Visit Florida, saying all 12 are under the "false presumption" that doing so would shield them from legislative oversight.

    The tourism boards, in Tampa Bay, South Florida and throughout the state, expressed concern with various provisions of a new state law, championed in Tallahassee, that imposes new accountability provisions on how tourism money is spent in Florida....

  12. Restore voting rights to most felons? No way, Tampa lawyer says

    Blog

    A Tampa lawyer is launching an effort to oppose a 2018 statewide ballot initiative that would restore the right to vote to more than a million convicted felons in Florida, except those convicted of murder and felony sex crimes. Attorney Richard Harrison has formed a non-profit group, Floridians for a Sensible Voting Rights Policy, and created a website to reach voters....

    Tampa attorney Richard Harrison
  13. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political ladder.

    Peters, a three-term Treasure Island Republican, had little use for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, in the 2017 session, as they battled over state money for tourism and his attacks on local government home rule. She's also an ally of Corcoran's enemy, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. Fed up with Corcoran, Peters won't be back, and will instead run for a seat on the Pinellas County Commission in 2018....

    Peters
  14. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    On Wednesday, Corcoran called on the Constitution Revision Commission to put a ballot question to voters in 2018 to repeal Florida's system of partial public financing of statewide elections.

    Corcoran, who appointed nine of the CRC's 37 members, says public campaign financing is "a gross waste of taxpayer money and is nothing more than welfare for politicians. All it does is protect the insider political class. You really have to be clueless or just plain selfish to accept money from our state coffers that could go to our schoolchildren, first responders or be put back in the pockets of our taxpayers."...

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  15. Corcoran: Let voters end taxpayer-subsidized political campaigns

    Blog

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor -- not yet anyway -- but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    Corcoran called on the Constitution Revision Commission Wednesday to put a ballot question to voters in 2018 to repeal Florida's system of partial public financing of statewide elections....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes