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Crist lets Broward slots bill become law

Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday signed 36 bills into law and allowed a bill that helps out Broward pari-mutuels become law without his signature. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jack Seiler, a Wilton Manors Democrat, allows the four pari-mutuels in Broward to add an additional 500 slot machines and expand their number of hours.

Crist, who said he was opposed to the expansion of gambling while campaigning for governor, also signed into law a measure on instant bingo that Gov. Jeb Bush had previously vetoed. The legislation allows bingo halls to sell instant tickets, which are very similar to instant tickets sold by the Florida Lottery.

Crist also signed into law a measure sponsored by Sen. Steve Geller, a Hallandale Beach Democrat, that allows condominium terminations without approval of 100 percent of condo owners. Crist also vetoed a bill that would have placed a moratorium on the creation of off-site emergency departments until 2009.

Other measures approved by Crist on Wednesday: A bill that lets the owners of grocery stores and malls to bar petition signature gatherers from coming on their property. Crist said that while he was "sympathetic" to those who want be where citizens gather, he said the solution "cannot be to force all  grocers, shopkeepers and restaurateurs to acquiesce to potentially disruptive politically activity at their commercial establishments."

Crist also signed SB 2092, which will set school board member salaries by a state formula instead of forcing board members to adopt their salaries at a public meeting.