House OKs 2008 budget

The Georgia House of Representatives has passed the state's fiscal 2008 budget 156-7, sending it to the Senate for consideration next week.

In approving the $20.2 billion budget ╉ a nearly 6 percent increase in spending over this year, the House also opened up a potential can of worms involving teen counseling centers.

An amendment to the budget bill was offered by state Rep. Martin Scott, who wanted to insert language to keep any state, federal or private money from being used by state-run centers to give teenagers birth control or "reproductive counseling" without a parent or guardian's consent.

The amendment flared passions on both sides of the issue, but Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson blocked a vote on the change. Richardson said he'd allow Scott and other supporters to push forward with the idea in a separate state bill, but "we're not going to make law in the budget."

With that out of the way, the budget passed easily. Richardson said he'd do his best to see that Scott's new bill gets a hearing.