A dozen water dispensers throughout the state government complex in Annapolis have fallen victim to tight times.
In an attempt to save money, Gov. William Donald Schaefer ordered the water dispensers removed from the State House, the old Hall of Records building, the Central Services facility and three guard shacks.
"This appeared as a luxury that the state can no longer afford," said Paul E. Schurick, the governor's spokesman.
The hot-and-cold dispensers are leased from private contractors and the state stands to save "thousands of dollars a year," said Department of General Services spokesman Joe Harrison.
The order came directly from Schaefer, who had decided the portable units were a luxury "when there's plenty of good tap water available," said Harrison.
But the ban on the hallway oases will not affect the General Assembly, which monitors its own budget. "The water-cooler edict does not apply to the House and the Senate," said one legislative aide.
At least one state worker in Annapolis questioned the ban. "Why the water?" the worker asked. "Take the trash cans and leave the water."
A joint session of the House and Senate unanimously re-elected Lucille Maurer to another four-year term as state treasurer yesterday.
The former Montgomery County delegate is to be sworn in to her $100,000-a-year job next week, although the exact day has not been set.
Motorcycle riders scored a double victory in the General Assembly yesterday.
First, the House Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 to kill a bill that would have required adults to wear helmets when they ride motorcycles.
A few hours later, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously rejected a plan by state health officials to require motorcycle owners to buy catastrophic insurance, which pays for medical care and rehabilitation for injured riders.