- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii state senators made light work of the last handful of bills to cross over to the House before a legislative deadline.

The chamber passed seven bills Thursday, covering topics ranging from drones in the air to marine life in the seas.

Lawmakers are hoping to restrict unmanned aircrafts dotting the skies. The Senate advanced a bill (SB2608) that would prevent law enforcement agencies from using drones to conduct surveillance except under special circumstances. For example, a drone could be used if it is deemed necessary to prevent a terrorist attack, carry out a military operation or find a missing person. The measure was designed to protect people in Hawaii from privacy violations. Agencies would have to report on their use of drones and destroy information collected by the drones after 30 days.

“Vapers” who enjoy electronic cigarettes may soon find they can’t indulge in a nicotine boost in public places under a bill passed by the Senate. The measure (SB 2495) would also create a new tax on electronic cigarettes that’s similar to its traditional counterparts.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker, who sponsored the bill, said it was designed primarily to protect youth. She said young people are smoking electronic cigarettes for the first time.

“They think it’s safe, they think it’s not harmful, and they’re going to be going into a nicotine addiction at an early age,” Baker told The Associated Press.

Other bills that were passed sought to restrict fishing around the island of Niihau, an island with only about 130 inhabitants.

Thursday was the last day for lawmakers to pass bills out of the house of origin before crossing to the other chamber.

The House of Representatives met briefly, but lawmakers didn’t vote on any bills after a marathon session earlier this week.