By Derrick DePledge
Syngenta Hawaii, the biotechnology firm, spent the most on lobbying during the second half of the legislative session, according to the state Ethics Commission.
Biotechnology companies fought off a bill that would have set labeling requirements on genetically modified produce sold in the state.
Overall, interest groups spent $1.1 million on lobbying from March 1 through April 30. Here are the top five spenders:
*Syngenta Hawaii -- $50,000
*Altria Client Services (tobacco) -- $40,836
*Blue Planet -- $35,148
*Technicolor (film industry) -- $31,707
*Hawaii Medical Service Association -- $28,441
During the first half of the session, gay rights advocates who unsuccessfully pushed for a marriage equality bill topped the lobbying list. (Gov. Neil Abercrombie, responding to U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June that legally married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits, has called lawmakers back for a special session in late October to consider a gay marriage bill.)
Interest groups spent $998,375 on lobbying from January 1 through Feb. 28. Here are the top five:
*Equality of Hawaii -- $87,672; Equality Hawaii Inc. -- $10,471; Total -- $98,143
*Altria Client Services (tobacco) -- $50,552
*Hawaii Tourism Authority -- $42,500
*Hawaii Medical Service Association -- $27,189
*American Beverage Association -- $26,980