The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs advanced the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act during an August 4 business meeting, sending the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.
The legislation, introduced by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would promote stronger cybersecurity coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and state and local governments.
The legislation would encourage Federal cybersecurity experts to provide state and local governments with information and resources to prevent and respond to future cyberattacks.
“Cash-strapped state and local governments often don’t have the expertise or resources needed to identify weak points in their networks that hackers can exploit. As cybercriminals continue targeting the networks of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments – it’s critical the Federal government provides them with the tools to fight back, protect sensitive information, and ensure they can continue to serve their residents,” said Chairman Peters in a press release. “I’m pleased this important legislation has advanced in the Senate, and will continue working to ensure its swift passage into law to bolster our cybersecurity defenses at every level of government.”
The bill would authorize the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to provide state and local governments with improved security tools, policies, and procedures. Additionally, the NCCIC would encourage the successful implementation of such resources, including collaborative cyber exercises.
The legislation would also build on previous efforts by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center to mitigate and respond to future cyberattacks.
“As we’ve seen from the many recent cyberattacks, hackers with malicious intent can and do attack state and local cyber infrastructure consistently. Sometimes, state and local governments need some additional help or access to expertise to address these threats,” said Ranking Member Portman. “I’m pleased the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has passed this bill to strengthen an existing relationship between the Department of Homeland Security and state and local partners to improve coordination and information sharing to help protect our IT infrastructure at all levels of government.”