Watch on Washington – February 19, 2020

NASCIO Endorses State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act

On February 10, U.S. Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and John Katko (R-NY), the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee, along with 12 other members, introduced H.R. 5823, the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act. H.R. 5823 would create a new $400 million annual grant program to state and local governments to improve their cybersecurity posture. The bipartisan legislation, which can be found , would require states to develop cybersecurity response plans that would be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to qualify for the grants. H.R. 5823 would also establish a 15-member State and Local Cybersecurity Resiliency Committee to advise DHS on the efficacy of the grant program. 

Senate Homeland Security Committee Urged to Provide Cybersecurity Resources to State and Local Governments

On February 11, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing titled, “What States, Locals and the Business Community Should Know and Do: A Roadmap for Effective Cybersecurity.” Witnesses for the hearing were Chris Krebs, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Amanda Crawford, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Information Resources and Chris DeRusha, Chief Security Officer in Michigan. All the witnesses agreed that the federal government should dedicate additional resources and expertise to local governments, who have been frequent target of high-profile ransomware attacks. 

Election Websites at Risk
A recent McAfee report found that election websites in more than a dozen battleground states lack basic cybersecurity functions that could allow them to be subject to hacking and misinformation campaigns. The cybersecurity firm found that across the 13 states studied only 54% of county websites had an encrypted front page and only 17% were on the DotGov domain. NASCIO has been a longtime advocate of the  of DotGov.