Bipartisan bill would give cybersecurity grants to state and local governments

Bipartisan bill would give cybersecurity grants to state and local governments
© Greg Nash

Bipartisan lawmakers in both chambers proposed local, state and tribal grants to boost cybersecurity. 

On Thursday, Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Derek KilmerDerek KilmerLawmakers eye cyber help for states Dems urge Trump to enact 'tough and smart' cyber policy Overnight Cybersecurity: Sessions recuses himself from Russia probe | Bill would help states with cybersecurity | Typo took down Amazon cloud MORE (D-Wash.), along with Sens. Cory GardnerCory GardnerLawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities Overnight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds security flaws in 'panic buttons' Trump’s budget jeopardizes America’s public lands heritage MORE (R-Colo.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: Senators tout progress on Russia probe | Trump pressed to secure critical infrastructure | House beefs up cellphone security Dem: House intel feud an 'embarrassment' Overnight Finance: Dems seek probe of acting SEC chief | Defense hawks say they won't back short-term funding | Senate seen as start point for Trump infrastructure plan | Dems want more money for IRS MORE (D-Va.), introduced the State Cyber Resiliency Act, which would fund Federal Emergency Management Agency–administered grants for cybersecurity planning and implementation. 

“Despite the velocity of the threat, 80% of states lack funding to develop sufficient cybersecurity,” said Warner in a press release announcing the bill. 

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The bill unites four legislators with cybersecurity bone fides — Warner and Gardner co-chair the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Comstock chairs the research and technology subcommittee, and Kilmer co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition’s cybersecurity task force. 

The funding would be welcome by states and localities that have recently found themselves at the center of cyberattacks. Last year, Illinois and Arizona each had voter databases hacked in attacks attributed to Russia. 

“Cities manage substantial amounts of sensitive data, including data on vital infrastructure and public safety systems. It should come as no surprise that cities are increasingly targets for cyberattacks from sophisticated hackers,” said National League of Cities President Matt Zone, a council member in Cleveland, Ohio, in the launch press release. 

“Cities need federal support to provide local governments with the tools and resources needed to protect their citizens and serve them best."