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 Christian KilmerDems reverse course on White House parks plan Dems urge Trump to reinstate top cyber post Congress to require FEC report on foreign money in elections MORE (D-Wash.), along with Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Colorado governor sets up federal PAC before potential 2020 campaign Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE (R-Colo.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Russia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless 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."