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Delaware governor: ‘Well past time’ for cyber bill

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) said on Wednesday that it is “well past time” for Congress to pass a major cybersecurity bill.

“It is well past time that Congress acted and stopped abdicating its responsibility for the nation’s security to the president, who can only accomplish so much through executive action,” he said at a summit in Washington, according to prepared remarks shared with The Hill.

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Particularly, he said, Capitol Hill should take steps to allow companies and government agencies to share data with each other about possible threats. Lawmakers should also give companies incentives to protect their networks, he added, such as granting them protection from some liability.

“Even as those issues remain caught in Washington’s gridlock, however, the federal government can and must step up its support for state efforts through increased training and tools for our agencies,” he added.

One way to do that would be a competitive grant for state and local governments to beef up their cyber protections, Markell proposed.

He said he would “strongly support” that type of measure.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have all but stalled on legislation to protect the country’s cyber networks.

Legislation setting a national standard for companies to notify people if their data could have been stolen by hackers — a popular proposal in the wake of major data breaches at Target, Home Depot and other stores — has gone nowhere.

An effort to allow companies and agencies to share information has gotten held up in the Senate, where critics have raised alarms that it could allow spy agencies such as the National Security Agency to gather people’s sensitive information.

The issue of cybersecurity is especially important to Delaware, a state in which more than 1 million corporations are incorporated.