By Susan Parnas Frederick
NCSL co-hosted a congressional briefing this morning with the National Governors Association and the National Association of Chief Information Officers to address the state and local roles, responsibilities and challenges of cybersecurity.
NCSL was also joined by the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Management Association and the National Emergency Management Association to inform congressional staff of our shared mission between states, localities and the federal government in cybersecurity. The breakfast briefing was held in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Speaking on behalf of NCSL, Senator Thomas Alexander (R-S.C.), pictured above left, co-chair of NCSL’s Executive Task Force on Cybersecurity, addressed several aspects of state legislators’ prerogatives in the cybersecurity field.
- Cybersecurity issues are nonpartisan and not necessarily technical issues and all levels of government need to collaborate on cybersecurity best practices.
- NCSL supports federal legislation designed to assist states and localities with their cybersecurity practices.
- Even with tight state funding, states are making inroads toward securing state systems.
To illustrate the last point, Alexander recounted his experience with a South Carolina Department of Revenue breach several years ago. In the aftermath of that breach, he said, South Carolina centralized its information technology through a single state agency and requires employee computer privacy and security training.
Alexander also pointed to state legislators’ ongoing policymaking in their 2019 legislative sessions.
NCSL has supported two pieces of federal legislation that are favorable to states: S 1846, the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2019, and S 1065, the State Cyber Resiliency Act. Both bills contain provisions related to state cybersecurity funding, collaboration and technical assistance.
Susan Parnas Frederick is senior federal affairs counsel in NCSL's Washington, D.C., office.