By Abbie Gruwell
Reaching a strong cybersecurity posture takes substantial coordination between states, localities,and the federal government.
Cybersecurity Task Force Co-chair and California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D) met with staff members from the U.S. Senate and Department of Homeland Security last week to promote state leadership in cybersecurity and data privacy, share lessons learned, and encourage further collaboration and support from the federal government.
In a meeting with the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Irwin reinforced the need for funding for cybersecurity and elections security and delivered a letter of support for SB 1846, a bipartisan bill that provides grants for states.
State legislators and legislative staff have already worked through many of the issues before Congress, including data privacy, algorithmic bias, the “internet of things” and artificial intelligence—and can serve as a great resource. Irwin offered her advice to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which is leading the federal data privacy bill. Irwin authored a first-in-the-nation bill regulating internet of things devices, led a discussion on the topic at a previous task force meeting and served as a resource for other legislators considering similar legislation.
She also met with staff members from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The agency has been a strong partner for the Cybersecurity Task Force and works closely with legislators, secretaries of state, and governors’ offices to deliver cyber education and technical assistance.
Irwin expressed concerns about voter confidence in elections security and the cyber workforce shortage in state government. Irwin, along with CISA and NCSL staff, also discussed new ways to work together to ensure states have the resources and expertise they need to protect their infrastructure, elections and IT systems.
The NCSL Task Force on Cybersecurity will meet Dec. 9, in Scottsdale, Ariz., as part of the NCSL Capitol Forum to discuss ransomware attacks, elections security, cyber emergency declarations and more.
Abbie Gruwell is senior committee director of NCSL’s Communications, Financial Services, and Interstate Commerce Committee in the Washington, D.C., office.