Bipartisan, Bicameral Group Introduces Bill to Help States Combat Cyber Threat

Washington, DC  – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Mark Warner (D-VA), founders of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, along with Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help state, local, and tribal governments more effectively counter cyber threats. The State Cyber Resiliency Act would set up a cybersecurity grant program that would provide resources for states to develop and implement effective cyber resiliency plans. This includes efforts to identify, detect, protect, respond, and recover from cyber threats. It also encourages states to invest in the cybersecurity workforce. 

According to a 2015 Ponemon Institute study, 50 percent of state and local governments faced six to 25 cyber breaches in the past 24 months. In the past year, hackers also breached more than 200,000 personal voter records in Illinois and Arizona. Most states use less than two percent of their IT budget on cybersecurity.

“It’s critical that our state and local governments invest in cyber preparedness and training, and I’m proud to work with Senator Warner and Representatives Kilmer and Comstock to create a grant program to help our communities with this effort,” said Gardner. “Colorado is at the forefront of our nation’s cybersecurity efforts and home to the National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs. As the threat of cyber warfare intensifies, it’s important that local governments are properly prepared to deter and protect themselves from cyber-attacks.”

“One of the fastest growing threats to our country is the danger posed by cyberattacks. From data breaches at retailers like Target and Home Depot to ransomware attacks on cities’ transportation networks, cyberattacks pose a significant threat,” said Warner. “Despite the velocity of the threat, 80% of states lack funding to develop sufficient cybersecurity. I’m proud to partner with Reps. Kilmer and Comstock, and Sen. Gardner, who co-chairs with me the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, to provide grants to state and local jurisdictions so they are better prepared to take on the emerging challenges in the cyber domain.”

“Cyber-attacks are a threat to our communities,” said Kilmer. “Too often we hear stories of personal records being compromised by hackers punching holes in our cyber defenses. It’s time we had better protection for consumers, workers, businesses, and governments. I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce a plan that gives states more tools to fight back against these attacks and encourage the continued growth of a talented cyber workforce in our region and across the nation.”

“As Chairwoman of the Research and Technology Subcommittee, cybersecurity has been a focus of mine since the beginning of my Chairwomanship,” said Comstock. “I hear stories everyday where personal information of Americans is compromised and used by cyberterrorists. Cybersecurity has become even more critical to our nation as government agencies and private companies rely on technologies that are susceptible to hacking. The resources in the State Cyber Resiliency Act will give states the means necessary to protect their citizens from cyberattacks like those at OPM and IRS so that personal information remains private.” 

"We are proud to support Senator Gardner's proposed legislation to direct more funding to cybersecurity," said Ed Rios, CEO of the National Cybersecurity Center based in Colorado Springs. "The collaborative work with Senator Warner is exactly what we need to protect our state and country against cyber threats."

"This legislation represents a great partnership between Washington, the states, and local governments to address a very serious issue. The Colorado Municipal League is proud to support Senator Gardner's efforts," stated Sam Mamet, Colorado Municipal League Executive Director.