The House of Representatives on July 20 voted to approve the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act July as part of a slate of cyber bills that passed under suspension of normal rules. The bill would create a $500 million-per-year grant program run by the Department of Homeland Security to help state and local governments improve their cybersecurity.

State, local, tribal, and territorial governments will have to present a comprehensive cybersecurity plan to be able to access and use any grant money from the program.

“Cyberattacks have increased at a rapid pace this year and pose a persistent threat to our national security,” House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a press release. “The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act is an essential step to ensure our state and local governments are not left vulnerable to cyberattacks and I am pleased that the House came together to pass this critical bipartisan legislation.”

The bill was initially introduced and passed in the last Congress before stalling in the Senate. Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Security, and Innovation subcommittee chair Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., reintroduced the legislation, along with fellow bipartisan sponsors this year. It was later advanced out of committee towards the end of May.

The bill originally called for $400 million per year in grant funding but was amended to provide an additional $100 million per year in grant funding.

The bill also directs DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to create a strategy to improve state, local, tribal, and territorial cybersecurity. The bill also would create a State and Local Cybersecurity Resiliency Committee to make sure there is an ongoing conversation between CISA and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments about their cyber needs.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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