One Year After Ransomware Attacks on Syracuse City School District & Onondaga County Public Library, Rep. Katko Passes Bipartisan Measure to Bolster Cybersecurity for State and Local Governments

September 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Rep. John Katko (R, NY-24) today announced the House of Representatives passed the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, legislation he introduced after the Syracuse City School District and Onondaga County Public Library System fell victim to major ransomware attacks. The attacks resulted in computer outages, and cost the Syracuse City School District thousands of dollars to restore the networks. Following the attacks, Rep. Katko held roundtable discussions with local stakeholders and introduced the bipartisan bill alongside U.S. Reps. Cedric Richmond (D, LA-2), Derek Kilmer (D, WA-6), Michael McCaul (R, TX-10), Dutch Ruppersberger (D, MD-2), Bennie G. Thompson (D, MS-2), Mike Rogers (R, AL-3), and Lauren Underwood (D, IL-14). 

Often lacking the resources and guidance to defend their networks, in recent years state and local governments have become frequent targets for cyberattacks. To address this issue, the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act authorizes a new grant program at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to combat cybersecurity vulnerabilities on state and local government networks. The bill also includes provisions from legislation Rep. Katko previously introduced, including a directive for the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a resource guide for use by state, local, and tribal officials to protect against and mitigate cyber-attacks.

“Following ransomware attacks on the Syracuse City School District and the Onondaga County Public Library System, I introduced the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act. This bipartisan bill, which passed the House today, will ensure state and local governments have the necessary resources and guidance to be prepared for, respond to, and recover from cyberattacks,” said Rep. Katko. “While the cyberattacks in Central New York last year underscored the need to bolster our cybersecurity, these threats have been growing for years. To ensure our community is protected against crippling, and often costly cyberattacks, I will continue working with Republicans and Democrats to pass commonsense legislation that addresses our nation’s cyber vulnerabilities.”

Specifically, H.R. 5823, the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act:

  • Establishes a $400 million DHS grant program that incentivizes States to increase their own cybersecurity funding.
  • Requires DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop a strategy to improve the cybersecurity of State, local, tribal, and territorial governments.
  • Requires State, local, tribal, and territorial governments to develop comprehensive cybersecurity plans to qualify for grant eligibility. 
  • Establishes a State and Local Cybersecurity Resiliency Committee so State, local, tribal, and territorial governments can advise CISA on their cybersecurity needs.
  • Instructs DHS to develop a resource guide for use by State, local, Tribal, and territorial government officials to identify, prepare for, and respond to cyberattacks. 

 

###