Suite of Strong Cyber Bills Signed Into Law

Governor Hogan signed multiple bills advancing cybersecurity resources, defenses, and partnerships – sealing a multi-year effort to create a stronger defense and response approach for this ever-increasing threat.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Senator Hester

Hackers are increasingly targeting states and local governments with sophisticated cyberattacks. Securing government information systems is critical, as a cyber intrusion can be very disruptive, jeopardizing sensitive information, public safety, and the delivery of essential services.

These bills will help lead local governments, school systems, and critical infrastructure toward a more cyber-secure future by dedicating needed resources and streamlining collaboration, communication, and coordination.

Maryland Matters topped their coverage of a far-ranging bill signing day in Annapolis with its coverage of the cybersecurity legislation:

“These are bills that really got into the weeds and it really matters that we do this well and in a very bipartisan, thoughtful manner to better protect Maryland’s government and, most importantly, Maryland’s people,” Ferguson said before the signing began.

“The General Assembly is passing bills for a modern society with modern values and upholding our commitment to keep Maryland moving forward,” Jones said.

Hogan said that, in signing these bills, he and the legislature’s presiding officers will “further strengthen Maryland’s standing as the cyber capital of America.”

Read the full Maryland Matters coverage of the cyber bills, and many others signed on May 12.

The three bills on cybersecurity include:

SB 754 creates a more precise State-level chain of resources and response processes for cyber threats, including a newly created Cyber Response Unit within the Maryland Department of Emergency Management. Full bill details online

SB 812 creates a Cybersecurity Coordinating Council, and develops standards for government entities (including counties) for cyber preparedness and systems.

HB 1205 setting standards and practices around public infrastructure, like public water systems, to better guard their systems from cyber attacks.

MACo had invested deeply in the work group process that eventually led to the multiple bills, and was engaged throughout the session (and its many travails, for these bills in particular) to advocate for improved resources and support for local governments facing online threats.

From MACo’s broadly-written testimony on the bills:

 

 

 

 

The bills’ lead Senate sponsor, Senator Katie Fry Hester, took to social media to post her appreciation:

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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