State Affairs Committee sends cybersecurity bill to House floor

“Warfare in the future will be cyberwarfare."

Legislation intended to boost cybersecurity for Florida agencies cleared its third and final House committee.

The bill (HB 1297) looks for ways to beef up internet security not only for the state but for local agencies around Florida that turn to the state for support.

“As this thing moves we will continue to evolve these practices,” said Rep. Mike Giallombardo, a Cape Coral Republican and the bill sponsor. “We also have to look at ways to protect so we can support counties and school boards who receive breaches and may not have the resources to manage those things.”

The House State Affairs Committee unanimously voted in favor of the bill as it cleared its final House committee and heads to the floor for a vote by the full chamber.

Rep. Ralph Massullo, chair of the State Affairs Committee, said it’s important the state take more seriously its digital infrastructure.

“Warfare in the future will be cyberwarfare,” Massullo said, expressing a belief that hostile forces will some day seek ways to ensure the U.S. and state government cannot provide basic services to its citizens.

Rep. Robin Bartleman, a Weston Democrat, said she has been victim of a breach of local government hack. Her and her daughter’s private information was stolen after a security failure in Broward County schools.

“I hope this will prevent future breaches,” she said.

The legislation calls for coronavirus relief funds to shore up the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure. It also raises the standards for security for IT with state agencies.

A related appropriations request provides 15 full-time equivalent cybersecurity positions and $31.6 million from the General Revenue Fund to implement the provisions of the bill. The legislation creates the Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council within the Department of Management Services.

Giallombardo said it’s important the state, as it increases reliance on technology and digital information, accompany that with improvements to security.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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