House approves legislation to send cybersecurity resources to state, local governments

The House on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would send cybersecurity resources to state and local governments, which have been increasingly targeted by hackers during the past two years. 

The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which has bipartisan support, would create a $400 million grant program at the Department of Homeland Security to provide financial resources for state and local governments to defend against and respond to cyberattacks. 

The bill would also require DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop a strategy to shore up the cybersecurity of state, local, territorial and tribal governments. 

The bill now moves to the Senate, where timing on a vote is unclear. 

The legislation is sponsored by Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondCindy McCain joins board of Biden’s presidential transition team Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel MORE (D-La.) and Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodWomen of color flex political might Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel MORE (D-Ill.), the former and current chairs respectively of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity subcommittee,  and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel MORE (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the subcommittee.

Other sponsors include House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHouse passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel House panel pans ICE detention medical care, oversight MORE (D-Miss.), House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes legislation to crack down on business with companies that utilize China’s forced labor House Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack MORE (R-Texas), Reps. Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerIs Congress reasserting itself? Pelosi asks panels to draft new COVID-19 relief measure Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal MORE (D-Wash.) and Dutch RuppersbergerCharles (Dutch) Albert RuppersbergerHillicon Valley: ‘Fortnite’ owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Lawmakers introduce bill designating billion to secure state and local IT systems Lawmakers introduce legislation to establish national cybersecurity director MORE (D-Md.), and a dozen other bipartisan members. 

Richmond pointed to cyberattacks on city governments in Atlanta and New York, along with networks in his district in Louisiana, in calling for the defense of state and local networks. 

“For too long, the Federal Government

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Sandy Hook Promise Celebrates Passage of Youth Suicide Prevention Legislation by the United States House of Representatives

Sandy Hook Promise Celebrates Passage of Youth Suicide Prevention Legislation by the United States House of Representatives

PR Newswire

NEWTOWN, Conn., Sept. 30, 2020

House of Representatives Votes Unanimously in Favor of the STANDUP Act (H.R. 7293)

NEWTOWN, Conn., Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act of 2020. The bill encourages states to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention training to students in grades 6 through 12.   

(PRNewsfoto/Sandy Hook Promise)
(PRNewsfoto/Sandy Hook Promise)

“I can’t think of a better way to recognize National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month than the House of Representatives voting to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention programs for young people. It’s more important than ever to prioritize this kind of training,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. “We are deeply grateful to the bipartisan sponsors of the STANDUP Act—Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA— who championed this life-saving legislation.”

“Teaching students and school personnel to understand and recognize signs of violent or suicidal ideation in youth and their peers is crucial to stem the crises of youth suicide and violence,” said Rep. Peters. “Early prevention can mean the difference between life or death, and giving schools the tools they need to prevent and react to threats before tragedy occurs ensures we are protecting our children and school safety.”

“There is no higher priority than keeping our children safe.  By providing high quality screening and prevention training to school staff and peers, we can identify threats before they materialize, and ensure that those who are at risk get the mental health treatment they need,” said Rep. Bilirakis.

In addition to the STANDUP Act, the House voted in favor of three other suicide prevention bills supported by Sandy Hook Promise to help prevent youth suicide:

  • Mental Health Services for Students Act (H.R. 1109), which would provide funding for public schools across the country to partner with local mental health professionals to establish on-site mental health care services for students;

  • Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act (H.R. 4861) which would assist emergency departments to develop better suicide risk protocols through the Department of Health and Human Services; and

  • Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 5469), the first comprehensive federal legislation to addresses increasing suicide rates and mental health disorders among Black youth by providing grants for culturally appropriate mental health services in schools and community settings.

In June, Arriana Gross, a high school junior in Covington, Georgia and a Sandy Hook Promise Youth Advisory Board member, spoke to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee during a hearing on mental health about the importance of addressing teen suicide and mental wellness. In her testimony, Arriana asked the Committee to

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House passes legislation to boost election security research

The House on Wednesday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation intended to boost research into the security of election infrastructure. 

The Election Technology Research Act would establish and fund a Center of Excellence in Election Systems at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to test the security and accessibility of voting equipment, along with authorizing NIST and the National Science Foundation to carry out research on further securing voting technology. 

The bill is primarily sponsored by Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillLawmakers call for bipartisan push to support scientific research The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Presidential race tightens in key states The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump encouraged to call for calm during Wisconsin visit MORE (D-N.J.) and Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezEx-NFL receiver Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Big Ten skipping football season could be ‘catastrophic’ for athletes Eyes on the prize: Testing to end the coronavirus lockdown House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 MORE (R-Ohio), along with House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice JohnsonEddie Bernice JohnsonHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns Lawmakers call for bipartisan push to support scientific research The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump encouraged to call for calm during Wisconsin visit MORE (D-Texas), ranking member Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasProtecting COVID research at American universities from foreign hackers Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook’s Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick Republicans introduce bill to defend universities conducting coronavirus research against hackers MORE (R-Okla.) and almost a dozen other bipartisan sponsors. 

Sherrill said on the House floor Wednesday that it was “incumbent” on Congress to pass legislation enhancing election security in the wake of increasing concerns around election interference efforts.

“Amidst a global pandemic, targeted attacks on our democracy by our adversaries and political unrest, Americans deserve to know that our elections are secure,” Sherrill said. 

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved the bill last year. Both Johnson and Lucas spoke in the bill’s favor on the House floor, with Johnson arguing the bill was necessary “to help modernize and secure our election systems and ensure they are accessible to all.”

“The security and integrity of elections is fundamental to American democracy, and should not be a partisan issue,” Lucas added. 

Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns Democrats demand Ratcliffe resume in-person congressional election security briefings Democrats accuse Barr of helping Trump distract from coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.), chair of the House Administration Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, issued a statement expressing support for passage of the legislation

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