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Legislation unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate this month would facilitate coordination between DHS and state and local governments to protect against cyber threats.

Sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act (S. 2520) would permit the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to provide state and local actors with access to improved security tools, policies and procedures related to countering cyber threats. Upon request, NCCIC would be required to provide operational and technical cyber training to state and local government entities, and to assist with sharing actionable cyber threat indicators, defensive measures, and information about cyber risks and incidents. NCCIC would be directed to coordinate, as appropriate, with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center in carrying out these responsibilities.

S. 2520 will now move on to the House of Representatives for consideration. The final version of the bill as passed by the Senate carried several differences from a version that was approved by a Senate committee in August. For example, the earlier version of the bill would have allowed DHS to offer cyber grants to state and local governments, but that authority was removed from the final bill that cleared the chamber.