New Mexico Files Cybersecurity Bills
Lawmakers in New Mexico from both sides of the aisle have introduced new legislation to defend the state against cyber-threats.
In the past six days, Republican senator Rebecca Dow and Democratic senator Michael Padilla have each filed a cybersecurity bill in a bid to ensure additional attack prevention measures are implemented in the country.
Dow’s bill (HB122), which was filed to a House committee on January 21, is centered around increasing the cybersecurity of public schools.
“The last thing we need while students are learning remotely is a cybersecurity breach. This further disrupts learning,” said representative Dow.
She added: “Dollars need to go to improving student outcomes, not to paying ransoms.”
Dow’s proposed legislation would require the introduction of a School Cybersecurity Program for the statewide education technology infrastructure network by the end of fiscal year 2026.
“It will cost about 43 million dollars to address the needs of all 87 school districts, and that’s based on a cybersecurity task force that we requested them to investigate and report back to us,” said Dow, “Now it’s time for us to fund that.”
Representative Padilla’s proposed legislation (HB98), filed on January 19, would allocate $1m to create an Office of Cybersecurity within New Mexico that would include a team of cybersecurity experts led by a chief officer.
Padilla said the office would act as “a repository for all best practices” and would “save districts money, time, and energy.”
“You have a place to better spend the dollars that are utilized and available to fight cybersecurity attacks,” said the senator.
On or before September 1 2022, the cybersecurity office would be required to develop and present to the governor and the appropriate legislative interim committee a preliminary five-year statewide cybersecurity plan.
“The preliminary plan shall include an assessment of cybersecurity services for governmental agencies and public educational institutions across the state compared to the standards established by various federal requirements for research grants or education or cybersecurity assistance programs,” states the bill.
Input for the plan would be requested from each local and tribal government within New Mexico.