P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2019
AUSTIN – Several bills authored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, that bolster state cybersecurity, expand the cyber workforce and better protect sensitive data have been signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. These bills will take effect on September 1, 2019.
Below is an overview of Senator Nelson's cybersecurity bill package:
- Cybersecurity: SB 64 strengthens the Department of Information Resource's oversight of agency cybersecurity, assists local entities in responding to cyber breaches, grows the cybersecurity workforce pipeline, and helps secure the electric grid. "Data is the new oil, and the state possesses highly sensitive, highly sought-after information that must be protected," Senator Nelson said. "We are working on several fronts to ensure that Texas is well positioned to defend against cyber threats. With billions of attempted hacks each day, we must remain vigilant. As threats evolve, so must our responses."
- State Cyber Improvements: SB 819 modernizes information technology across state systems with the Department of Information Resources assisting agencies with the digitization of data. "By better coordinating our efforts, we can ensure our agencies have the resources they need to modernize systems and shield private information from hackers," said Senator Nelson.
- School District Cybersecurity: SB 820 assists school districts across Texas with improving their cybersecurity foundations and requires districts to notify parents if students' information has been subjected to a cybersecurity breach. "As a former teacher, I know there is a significant amount of sensitive information flowing through school district systems," said Senator Nelson. "SB 820 helps school districts to develop and maintain a cybersecurity framework - an important step in protecting student data."
- Cybersecurity Curriculum: As filed, SB 2180 established the Computer Science Strategic Advisory Committee to develop and provide recommendations for increasing computer science instruction and participation in public schools. Senator Nelson successfully amended this language onto HB 2984. "When we teach students the foundations of cybersecurity and computer science, we are developing situational awareness that will protect students and ultimately grow a workforce that understands how to deal with cyber threats," said Senator Nelson.
As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Nelson allocated more than $1B in the state budget to address cybersecurity, replace legacy systems and upgrade information technology across state agencies.