HARRISBURG – On the heels of a series of security breaches in state government, the House State Government Committee approved on Tuesday legislation to increase and improve cybersecurity the bills three prime sponsors, Reps. Seth Grove (R-York), Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny), announced.
House Bill 1704 would further empower the Office of Information Technology (OIT), which was created two years ago by Gov. Tom Wolf under executive order. It would ensure Pennsylvania’s cybersecurity standards at least match industry standards, require more frequent testing of our security systems and establish a committee that would meet quarterly to evaluate emerging cyber threats.
“When I first took office, it was obvious our cybersecurity systems were in dire need of updating,” said Phillips-Hill. “Three years later, little has changed, as evidenced by the recent security breaches at the Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Department of Corrections, and Department of Education that exposed Pennsylvanians’ personal information and left part of the Legislature (the Senate Democrat Caucus) unable to conduct business for more than a month. We are seriously underestimating the damage cyberattacks could inflict.”
The legislation also grants the OIT director elements of financial oversight that are not currently in place. House Bill 1704
now goes to the full House for consideration.
“Security should be a No. 1 priority for the Commonwealth’s information technology system,” Ortitay said. “The state collects a lot of personal data from its residents. They should not have to worry about become a victim of identity theft due to a breach in the system.”
The bill was amended in committee to include Grove’s House Bill 2610 to require state agencies to negotiate in IT contracts that vendors only receive payment for verified billable hours. This would ensure taxpayers are only billed for work which they receive.
“Amending my House Bill 2610
into this already comprehensive bill serves to further guard residents’ vital information but also protects taxpayers’ dollars,” Grove said. “During the past two years, we have seen disturbing examples of contracts running late and well over cost. In some cases, such as the State Police Radio Network contract and the Department of Labor and Industry’s Unemployment Call Center contract; the state never received a working product after spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross