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Senate to take up cyber security legislation this week


From the July 30, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published July 30, 2012

Cyber security legislation cleared a key hurdle in the Senate, as senators cleared the way for floor action this week on the Cybersecurity Act, S. 3414, introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Vt., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. The Senate voted 84-11 on July 26 to invoke cloture on the bill. "Let's have as many amendments as people feel is appropriate," Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. "When we come back next week, let's start doing some legislating and have some robust debate, get some of these amendments disposed of, and pass this bill on to the House."

It remains to be seen whether senators will be able to work out their differences on cyber security. Lieberman and Collins earlier this month introduced a revised version of S. 3414 that would provide incentives for voluntary compliance with cyber security practices for critical infrastructure. However, the bill calls for the federal government to develop standards if the private sector doesn’t and allows federal agencies to adopt voluntary standards as mandatory requirements. The bill would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to impose mandatory standards outside of the existing mandatory standards regime under Section 215 of the Federal Power Act. A group of key Republicans have offered a competing bill, S. 3342, the SECURE IT Act, that focuses on collaboration and information-sharing between the federal government and the private sector.

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