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FMEA Applauds Passage of Critical Infrastructure Security Legislation

The Florida Municipal Electric Association is applauding legislation recently passed in the Florida Legislature that creates new criminal offenses involving critical infrastructure in the state including energy assets.

“Across the nation, physical and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure assets, including electric substations, potable water utilities and natural gas facilities, have been on the rise,” said Amy Zubaly, Executive Director of FMEA, on March 7.

“In Florida, there have been no specific criminal penalties in law for these types of intentional physical and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure; however, the Florida Legislature has taken strong action to bolster critical infrastructure security and enable swift and more severe legal actions against criminals,” she said.

“We applaud the passage of HB 275 and SB 340, and the leadership of bill sponsors Rep. Jennifer Canady and Sen. Clay Yarborough, for adding additional protections to our state’s critical infrastructure by punishing those who deliberately damage these assets and charging them with a second-degree felony,” Zubaly said.

“This is a much-needed step toward protecting Floridians by ensuring that our electric grid, drinking supply, and means of moving residents and visitors throughout the state are not interrupted by intentional acts of destruction,” she said.

A bill analysis and fiscal impact statement of S.B. 340 noted that the bill defines “critical infrastructure” to mean “any linear asset or any specified entities for which the owner or operator thereof has employed measures designed to exclude unauthorized persons, including, but not limited to, fences, barriers, guard posts, or signs prohibiting trespass.”

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