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North Dakota Capitol

North Dakota Capitol in June 2018

The North Dakota Senate unanimously passed a bill on Thursday that seeks a uniform approach to cybersecurity for public entities.

The state Information Technology Department requested Senate Bill 2110. The Senate Political Subdivisions Committee amended language in the bill for ITD to only "advise and oversee" cybersecurity strategy for all executive state agencies, cities, counties, school districts, higher education institutions "or other political subdivisions."

The bill, as amended, also would have ITD consult with the attorney general. In addition, ITD may coordinate with the legislative and judicial branches as to their cybersecurity. 

Supporting testimony raised concerns over ransomware and other risks faced by small North Dakota cities and part-time city auditors who may use home computers. 

Opposition to the original bill raised concerns over separation of powers in ITD having control over judicial and legislative information technology.

Sen. Judy Lee, R-West Fargo, carried the bill to the Senate floor, and said the bill recognizes the co-equal branches of government, but also consistency for cybersecurity in North Dakota.

"It is important that there be some kind of lead person on this," Lee said.

North Dakota senators approved SB2210 in a 47-0 vote. 

The bill now goes to the House.

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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Capitol Reporter