Cyber security bill stalled by politics? 'Impatient' state Auditor asks Senate for hearing date

03/02/2014 02:40 PM

Senate Republican Floor Leader Damon Thayer last week didn’t deny that he has referred to a cyber security bill pushed by the state auditor as the “Adam-Edelen-for-governor” bill.

Politics, Thayer said matter-of-factly, remain a factor in considering any bill. But he added that’s not what’s delaying a hearing on the cyber security bill, House Bill 5 , which among other things would require state and local governments to notify citizens if their private information was hacked or leaked.

Thayer said the Senate is not yet taking up many House bills and vice-versa. And Thayer said he had a question about a potential unfunded mandate in the legislation.

But Edelen said no one has talked to him about any such concerns since the bill unanimously passed the House on Jan. 31. And Edelen, getting a bit impatient, dispatched a letter to Thayer and the chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, Sen. Joe Bowen, urging them to let him know by the end of Monday when they will call the bill for a hearing.

He said he is “disbelieving” of the delay of a bill that has wide bipartisan support and whose chief co-sponsor in the House is Republican Rep. Sal Santoro, a conservative from Florence.

Thayer said “politics are involved” and called it a “legitimate issue” that Edelen is considering running for governor in the 2015 Democratic primary.

Bowen, the Republican from Owensboro, told Pure Politics that “in the state Capitol, politics are always at play.” But he said he would not hold up a bill because of the political ambitions of one of its chief proponents.

Edelen said he was “shocked” to hear that but said he would chalk it up to Thayer and Bowen “having a bad day.”

Thayer said he was concerned about a potential unfunded mandate on local governments.

The bill, however, doesn’t require local governments to encrypt personal data of citizens. Instead it strongly encourages it. And the bill has the support of the Kentucky League of Cities as well as the free market think tank, the Bluegrass Institute.

Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, said he believes it’s an important bill to protect the privacy of citizens’ addresses, tax information and other important data.

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