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Policy Experts Brief Regional Cyber Ecosystem during CyberSecurity San Antonio / Cyber Council’s August Meeting

On Wednesday, August 5, your Chamber’s Cyber Council / CyberSecurity San Antonio program gathered for its monthly meeting via video conference.  The Cyber Council is led by 2020 Chair Rich Valdez. Rich is the Chief Technology Officer of IPSecure, a cybersecurity company headquartered right here in San Antonio. After not meeting in July due to summer break, more than 70 people attended to hear the latest updates on local, state, and federal policy issues.  Special thanks to Martin Gutierrez, Assistant Vice President of Public Policy at the Chamber, as well as Julia Grizzard, Executive Director of Bexar County Education Coalition, for their in-depth briefings.

During his briefing, Martin Gutierrez presented the process for developing the Chamber’s federal and state legislative agenda. Starting now, there is a call for legislative priorities out to all Chamber members. Next, these priorities will be reviewed by Committees and Councils before being shared with the Legislative Affairs Committee (LAC) for discussion. Once the LAC approves the priorities, that document goes to the Public Policy Council, then to the Executive Committee, and on to the Board of Directors for approval.

Regarding specific policy updates, Martin provided local updates regarding the proposed November 2020 Ballot Initiative to redirect the 1/8 cent sales tax and the City’s FY21 Budget Calendar. Now is the time to speak up regarding City budget discussions. On the state level, Texas faces a $4.6 billion dollar shortfall this biennium. At the federal level, the Chamber is refining priorities for a congressional infrastructure bill. A new coronavirus stimulus package is on the table in the Senate and includes liability relief, paycheck protection program (PPP), reduced unemployment benefits, federal funding for schools, and more. For more information, contact Martin at mgutierrez@sachamber.org .

Next, Julia Grizzard briefed the group on state policy related to K12 schools, education, and requirements for schools in the fall related to COVID-19. Julia reminded the group that funding is determined by attendance and if schools are offering five days-a-week in-person classes for any student who requests it. From instructional modalities to granted flexibility, STAAR testing, and public health guidance, local schools are hustling to keep up with state, local and federal guidance, requirements, and changes. For more information, contact Julia at julia@bcectx.org .

Looking ahead to the state legislative session and ongoing federal legislation discussions, advocacy is critical, and your voice is critical. We encourage you to talk to your elected officials with concerns or questions, as well as in collaboration with your Chamber. The digital divide, budget protections for public education, critical infrastructure, election security, and workforce development funding are key priorities for the regional cybersecurity ecosystem – what else should be on the priority list? We encourage you to get engaged; reach out to Amanda Keammerer, Vice President for Cybersecurity, and Director of CyberSecurity San Antonio today: akeammerer@sachamber.org . The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 2 from 3:00 PM CST to 4:00 PM CST.

Housed in the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, CyberSecurity San Antonio is the lead convener and brand manager for the region’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Join the conversation, support the program by becoming a Chamber member, and stay engaged in this work. Learn more at www.sachamber.org/cyber

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