SRS Reauthorized, PILT Fully Funded & Additional Election Security Funding
On December 20, 2019, the President signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94), which reauthorized SRS payments for FY19 (payment year FY20) and for FY20 (payment year FY21) and fully funded PILT with the same mandatory funding language as FY 2019. The Forest Service is in the process of calculating the projected SRS payments for FY19 , and they anticipate funds will be electronically transferred to states in spring 2020. The Department of Interior has initiated the FY 2020 PILT program, and payments are expected to be dispersed in June.
The spending package also provided for additional election security funding: $425 million ($3.1 million available for Montana) to be distributed through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to states for election security improvements including to implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems. The spending agreement requires a 20-cents-on-the-dollar match by states that receive election security money. This is a significant shift from the original five percent match required under the FY 2019 omnibus. The legislation also directs how states can use this funding:
- Replace voting equipment that only records a voter’s intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter-verified paper record
- Implement a post-election audit system that provides a high-level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally
- Upgrade election-related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through DHS or similar scans or assessments of existing election systems
- Facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official’s office and local election officials
- Implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems
To read more about what was included in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, click here and read NACo’s County Highlights in the FY 2020 Federal Spending Agreement.