CUMMING -- District 24 state Rep. Sheri Gilligan was one of nearly 20,000 Forsyth County residents who had their Social Security numbers accidentally released by the county’s tax commissioner late last year, and now she’s working to pass a bill that would help notify victims of such breaches.
House Bill 82, which Cumming and west Forsyth’s Gilligan sponsored, is aimed at increased transparency regarding data leaks and ensuring they are reported in a timely manner.
In December, the Forsyth County Tax Commissioner’s Office waited more than a month to notify residents that their Social Security numbers were “erroneously made available electronically to two authorized parties who had requested other non-confidential tax digest data.”
Though Gilligan said she thought the tax commissioner acted appropriately, the leak prompted this bill.
“It has everything to do with this bill,” she said. “The Forsyth County Tax Commissioner did the right thing in my opinion and informed all the citizens and gave them credit monitoring services for a year.
“He did the absolute perfect thing, but Georgia state code doesn’t require [notification], so I wanted to be sure if something else like this happened somewhere else, other people would be required to disclose it.”
Gilligan said because the language of HB 82 is so straightforward, she is actually receiving pushback, which prompted her to write HB 499, a bill that rewrites the entire code for consumer data protection.
She said most of the language comes from Senate Bill 276 that Sen. John Albers of District 56 wrote last year, though it was not passed.
“Because HB 499 is a new bill, I’ve got to get buy-in from community, so I don’t know if it will make it before Friday,” Gilligan said. “I’m working to have it transferred from the judiciary [committee], but the Chamber of Commerce and other agencies want to make sure it gets done correctly.”
She said even if she hadn’t been affected by the Forsyth tax data breach, she would still have sponsored the two bills.
“Even if it hadn’t been me, I got to be a part of the conversation, and as soon as we found out there was this hole we wanted to plug it,” she said.
HB 82 made it through the House Second Readers and may go to a subcommittee before Crossover Day, which is today.
Crossover Day is the last day for legislation to pass the chamber in which it was introduced and transfer to the other chamber for consideration.