SMEA alumni were instrumental in working across the Senate aisle on S. 2511, the “Commercial Engagement through Ocean Technology (CENOTE) Act,” which was signed by President Trump on December 21, 2018. This legislation, advanced by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), instructs NOAA to expand the use of unmanned maritime systems technology for collecting ocean data that can be used for academic, national security, and commercial purposes.
Since completing a Knauss Fellowship, Neal McMillin (SMEA ’16) has served as Senator Wicker’s environmental legislative assistant, concentrating on the Senator’s Commerce Oceans Subcommittee portfolio. McMillin worked on the CENOTE Act starting from the Senator’s initial idea, to collaboration with Senator Brian Schatz’s office (D-Hawaii) as the lead Democratic cosponsor, to passage out of Congress and on to the Oval Office for signature. Jimmy Kralj (SMEA ’17), Senator Schatz’s 2018 Knauss Fellow, helped draft the legislation and was instrumental in securing support for the bill on the Democratic side of the aisle after Senator Wicker introduced the bill in March 2018.
Congratulations to our SMEA alumni for their bipartisan collaboration on the Hill to expand the scale and breadth of ocean data obtained by NOAA. Read the full press release from Senator Wicker here: https://www.wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/12/wicker-s-unmanned-maritime-systems-legislation-heads-to-president-s-desk