Guidelines for the Preparation of Resolutions
When writing a resolution, consider first what you want to accomplish. Are you seeking a specific action or direction by MSSNY and its staff? Do you want to change existing policy or create new policy? The way in which your resolution is written will smooth the way towards adoption by the MSSNY House of Delegates and make the House of Delegates overall much more efficient.
Before you begin drafting your resolution – check MSSNY’s Official Position Statements. They can be found at: www.mssnypositionstatements.org
Until you have looked at the Position Statements, you will not know whether the topic you are considering has been addressed on previous occasions. If it has, then you know whether you want to modify the existing position or policy, remove it from the positions which MSSNY has as official policy or ask for other action regarding an existing policy.
Understanding Resolutions and Their Construction
A resolution is a main motion in parliamentary procedure which expresses the formal opinions or sentiments of those assembled at a meeting.
A resolution is generally prefaced by statements, each introduced by the word “Whereas,” which state the reasons for and the background on the resolution. The whereas clauses are the preambles of the resolution and should identify a problem or need for action, address its timeliness or urgency, note any effects on the organization being asked to adopt the resolution or the public at large. If the proposed policy or action will alter current policy, you must cite the policy with the corresponding policy number.
There is no discussion of or vote taken on whereas clauses. They offer an explanation and the rationale for the resolution only. Members frequently attempt to debate and amend these prefacing statements, often to the neglect of the main resolution.
The “Resolved” clause(s) comes at the end of all prefacing statements and is the essential part of the resolution. They should be concise and clear. Each resolved clause must be able to stand alone in its content, logic and structure. They should be stated in the affirmative, since the negative form is often confusing and also confuses the voting process.
A resolution should address only one single issue. It is the language in the resolved clause which is adopted by the House of Delegates and is inserted into the Position Statements of MSSNY; therefore, it must be understandable on its own.
Additional resolution guidelines are listed below but click here for a template document which you may use to insert your text
Critically important are the following:
~Single line spacing with NO hanging or other indents
~DO NOT USE LINE NUMBERING OR TRACK CHANGES IN YOUR RESOLUTIONS. Submit in MICROSOFT WORD formatting; Do not use PDF file format
~Where acronyms are commonly used (MSSNY, AMA, HCFA, etc) they should be spelled out in their entirety the first time they appear in the Whereas clauses and Resolve clauses; thereafter, the acronyms can be used.
~Well-constructed resolutions require no more than three resolved clauses to achieve their purpose.
Action/Directive versus Policy/Position Resolutions
A Directive Resolution– calls for MSSNY to take some type of action. Adoption of a directive requires specific action but does not directly affect MSSNY’s policy base.
A directive should start with the words “RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York undertake this action” (such as communicate, advocate, study an issue, seek legislation or regulation).
When a directive calls for MSSNY to study an issue and develop appropriate policy, the author should
- explicitly identify the issue and the fact that there is no existing relevant policy concerning this issue in the first “whereas” clause(s);
- discuss the rationale for the proposed directive in a subsequent “whereas” clause(s);
- identify the requested action in the “Resolve” clause(s).
Action/Directives on Existing MSSNY Policy:
In reviewing MSSNY policy, you may discover that no discernable action has been taken on a particular position statement. In a situation in which a directive calls upon MSSNY to take some action relative to an existing position, the author of the resolution should:
- in the first “whereas” clause(s), identify relevant MSSNY policy by policy number and verbatim text of the existing policy if the material is of a reasonable length, or with a brief description of the policy if it is lengthy;
- outline the rationale for the proposed directive in the next “whereas” clause;
- identify the requested action in the “Resolve” clause(s).
Policy/Position and Bylaws Resolutions
Policy Resolutions call for changes in MSSNY policy either by addition of a new policy, deletion, modification or rescission of current policy.
Where no policy currently exists, resolutions should clearly indicate that new policy is being requested.
Changes to Existing Policy or Bylaws:
A resolution that proposes a change in the MSSNY policy statements or its Bylaws should cite the pertinent, existing policy or the section of the Bylaws and then clearly indicate whether the intent is to:
a. modify the existing policy or Bylaws
b. substitute new language for the existing policy or Bylaw
c. rescind the existing policy or Bylaw altogether
Clearly identify the proposed modification(s) by underlining the proposed new text, and by striking through any text recommended for deletion.
It should be noted that beginning with the 2012 HOD meeting, an annual review of policy that is 10 years old is undertaken prior to each meeting. Recommendations relating to this review are included in each reference committee report. This often leads to “sunset” of a policy if no longer relevant, or the policy may be reaffirmed or updated. All policy dating back to 2011 or earlier has currently been reviewed.
Should you have questions regarding constructing a resolution, feel free to contact the MSSNY office for assistance.