GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A RESOLUTION
A resolution is a main motion in parliamentary procedure which expresses the Assembly’s formal opinions or sentiments.
A resolution is generally prefaced by statements, each introduced by the word “Whereas,” which state the reasons for the
resolution. Whereas clauses or preambles of the resolution 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, and
indicate whether the proposed policy or action will alter current policy.
Whereas clauses are not voted upon. They offer an explanation and the rationale for the resolution.
The statements contained in the whereas clauses are of no legal effect, and can be the cause of much disagreement and
discussion. Members frequently attempt to debate and amend these prefacing statements, often to the neglect of the main
Content and composition of the whereas clauses are useful mainly when the organization plans to publish the resolution
and wishes the reasons for its adoption to be read with it. A preamble paragraph can be substituted for the whereas clause.
It serves the same purpose, but is less formal.
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. Resolved clauses should be stated in the affirmative, since the negative form is often
confusing to the Assembly.
A single issue should be addressed in each resolution. If multiple resolved clauses are included in a resolution, each
resolved clause must be independent, related to the central subject, and completely comprehensible after removal of the
whereas clauses. Each resolved clause must be able to stand alone in its content, logic and structure.
If the wording of the resolution is unclear, confusing, unnecessarily long, involved, or if the resolved clause is stated in
the negative, it is within the purview of the Chair to request the proposer to rephrase the motion prior to the Assembly
being opened officially for business and help in doing so, if necessary. However, the motion can be rephrased only in
wording that is approved by its proposer.
A resolution may call on an organization to take a specific action or position that affects only that organization (an
internal resolution) or it may request that a specific action or policy be adopted which necessitates contact with
government, other organizations, the public or media (an external resolution) or it may be a combination of both. In the
case of the latter, the internal and external positions should appear in separate, free-standing resolved clauses.
Where considerable expense is anticipated in order to achieve the goals and objectives of a resolution, a fiscal note should
be included with the resolution. This would be shown at the bottom of the resolution as Fiscal Note: $1,000.
The proposer may rephrase or withdraw a resolution at any time before it is brought to the attention of the Assembly for
consideration by the Chair.
All resolutions must be submitted by a deadline determined by the Speaker or Chair which is announced in advance of the
meeting. Resolutions submitted after this date will be considered late resolutions and will require either written or verbal
background describing the importance and urgency of the resolution’s concept as well as a convincing reason for the
resolution’s late submission.
A resolution can be introduced by a specialty or state delegation, a section, county society, etc, or by an individual who is
a certified delegate to the assembly. The name of the group introducing the resolution should appear at the top of the
resolution. It is understood that a resolution introduced by an organization (rather than an individual) has the support and
approval of the organization’s entire delegation.
Resolutions should be submitted to the Assembly in the following format:
NAME OF GROUP TO WHICH THE RESOLUTION IS BEING SENT
(number will be assigned by group)
TITLE: Title you choose to give your resolution
(The title should reflect the content or goal of the resolution)
AUTHOR: Name of person, section, school, organization submitting the resolution
(If a single person is submitting the resolution without the support of a
delegation, section, school, etc., it should be so indicated by the inclusion of “as
an individual” after the person’s name.)
REFERRED TO: Reference Committee on Legislative Affairs
(Will be assigned to a reference committee by the group considering the
Whereas, the use of parliamentary procedure accomplishes the business of organizations in the most efficient
Whereas, the use of formal resolutions has proven to be the most efficient method of changing or establishing
policy, and accomplishing specific objectives within those organizations; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the use of formal resolutions be continued in order to accomplish the business of the
organization; and be it further
RESOLVED, that these resolutions will be well written, concise, and properly structured.
Points to remember:
How a resolution is written will determine whether it is adopted or defeated. If the intent of the resolution is unclear, it
may be defeated even if you explain it on the floor of the Assembly.
Poor grammar can defeat a resolution -- if you are unsure how to state something so that it expresses your intention,
consult your colleagues for feedback; sometimes the questions they ask will help things coalesce in your mind. If a
resolution is poorly written, no matter how well intended, it will be looked upon as wasting the time of the Assembly.
“Whereas” clauses can defeat or pass a resolution. More is not necessarily better. State your reasons for the resolution,
but don’t be redundant. The Assembly will focus on the redundancies in your resolution rather than the supporting
information contained in them.
Research your topic if necessary. Solid data should be presented which supports the requested action. Certain
organizations require that you cite references. It is important to write the resolution with the overall historical
development of the issue taken into consideration. Sources of information to consider are the AMA policy compendium,
MSSNY position papers, bylaws of an organization, the digest of actions of any AMA section, reports of proceedings of
the House (both MSSNY and AMA), Council reports and actions, annual reports, specialty society proceedings, etc.
Too many resolved clauses may cause referral or defeat of a resolution. Do not try to accomplish too much with one
resolution. If you have written a resolution with many resolved clauses, it may accomplish your purpose better to break
them out into separate resolutions. The Assembly may adopt the resolutions more readily if they are considered
separately. However, the other side of this is also true -- the Assembly may feel that several separate resolutions are so
closely related that they should be considered and adopted as one resolution.