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 on the MSSNY website at:http://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, or remove it from the positions which MSSNY has as official policy.
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 communication, advocacy, 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).
“Whereas, There is no current MSSNY policy dealing with…; and
Whereas, There is an increasing demand on physicians to be……; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York study the issue of….and submit appropriate policy recommendations to the MSSNY Council or to the next House of Delegates.”
Action on Existing MSSNY Policy:
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).
“Whereas, MSSNY Policy ……..states that………; and
Whereas (rationale for the proposed directive); therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York seek legislation or regulation that would……”
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. For example:
“Whereas, There is no existing MSSNY policy calling for…; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Medical Society of the State of New York establish policy stating that…..”
Changes to Existing Policy:
A resolution that proposes a change in the MSSNY policy statements should cite the pertinent, existing policy and then clearly indicate whether the intent is to:
a. modify the existing policy
b. substitute new language for the existing policy
c. rescind the existing policy altogether
a. Modify Existing Policy
If modification of existing policy is being recommended, the resolution should set out the pertinent text of the existing policy and clearly identify the proposed modification(s) by underlining the proposed new text, and by striking through text recommended for deletion. For example:
“Whereas, MSSNY Policy 5.994 recognizes that infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs one of the body’s most basic functions, the conception of children, and will support legislation which would require coverage for infertility treatments; and
Whereas, (rationale for requesting modification); therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York’s Policy 5.994 be modified to read:
MSSNY Policy 5.994 recognizes that infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs one of the body’s most basic functions, the conception of children, and will support legislation which would
require mandate insurance coverage for infertility treatments.”
b. Substitution for Existing Policy:
If substitution of existing policy is being recommended, the resolution should set out the pertinent text of the existing policy and clearly identify the proposed substitution. For example:
“Whereas MSSNY Policy number 5.995…..states that, and
Whereas, This definition is unclear; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That MSSNY policy be modified by substituting the following language for current Policy number 5.995………”
c. Rescinding/Superseding Existing Policy:
If adoption of a policy recommended by a resolution would render existing policies obsolete or would supersede existing policies, those policies, as set out in the Official Position Statements, should be identified and recommended for rescission. For example:
“Whereas, MSSNY Policy number 5.997 states that; and
Whereas, Such funding has been restored; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York policy be modified by rescinding Policy number 5.997 because it is no longer relevant.”
It should be noted that beginning in 2012, an annual review of 10 year old policy is undertaken prior to each House of Delegates 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. All policy dating back to 2005 or earlier has currently been reviewed.
Resolutions Combining Policy and Directives
When the sponsor of a resolution combines, in one Resolve, a change in MSSNY policy with a directive to take action to that new policy, the result can be confusing. A single resolution can both recommend changes in MSSNY policy and recommend actions with regard to that new policy. The way to establish this objective is to establish the new policy in one Resolve (a policy Resolve), and to identify the desired action in a subsequent Resolve (a directive). For example:
A policy Resolve should start with the words “RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York policy…….” These words will signal the House that the purpose of the Resolve is to change the MSSNY policy by modifying existing policy, substituting proposed policy for existing policy, or rescinding existing policy.
A directive Resolve clause should start with the words “RESOLVED, That the medical Society of the State of new York…” communicate, advocate, or study ……and develop appropriate recommendations for action, etc. ). These words will signal the House that the purpose of the Resolve is to direct MSSNY to undertake some action.
Further Information to Consider as an Author
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 may be added to the resolution. This would be shown at the bottom of the resolution as Fiscal Note: $1,000.
All resolutions must be submitted by a deadline determined by the Speaker 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. The group which considers whether a late submission should be accepted is called the Rules Committee. The author will be expected to appear before the committee to explain why the resolution was submitted after the deadline.
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.