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What exactly is a resolution?

You have likely seen in the newspaper or other media sources pictures of clubwomen or organization officers with an official – such as a mayor, legislator, governor or president – signing a resolution. Just what is a resolution?

Resolutions are a formal way of stating intended action by a group of people. A resolution serves as a statement of the character of the organization, reveals objectives and is used as guideline for action.

A resolution is an opportunity to address problems, situations or concerns that clubs or organizations support. A resolution is an original motion, which – because of its importance, length or complexity – is submitted in writing.

I have served as GFWC Alabama Resolution Chairwoman for several years. During this time, many resolutions have been written and approved by the Alabama Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Some resolutions have been submitted to the General Federation of Women Club and to the Alabama State Legislature for adoption.

Subjects for some of these resolutions were: Support and Preserve Alabama State Parks through Funding; Aquatic Thrill Craft Safety, which covered parasail or water sports product safety; Direct Dial 911; Honoring Alabama Supreme Court Judge Lyn Stuart; numerous courtesy resolutions and more.

The Resolutions Committee is required to review all resolutions annually for timeliness, change of opinion and other details.

A resolution is then brought forward on the floor of a local unit general membership meeting, state convention or national convention for wider adoption.

Upon adoption, resolutions become an integral part of the policy and are retained in the club’s Resolution Book. Resolutions establish the general policy of an organization and remain active unless and until rescinded by the delegate body of the club or organization.

A resolution has two main parts: a series of “whereas” statements followed by a series of “be it resolved” statements.  

The whereas statements make up the first half of the resolution. They explain why the action in the resolved clauses should be taken. Each clause in the should be followed by a comma and the word “and.” The last clause in this section of the resolution should be followed by a colon.

The Resolved clauses of a resolution tell the reader what action should be taken to solve the problem set up in the Whereas. The Resolved clauses should be the strongest part of the resolution.

The first word of the Resolved clause should be a verb and should show what will follow in the clause. Each operative clause should end with a semi-colon. The last Resolved clause should be followed by a period.

The practice of submitting and voting on resolutions is a typical part of business in Congress, state 

legislatures and other public assemblies. These bodies use resolutions to express their consensus on matters of public policy, such as criticism or support on a broad range of social issues, legal rights, court opinions and even decisions by the executive branch. They also pass resolutions for internal and administrative purposes.

Resolutions are not laws; however, under certain circumstances, resolutions can have the effect of law.

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