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Purpose of a Resolution (In General)


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Being involved in neither law, nor government, I am not at all familiar with the purpose of a resolution. RONR goes into much detail about how to offer a resolution, but it is fairly vague on why (the circumstances under which) a resolution would be preferable to a standard motion. They seem to be equivalent, except for wording. The only reasoning I can find is RONR (11th ed.), p. 105, ll. 26-29, but the wording doesn't make it clear to me.

Would someone care to educate me?

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A little more cachet, perhaps?

It may be little more than a convenient defining label: if the motion is in writing, it is a "resolution" (at least if "Resolved that" replaces "I move that"). "Be it resolved" does sound more grand than plain ol' "I move that..."

And a resolution does make room for those whereas clauses, which give the initiator of the resolution the opportunity to sneak in a few debate points before actually stating the content of the motion, in (quasi-)violation of the "no discussion without a motion" rule - p. 34, l. 33, at least for a few precious moments.

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While those may be reasons individuals choose to frame a motion as a resolution, I doubt that's why the provision is included. :)

In most assemblies I've been in (assuming they understand the distinction), a standard motion is used for most of the society's business, but a resolution is used when you want something recorded for posterity or to be distributed to the general public, since in the latter cases it is often desirable to have the reasons for the motion recorded and to have something a bit "fancier" than a standard motion. It's rather unnecessary for an assembly to use a resolution to spend $50 on refreshments, but it's a nice touch if the society is taking a stance on some important issue.

You were quite correct when you said that there is no difference between the two other than wording, but while those differences in wording between a standard motion and a resolution have no parliamentary significance, wording is often important from a political or psychological perspective.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Thank you, Mr. Martin, et al.

It seems RONR should make a note that there is no parliamentary significance to the distinction. (Though, perhaps I missed such a note.) By going into detail regarding the differences in wording, there is an implication that they are somehow different in purpose or effect.

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By going into detail regarding the differences in wording . . .

One might even say excruciating detail. Unless the 11th edition no longer obsesses on the font ("Resolved" or "Resolved"), capitalizing the "T" in "That" (even though it follows a comma), and the precise placement of commas, semicolons, and periods. Not that punctuation isn't important, but even RONR recognized (perhaps wistfully) that although "a resolving paragraph should not contain a period within its structure, . . . observance of this rule is becoming less strict".

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One might even say excruciating detail. Unless the 11th edition no longer obsesses on the font ("Resolved" or "Resolved"), capitalizing the "T" in "That" (even though it follows a comma), and the precise placement of commas, semicolons, and periods. Not that punctuation isn't important, but even RONR recognized (perhaps wistfully) that although "a resolving paragraph should not contain a period within its structure, . . . observance of this rule is becoming less strict".

"Not that punctuation isn't important ..."

Yeah, just look at the first two sentences. :)

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I was under the impression (being new to parliamentary procedure) that a "motion" implied some action of the body--i.e., a motion to DO something--while a resolution, on the other hand, could be a mere statement of the body.

So if I wanted to have pizza for lunch, I would make a motion. If I wanted to get into the minutes a simple assertion that, "It is the position of this organization that pizza is delicious, while anchovies are disgusting," I would put forward a resolution. To crown my ignorance, I would probably put it forward by saying, "I move that we resolve..."

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I was under the impression (being new to parliamentary procedure) that a "motion" implied some action of the body--i.e., a motion to DO something--while a resolution, on the other hand, could be a mere statement of the body.

So if I wanted to have pizza for lunch, I would make a motion. If I wanted to get into the minutes a simple assertion that, "It is the position of this organization that pizza is delicious, while anchovies are disgusting," I would put forward a resolution. To crown my ignorance, I would probably put it forward by saying, "I move that we resolve..."

This impression is not accurate. :)

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