Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > 1. How Business Is Conducted in Deliberative Assemblies. > 4. Motions and Resolutions.

Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.

4. Motions and Resolutions.

A motion is a proposal that the assembly take certain action, or that it express itself as holding certain views. It is made by a member’s obtaining the floor as already described and saying, “I move that” (which is equivalent to saying, “I propose that”), and then stating the action he proposes to have taken. Thus a member “moves” (proposes) that a resolution be adopted, or amended, or referred to a committee, or that a vote of thanks be extended, etc.; or “That it is the sense of this meeting (or assembly) that industrial training,” etc. Every resolution should be in writing, and the presiding officer has a right to require any main motion, amendment, or instructions to a committee to be in writing. When a main motion is of such importance or length as to be in writing it is usually written in the form of a resolution; that is, beginning with the words, “Resolved, That,” the word “Resolved” being underscored (printed in italics) and followed by a comma, and the word “That” beginning with a capital “T.” If the word “Resolved” were replaced by the words “I move,” the resolution would become a motion. A resolution is always a main motion. In some sections of the country the word “resolve” is frequently used instead of “resolution.” In assemblies with paid employees, instructions given to employees are called “orders” instead of “resolutions,” and the enacting word, “Ordered” is used instead of “Resolved.”   1
  When a member wishes a resolution adopted, after having obtained the floor, he says, “I move the adoption of the following resolution,” or “I offer the following resolution,” which he reads and hands to the chair. If it is desired to give the reasons for the resolution, they are usually stated in a preamble, each clause of which constitutes a paragraph beginning with “Whereas.” The preamble is always amended last, as changes in the resolution may require changes in the preamble. In moving the adoption of a resolution the preamble is not usually referred to, as it is included in the resolution. But when the previous question is ordered on the resolution before the preamble has been considered for amendment, it does not apply to the preamble, which is then open to debate and amendment. The preamble should never contain a period, but each paragraph should close with a comma or semicolon, followed by “and,” except the last paragraph, which should close with the word “therefore,” or “therefore, be it.” A resolution should avoid periods where practicable. Usually, where periods are necessary, it is better to separate it into a series of resolutions, in which case the resolutions may be numbered, if preferred, by preceding them with the figures 1, 2, etc.; or it may retain the form of a single resolution with several paragraphs, each beginning with “That,” and these may be numbered, if preferred, by placing “First,” “Second,” etc., just before the word “That.” The following form will serve as a guide when it is desired to give the reasons for a resolution:
Whereas, We consider that suitable recreation is a necessary part of a rational educational system; and
Whereas, There is no public ground in this village where our school children can play; therefore,
Resolved, That it is the sense of this meeting that ample play grounds should be immediately provided for our school children.
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the chair to present these resolutions to the village authorities and to urge upon them prompt action in the matter.
  As a general rule no member can make two motions at a time except by general consent. But he may combine the motion to suspend the rules with the motion for whose adoption it was made; and the motion to reconsider a resolution and its amendments; and a member may offer a resolution and at the same time move to make it a special order for a specified time.   3


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