Make A Difference: Write That Council Resolution

Many College members introduce new ideas and current issues to ACEP through Council resolutions. This may sound daunting to newer members, but the good news is that it only takes two ACEP members to submit a resolution for the Council to consider.

ACEP’s Council, the major governing body for the College, considers resolutions annually in conjunction with the annual meeting. During this meeting, the Council considers many resolutions, ranging from College governance and membership issues to major policy initiatives. The Council consists of members representing ACEP’s chapters (50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Government Services), sections of membership, AACEM, CORD, EMRA, and SAEM.

The Council meeting is your opportunity to make an impact and influence the agenda for the coming years. If you have a hot topic that you believe the College should address, now is the time to start writing that resolution.

I’m ready to write my resolution

Resolutions consist of a descriptive Title, a Whereas section, and finally, the Resolved section. The Council only considers the Resolved when it votes, and the Resolved is what the Board of Directors reviews to direct College resources. The Whereas section is the background, and explains the logic of your Resolved. Whereas statements should be short, focus on the facts, and include any available statistics. The Resolved statement should be direct and include recommended action, such as a new policy or action by the College.

There are two types of resolutions: general resolutions and Bylaws resolutions. General resolutions require a majority vote for adoption and Bylaws resolutions require a two-thirds vote. When writing Bylaws resolutions, list the Article number and Section from the Bylaws you wish to amend. The resolution should show the current language Bylaws language with additions identified in bold, green, underline text and red strikethrough for any deleted text. Please refer to the ACEP Website article, "Guidelines for Writing Resolutions," for additional details about the process and tips on writing a resolution.

I want to submit my resolution

Resolutions must be submitted by at least two members or by any component body represented in the Council. The national ACEP Board of Directors or an ACEP committee can also submit a resolution. The Board of Directors must review any resolution from an ACEP committee, and usually reviews all drafts at their June meeting. Bylaws resolutions are reviewed by the Bylaws Committee to ensure there are no conflicts with the current Bylaws. Any suggestions for modifications are referred back to the authors of the resolution for consideration. Resolutions may be submitted by mail or email (preferred). Resolutions are due at least 90 days before the Council meeting. 

Debating the resolution

Councillors receive the resolutions prior to the annual meeting along with background information and cost information developed by ACEP staff. Resolutions are assigned to reference committees for discussion at the Council meeting. You, as the author of your resolution, should attend the reference committee that discusses your resolution. Reference committees allow for open debate and participants often have questions that are best answered by the author. At the conclusion of the hearings, the reference committee summarizes the debate and makes a recommendation to the Council.

The Council considers the recommendations from the reference committees on the second day of the Council meeting. The reference committee presents each resolution providing a recommendation and summary of the testimony to the Council. The Council debates each resolution and offers amendments as appropriate. Any ACEP member may attend the Council meeting, but only certified councillors are allowed to participate in the floor debate and vote. Non-councillors may address the Council at the discretion of the Speaker. Such requests must be submitted in writing to the Speaker before the debate. Include your name, organization affiliation, issue to address, and the rationale for speaking to the Council. Alternatively, you may ask your component body to designate you as an alternate councillor and give you permission to substitute for the councillor during the Council floor discussion.

The Council's options are: Adopt the resolution as written; Adopt as Amended by the Council; Refer to the Board, the Council Steering Committee, or the Bylaws Interpretation Committee; Not Adopt (defeat or reject) the resolution. 

Hints from Successful Resolution Authors

  • Present your resolution to your component body for sponsorship consideration prior to the submission deadline.
  • Consider the practical applications of your resolution. A well-written resolution that speaks to an important issue in a practical way passes through the Council much more easily.
  • Do a little homework before submitting your resolution. The ACEP website is a great place to start. Does ACEP already have a policy on this topic? Has the Council considered this issue before? What happened?
  • Find and contact the other stakeholders for your topic. They have valuable insight and expertise. Those stakeholders may co-sponsor your resolution.
  • Attend debate concerning your resolution in both reference committee and during floor debate if warranted.

I need more resources

Visit ACEP's website. Review the “Guidelines for Writing Resolutions” prior to submitting your resolution. There is also information about the Council Standing Rules, Council committees, and Councillor/Alternate Councillor position descriptions. You will also find a link to Actions on Council Resolutions. This link contains information about resolutions adopted by the Council and Board of Directors in prior years.

Well, get to it

Writing and submitting Council resolutions keeps our College healthy and vital. A Council resolution is a great way for members to provide information to their colleagues and ACEP leadership. Please take advantage of this opportunity and exercise your rights as part of our Emergency Medicine community. Dare to make a difference by submitting a resolution to the ACEP Council!

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