Are we ready to think again about petitions of concern in the Assembly?
The petition is a device which any 30 MLAs can trigger over any legislation they choose.
Once they have signed it, the Bill has to receive a majority in both the unionist and nationalist designations in the Assembly. The intention is prevent one side's representatives pushing through measures which have a disproportionate effect on the other community.
Recently, the SDLP and Sinn Fein threatened a petition over the Bill from Jim Allister (pictured) to stop ex-prisoners working as ministerial advisers. That would at least have been a proper use of the petition, because, so far, only nationalist ex-prisoners are involved.
In the end, the SDLP withdrew support and Sinn Fein, which has only 29 MLAs, couldn't proceed without them.
More often, the petitions are used as a simple blocking mechanism on issues that don't affect the rights of one community more than the other.
The DUP is the only party with the required 30 MLAs to raise one on its own and, in recent months, it has used the device on issues like gay marriage.
Earlier, Sinn Fein and Alliance had raised one on abortion regulations. Surely, our legislators should be able to debate such issues without deploying vetoes.
Then the use of this time-wasting device could be limited, or abolished altogether.