One decade later, advocates for regulating the usurious payday lending industry want to return to the statewide ballot. On Thursday, Ohioans for Payday Lending Reform launched its effort to win voter approval of a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the annual interest rate charged for such short-term loans to a fair-minded 28 percent.

If that sounds familiar, it should. In 2008, voters overwhelmingly supported something similar. Their backing reflected the strong bipartisan approval of state lawmakers.

Unfortunately, even inexcusably, the legislature left room for the clever payday industry to maneuver. Payday lenders reorganized under the Credit Services Organization Act. They found a loophole and thus have thrived while flouting the wishes of voters and lawmakers.

Advocates show how the landscape for short-term borrowers has gotten worse. The Pew Charitable Trusts notes that before 2008, the typical $300, two-week payday loan carried an annual interest rate of 391 percent. Today, the price is much higher, by as many as 200 percentage points, Ohio among the states with the fewest protections for payday consumers.

Why haven’t lawmakers stepped up to fix their error? Even a scolding from the Ohio Supreme Court failed to renew the interest of the Republican legislative leadership. As it is, the advocates behind Ohioans for Payday Lending Reform are headed to the ballot because of dawdling at the Statehouse. House Bill 123, a promising bipartisan proposal introduced nearly a year ago to bring needed repairs, has stalled in committee.

Perhaps the prospect of a ballot issue will spur legislative action. That would be the responsible course, and the proposed bill, sponsored by state Reps. Kyle Koehler, a Springfield Republican, and Michael Ashford, a Toledo Democrat, amounts to a careful compromise. It doesn’t shut down the payday industry. It curbs the excesses. It sets rules that serve both sides.

For instance, the bill ensures that payments are affordable, no more than 5 percent of a borrower’s income. Today, the burden can be as much as one-third of a paycheck. The measure limits fees, discourages the front-loading of charges and permits sufficient time for repayments. In these and other ways, it steers away from trapping many living paycheck to paycheck in a cycle of ever-mounting payday debt.

Advocates project that the legislation would save Ohio households $75 million a year.

House Bill 123 builds on successes in Colorado, where payday lending restrictions were implemented seven years ago. The result there has been continued access to short-term loans, lenders still in business while borrowers enjoy greater protection. Actually, one benefit of the bill here goes to the lessons learned, including a degree of flexibility for lenders, a step inclined to generate a helpful dose of competition, alternative lenders seeing an opportunity.

The proposed ballot issue from Ohioans for Payday Lending Reform leaves the door open to lawmakers enacting legislation along the lines of House Bill 123. Again, they should do so.

For now, advocates are right to take their case to the ballot. Ohio voters saw the need for action. Since then, their wishes have been neglected, their representatives essentially aiding and abetting the worst of payday lenders. The proposed 28 percent cap on interest rates would be more strict than the bill on the table. Thus, the incentive is there for compromise, a reasonable remedy having been available for nearly a year.