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Cursive writing bill’s fate still in doubt

Alan Petersime

Will Sen. Jean Leising’s cursive writing bill get a hearing in the Indiana House on the third try?

That’s still up in the air, the chairman of the House Education Committee said today.

House Bill 113 would require schools to teach cursive writing. Right now, cursive is optional. Schools can decide whether or not to incorporate it as part of handwriting instruction.

Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, has pushed to require cursive for three years. Twice before, bills she authored passed the Senate only to have Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, decline to hear them in the House Education Committee. Behning, the committee chairman, has said he does not believe the state should dictate the specific style of handwriting that schools teach.

This year, Leising has made an extra effort to get the bill heard in the House, sending letters to House members advocating for a floor vote. Behning said today he has not received Leising’s letter yet. Behning also said he wasn’t sure how soon he would decide whether to give the bill a hearing.

If Behning does not allow a committee vote, the handwriting bill would die again before it reached the House floor. Leising could still try to resurrect the cursive requirement by amending the concepts from House Bill 113 into another education bill, if she can find a willing sponsor.

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