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BOISE -- An Idaho Republican lawmaker has begun what is both a sentimental and practical bid to mandate cursive handwriting in Idaho elementary schools.

Rep. Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls says cursive writing promotes manual dexterity, boosts reading comprehension and enhances cognitive development.

What's more, if it disappears, the study of history will suffer -- because people won't be able to read diaries and other historical documents.

But Bateman also fears the demise of cursive would signal the triumph of an era of sloppiness, where people casually use electronic devices to text back and forth with little regard for the personality and verve once elicited by the written word.

While introducing his measure Tuesday in the House Education Committee, Bateman told panelists that nice handwriting projects intelligence, gracefulness and encourages artistic expression.

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