California's Field Act, which sets seismic safety standards for pubic and private schools, has been a central element of that state's earthquake preparedness policy for decades. It remains a controversial and much-debated issue, however. Various state officials and regulatory agencies have alternately supported the legislation as a guardian of students' security, denounced it as being too stringent, and criticized it as not being stringent enough.

This report discusses the Field Act, its history, and current relevant issues. The first section discusses the history of various California earthquakes and their relation to several pieces of legislation passed in response to them,...

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