A controversial bill that would have afforded legal protections to volunteers is dead - apparently because no one in the Utah House of Representatives would volunteer to sponsor it.

Sen. Craig Taylor, R-Kays-ville, confirmed Friday night that he is withdrawing the legislation, which had provoked the Utah Trial Lawyers Association."The trial lawyers used deliberately misleading sensationalism," he said.

Taylor introduced SB54 out of concern that many people were afraid to volunteer because of the threat of liability for accidents. The state already grants immunity to government workers, volunteers for government agencies, volunteers for non-profit organization, volunteers in health care settings and good samaritans.

He said the only volunteers who do not have immunity are average citizens who are not affiliated with specific organizations.

"It is a sad comment on the litigious society we live in," Taylor added.

The issue will be sent to an interim legislative committee for further study later this year and could return for debate in the 1999 Utah Legislature.