A bill that would create a universal child care system in New York was introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Jabari Brisport as advocates and state lawmakers seek to push the issue to front burner of the agenda in Albany in the coming year. 

Brisport's plan was released along with a report on the issue following a 10-week statewide listening tour with the progressive education advocacy group Alliance for Quality Education on the issue. 

“It has been such an honor to shape this bill with so many parents and child care providers, and it will be an even bigger honor to fight for it with them," said Brisport, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Children and Families. "Winning this legislation will take all of us, but 2022 can be the year New York passes the nation’s first Universal Child Care Act."

Expanding access to child care has become a major priority for progressives during the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to the cost of programs for working families as well as a factor in sustained joblessness during the public health crisis. At the same time, a statewide expansion of pre-kindergarten programs is yet to reach all areas of New York. 

Brisport's bill did not spell out the cost of the proposal. But the measure comes as efforts on the federal level to approve a package of social service programs, including expanded access to child care, remain stalled in Congress.

The measure was also introduced weeks before Gov. Kathy Hochul lays out her agenda for 2022 in her State of the State address on Jan. 5.