MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — With Alabama’s next legislative session starting in February, one state lawmaker wants to make it easier for parents to return to work without struggling to find or afford childcare.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels says parents shouldn’t be held back from the workforce because of the cost of childcare.

According to a 2021 report, the average cost of weekly infant daycare in Alabama was $139 per child. Those prices have gone up since the pandemic.

“Right now, when you see the waiting lists around the state of Alabama for children and families having access to childcare, it is unconscionable,” Rep. Daniels (D- Huntsville) said.

Daniels’s proposal would give tax credits to employers that have an on-site facility, partner with a local facility or provide a stipend for childcare. It would also give tax credits to the childcare providers involved.

Daniels says he thinks his bill will have more support this upcoming session as the state puts greater focus on labor force participation.

“From where we’re going with the Speaker as well as the Lt. Gov. what they’re focusing on, I think there will be a real appetite to address this particular issue,” Daniels said.

Rosemary Elebash with the National Federation of Independent Business in Alabama hopes to see it addressed, too. She says it won’t just be good for parents but for business.

“One of the things I hear most often from business owners and from their employees is they don’t have childcare, and that issue, we looked at it last session, it will be back this year,” Elebash said.

Daniels’s bill in this last session did have bipartisan support, with Republican Sen. Garlan Gudger carrying the Senate version of the bill. Neither bill version made it to the floor for a vote.