SANTA FE (AP) – A bill aimed at welcoming and regulating ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft in New Mexico has been approved by state Senate.

The Senate passed the legislation Thursday morning. The House has until noon to send the bill to the governor.

The legal status of the companies has been in limbo in the state since they began offering services in 2014. The companies say the state’s Motor Carrier Act does not apply to them because they do not operate as commercial taxi businesses.

Uber and Lyft use smartphone apps to connect their drivers with people seeking rides.

The new regulations include background checks for drivers against criminal and sexual offender databases.