SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are racing to approve a law that allows nurses licensed in New Mexico to work in participating states and vice versa.

New Mexico has until the end of Thursday to join a new nurse licensure compact that is shared with at least 25 other states as an older agreement expires.

Republican state Sen. Stuart Ingle of Portales is sponsoring the bill and says the compact is crucial for outlying areas that depend on nurses who cross state lines.

The bill was scheduled for a House vote Thursday and then would need to be signed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Senate approval on Wednesday was unanimous.

The new compact adds criminal background check provisions and creates a new multi-state rule making commission.