ST. PAUL (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has passed a handful of measures aimed at loosening restrictions on child care providers.

The push comes following lawmaker's concerns that certain regulations are leading to a shortage of child care facilities, especially in rural areas. A handful of measures relaxing restrictions on training and licensing requirements overwhelmingly cleared the Senate Monday.

According to the Department of Human Services, the number of family providers dropped from nearly 11,000 in 2011 to less than 9,000 in 2016.

Sen. Bill Weber, a Republican from Luverne, says onerous requirements are causing many to providers to close. His bill would tweak several license requirements for providers, including the ability for regulators to license more child care workers with outside experience.

Similar measures have been introduced in the House.