ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota's legislative leaders plan to start negotiations on a couple of less controversial budget bills before tackling some of the session's larger debates over health care and taxes.

GOP Senate leaders said they will start talks Thursday with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on the state's higher education and agriculture bills. Republican leaders say they are looking to negotiate early with the governor to avoid vetoes.

Speaker Kurt Daudt said leaders still need to come up with an overarching plan for negotiations to finish in time.

Lawmakers and the governor have just over two weeks to compromise on a number of key issues. Environmental protections, early childhood education and tax cuts are slated for tougher negotiations later in the month.