See more of the story

Gov Mark Dayton and legislative leaders started two days of budget meetings with open minds and a bit of laughter.

The meetings, which are in the Minnesota House rather than the usual spot of the governor's office, are private and leaders said they don't plan to share details of what happens inside the closed-door sessions.

"One of the ground rules is going to be: we're not going to talk about specifics as we are going through today and tomorrow," House Speaker Kurt Zellers said during a brief break in the morning talks.

Zellers, Majority Leader Amy Koch and Dayton appeared together in front of the media for the first time since Dayton visited a joint Republican caucus meeting in early May.

Asked if that's a sign of progress, Dayton said: "We're spending the next two days together so if that's a sign of progress, so be it."

The morning session had some lighter moments and at one point laughter filtered out of the room.

The leaders would not share exactly what the joke was.

"Rep. [Mary Liz] Holberg kidded me about something," Dayton said.

"No specifics," Koch said with a laugh.

"It was funny," Dayton said.