AUSTIN, Texas -

A top House Democrat says progress is being made on budget talks in the Texas Legislature but cautions that negotiators remain "a long way from home."

State Rep. Sylvester Turner said Monday there have been "very positive" conversations between House and Senate leaders, who are at odds over how to finance big-ticket items in the next Texas budget with only two weeks left.

Turner spoke to reporters following a hearing between House and Senate negotiators. The panel reviewed possible prison closures and pay raises for state judges, but didn't take up major issues such as education spending.

The legislative session ends May 27. Lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass a new budget, and would have to stay in Austin if a deal isn't reached by the end of the month.