By contrast, Miller and fellow Democrats are expected to overturn the governor's veto of a medical malpractice bill in voting today. A supermajority of the House and Senate -- three-fifths of the lawmakers in each chamber -- is required to override.
Ehrlich pledged last week to give an additional $43 million to the state university system in his budget, and Miller said that promise should prove sufficient to prevent an override of a bill.
"I've already heard from a number of our members, and they think the juice isn't worth the squeeze," Miller said.
System officials said the new funding would allow them to limit the fall semester's tuition rise to 5.9 percent. The bill would hold tuition increases at 5 percent for three years, while increasing corporate taxes from 7 percent to 7.7 percent over the same period to provide more money for the system.
Miller said legislation to make Maryland the first in the nation with a statewide "living wage" law "sends a wrong message to the business community." It would establish a $10.50 hourly rate for employees working under state contracts.
A dominant power in the Senate, Miller is unmatched in building majorities and divining political meaning from votes, so his comments spell trouble for the two veto override efforts being pushed by many Democrats at a time of fractious relations between the executive and legislative branches. And they raise the prospect that the unusual override session will end reasonably well for the governor on some important issues.
In the Senate, 29 of 47 votes are required to overturn a veto and in the House, 85 of 141 votes.
The override session is being held today because lawmakers recessed their late-December special session on medical malpractice so they could consider the measures later.
The regular 90-day session begins tomorrow.
Some leading Democrats had hoped to overturn many of the 19 bills vetoed by the governor, presenting the two often-bickering chambers as a unified front against the executive branch.
Today's votes "will really crystallize the differences between Republicans and Democrats," said Del. Peter Franchot, a Montgomery County Democrat.
"It has become clear over the past two years that the current administration has no real interest in getting things done," said Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan during a news conference yesterday in Annapolis on the overrides. "As a result, the General Assembly has taken the bull by the horns and filled this leadership vacuum."
Mayor Martin O'Malley wrote to city lawmakers, asking them to vote to pass the vetoed bills.
But the governor responded with his own lobbying effort. A spokeswoman for the governor, Shareese N. DeLeaver, said Ehrlich has been conducting "private meetings behind closed doors" with legislators to discuss the bills. She would not provide specifics.
University system advocates gathered in Annapolis yesterday to push their view that the governor's funding promise was a one-time fix that only partly restored money cut in the past two years.
"It's time to say enough is enough," said James C. Rosapepe, a system regent and founding member of Marylanders for Access to Quality Higher Education. The group said that just six states cut more from their university budget since 2002 than Maryland.