COLUMBIA — The state Senate Wednesday gave initial approval to a bill providing $120 million to the Boeing Co. in exchange for a major expansion of the company’s operations in North Charleston.

By a 37-6 vote, senators passed the legislation on the second of three necessary readings to the legislation.

Second reading is considered the most key in determining whether a bill will pass.

Senators opposed to the Boeing proposal, which would be paid for with state-backed bonds, still could attempt to filibuster the proposal on third reading, but such a move appears unlikely at this point.

Opposition from senators, including Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and Lee Bright, R-Roebuck, centered on concerns about the state taking on the $120 million in debt. Davis also said the bill does not have enough details about what the deal with Boeing entails.

“It seems to me that we’re putting the cart before the horse,” he said.

Boeing this week said it would invest another $1.1 billion in its operations in South Carolina, and hire another 2,000 people.

Reach Stephen Largen at 864-641-8172 and follow him on Twitter @stephenlargen.