Several states have adopted drug testing for welfare recipients and others, and several thousand signatures are on a petition seeking to add Mississippi to that list.
The number is far short of the almost 90,000 needed by the Oct. 28 deadline to get the drug testing measure promoted by tea party leaders on the 2012 ballot.
Initiative 33 seeks to amend the state Constitution to require people receiving public assistance, state contractors, subcontractors and state employees to undergo random drug testing. The measure would bar illegal immigrants from receiving public assistance or a state salary.
Supporters of the initiative say they hope to get state lawmakers to pass the measure in the form of a law in the 2012 session.