Private citizens who want to take concerns about state programs directly to key state lawmakers will have several chances to do so, starting this afternoon. The Senate Appropriations Committee will not be considering budget proposals for several weeks. But it will be holding hearings so members can hear Missouri citizens evaluate the financial needs of the programs those citizens think should serve them. Chairman Chuck Gross says last year’s testimony left a lot of ideas in the minds of committee members that helped them evaluate spending proposals when the bills reached the Senate from the House. Gross never came right out and said “no” to anybody during last year’s hearings and he’s unlikely to do it this year, either. The Committee will hear about Mental Health Department programs this afternoon. Tomorrow morning , it will listen to comments about the Department of Health and Senior Sertvices. Social Services will be the topic Wednesday morning, and comments will be taken Thursday about elementary and secondary education. More hearings will be held next week.