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story.lead_photo.caption Rep. Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, discusses the role of the newly-established Missouri General Assembly Local Government Caucus to a crowd Monday inside the Missouri House Lounge at the Capitol. Photo by Nicole Roberts / News Tribune.

To help provide guidance to legislators while continuing to collaborate with local governments, state lawmakers announced Monday the formation of the Missouri General Assembly Local Government Caucus.

Caucus legislators who will "help educate, support and provide guidance" to Missouri representatives and senators, said state Rep. Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, who previously served as Carroll County clerk.

"As legislators down here, we have to do our part to make sure we pass legislation that protects our citizens and their local governments," said state Rep. Bill Falkner III, R-St. Joseph. "Numerous bills affecting local governments are considered during the legislative session, and members of the Local Government Caucus will provide guidance to members of the House.

Many legislators served in various local government roles, including as city council members, county commissioners and school board members. That means they can provide first-hand knowledge of how bills impact local government, several legislators said.

Local governments provide valuable resources to community members, including public safety, public health, infrastructure and social services, they added.

"Establishing this local government caucus is a great idea in order for an organized effort to meet together to discuss, study ideas and build our counties in order to modernize and streamline the process in which our local governments operate to ensure that we will stand strong together in the effort to preserve our communities," McGaugh said.

The establishment of the caucus kicked off Missouri's annual Local Government Week, which celebrates local government officials' and employees' hard work, Missouri Municipal League President Chris Lievsay said.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said the formation of the caucus will help local governments engage more with legislators.

"Having this group would be a benefit to cities (and) would be a great way to work together and be informed and help communicate issues that are important to local government," she said. "What's important to local government really does affect the state as a whole, so I think it's a great way to have a potential method of collaboration and communication between cities and the state."

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