Jul 18, 2017

Companies push Texas to abandon "bathroom bill"

Charles Krupa / AP

IBM, AT&T and Texas Instruments were among more than a dozen large companies that urged the Texas Legislature not to pass an anti-transgender "bathroom bill" as part of a special session that begins this week.

"We're writing to express our concern that the so-called 'bathroom bill' that the Texas legislature is considering would seriously hurt the state's ability to attract new businesses, investments and jobs," the Dallas-based companies said in a letter Monday to the lieutenant governor and state speaker of the House, which was also signed by the chiefs of American Airlines, Kimberly-Clark, and Southwest Airlines, among others.

IBM: The company used it as a teachable moment within its own ranks as well, with HR chief Diane Gherson sending a company-wide memo explaining the company's position.

"A bathroom bill like the one in Texas sends a message that it is okay to discriminate against someone just for being who they are," Gherson said in the email. "It threatens IBM's ability to bring the best and brightest to our Texas workforce — a community that is now over 10,000 strong and represents a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences."

Dell: Another Texas-based tech company, Dell, also opposes the ban. Dell had joined with a series of tech companies including Apple, Salesforce, and Microsoft, that wrote a May letter to the state's governor opposing such a move.

"Dell wants Texas to remain open for business and be part of a pro-business state that's welcoming to everyone," a Dell representative told Axios.

Why it matters: Large companies have emerged as a key force in such debates, arguing that anti-LGBT laws are bad for business.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

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