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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.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
3 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.