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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 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens in Atlanta, Georgia, late Tuesday. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov. 25. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).