Under federal law, an employee can be considered exempt from overtime if (s)he earns more than $23,660 per year. In California, to be considered exempt, many employees must earn at least $37,440.
President Obama is proposing that the minimum salary be raised to $50,440. According to the President, this will give five million workers a raise. And of course, the President does not need Congressional approval for this action. (Have we seen this before?) A court battle is expected, as are some legilslative wranglings on Capitol hill.
If you want to learn more, watch the President's cartoon. Copy and paste this link into your browser: www.dol.gov/featured/overtime/